Medical Testing on Animals Term Paper

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against experimentation on animals, and some are more compelling than others. Some people suggest that the practice is immoral because choosing to experiment upon animals is directly analogous to racial or sexual discrimination; or more closely related to discrimination on the basis of mental capacity. Others contend that it is wrong because, by their estimations, no clear advances in medical research have been made through animal experimentation, and alternative modes of research are emerging. Doubtlessly, animal experimentation is a delicate moral issue, but asserting that animals should enjoy the same rights as humans within a society is a weak claim. Arguments have been formed differentiating animals from humans depending upon both their moral status and biological status. Yet, the most obvious line of reasoning is associated with the fact that granting animals the same rights as humans within society leads to many logical contradictions.

One question that needs to be addressed is whether or not animal testing truly helps society in any measurable way. Daniel Dunbar, from Ithaca University, contends that animal experimentation is most centrally wrong because no clear benefits are brought about by its practice. He cites Ernst Boris Chain, Nobel Prize winner, as having said, "No animal experiment without medicament, even if it is carried out on several species, including primates under all conceivable conditions can give any guarantee that the medicament tested in this way will behave the same in humans,
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because in many respects the human is not the same as the animal." (Dunbar, 2005). Upon these grounds Dunbar believes that experimentation upon animals it utterly unjustifiable because extrapolating data from animals to humans is fundamentally fraught with errors. He uses an example concerning investments in animal vs. human medical research: "How can it be ethical to spend millions of tax dollars on creating artificial hearts in dogs . . . when over 3,000 Americans die of heart disease every day. No amount of heart transplanting research will meet the demands of over a million hearts needed every year." (Dunbar, 2005). The solution, as Dunbar sees it, is to completely abandon animal experimentation because its benefit to society is wholly specious. However, this position is hotly contested within the medical community, and often, is regarded as ridiculous.

Graham Mitchell, from the University of Witwatersrand, offers a much more realistic solution to the debate surrounding animal experimentation. He acknowledges that society is likely to have been helped from scientific research performed upon animals, but that it is not difficult to take a moral stand against this same research on the grounds that other means could have been used. As a result, Mitchell concludes that the best way to determine the morality of animal experimentation is upon a case by case basis, ruled upon by an ethics committee. He writes, "The over-riding value of an ethics committee is, however, that it…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

1. Dunbar, Daniel. "The Confinement and Use of Non-Human Animals in Scientific and Medical Experiments is Morally Unacceptable." Ithaca University, 2005. Available: http://www.ithaca.edu/faculty/cduncan/250/ddunbar.doc.

2. Mitchell, Graham. "Guarding the Middle Ground: the Ethics of Experiments on Animals." African Journal of Science, Issue 85, May 1989. Available: http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v13p114y1990.pdf.

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