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The Ethics of Animal Research

Exploring the Controversy

Edited by Jeremy R. Garrett

Publication Year: 2012

A balanced, accessible discussion of whether and on what grounds animal research can be ethically justified.

Published by: The MIT Press


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p. 1-1

Title page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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Series Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

Glenn McGee and I developed the Basic Bioethics series and collaborated as series coeditors from 1998 to 2008. In fall 2008 and spring 2009 the series was reconstituted, with a new editorial board, under my sole...


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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1 The Ethics of Animal Research: An Overview of the Debate

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pp. 1-16

The practice of animal research is at once familiar and strange. On the one hand, almost everyone knows that it is a regular and widespread part of modern scientific and medical research. Indeed, the idea of being a “lab...

I Animal Research: Ethical and Scientific Starting Points

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2 Ethics and Animal Research

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pp. 19-30

Historically, at least in the United States, animal research was not perceived as an ethical issue by the research community. Indeed, anyone raising questions about animal research tended to be stigmatized as an...

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3 The Evolutionary Basis for Animal Research

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pp. 31-50

The issue of using animals for research has been debated for centuries and continues today. The general public in the United States supports the use of animals in biomedical research, but this support is conditioned upon...

II Bringing Moral Theory to Bear on Animal Research

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4 Defending Animal Research: An International Perspective

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pp. 53-66

In a recent article, “The Ethics of Animal Research,” philosopher David DeGrazia (1999) asks the very important question of whether or not there is room for at least some agreement between “biomedicine” and “animal...

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5 Animal Experimentation, Marginal Cases, and the Significance of Suffering

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pp. 67-80

Consider the fictional case of Carl. Carl receives a visit from the police one day, who have been alerted by Carl’s neighbors that something fishy is going on in Carl’s basement. They have heard what sounds like the...

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6 Lives in the Balance: Utilitarianism andAnimal Research

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pp. 81-106

In the long history of moral theory, nonhuman animals—hereafter, just animals—have often been neglected entirely or have been relegated to some secondary status. 1 Since its emergence in the early nineteenth century,...

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7 Empty Cages: Animal Rights and Vivisection

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pp. 107-124

Animals are used in laboratories for three main purposes: education, product safety testing, and experimentation, in medical research in particular. Unless otherwise indicated, my discussion is limited to their use in harmful...

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8 Virtue, Vice, and Vivisection

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pp. 125-146

Utilitarianism and rights theory have dominated the literature on animal ethics. With regard to the question of animal experimentation each of these views suffers from a vice of excess (in the case of utilitarianism) or...

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9 Contractarianism, Animals, and Risk

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pp. 147-166

According to contractarianism or contractualism, the legitimacy of moral and political rules and systems must ultimately be grounded in the existence of a hypothetical contract, to which rational, self- interested agents...

III The Ethics of Animal Research in the New Era of Biotechnology

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10 Ethical Issues Concerning Transgenic Animals in Biomedical Research

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pp. 169-180

There are two basic arguments against using nonhuman animals in biomedical research: a moral argument and a scientific one. According to the moral argument, we should not use animals in biomedical research...

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11 Casuistry and the Moral Continuum: valuating Animal Biotechnology

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pp. 181-194

The science of animal biotechnology is progressing very rapidly, as seen in projects ranging from pet cloning to biopharming to xenotransplantation to the preservation of endangered species. While the science of...

IV Making Progress in the Debate: Alternative Paths Forward

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12 Debating the Value of Animal Research

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pp. 197-214

For forty years after the World War II, the scientific community kept a low profile in the public debate over the use of laboratory animals. However, since 1985, biomedical research funders and institutions have developed a...

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13 The Commonsense Case against Animal Experimentation

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pp. 215-236

As this volume illustrates, most arguments for the immorality of animal experimentation take one of two forms. Either they follow Peter Singer’s lead and maintain that most animal experiments are morally...

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14 Rational Engagement, Emotional Response, and the Prospects for Moral Progress in Animal Use “Debates”

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pp. 237-266

Synopsis: A focus of this chapter is on how to evaluate reasons for and against moral positions. This chapter is designed to help people rationally engage moral issues regarding the treatment of animals, specifically in experimentation...

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15 Animal Rights Advocacy and Modern Medicine: The Charge of Hypocrisy

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pp. 267-292

Throughout the developed world, drugs that require a medical prescription 1 are tested on nonhuman animals before they become available on the market. In the United States, such tests are federally mandated and...

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16 We’re All Animals: A Feminist Treatment of the Moral Limits of Nonhuman Animal Research

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pp. 293-326

We have come a long way since Descartes’ ill- considered attempt to ease his assistants’ dismay over the screaming of animals vivisected in his laboratory by telling them animals are nothing but machines. Rather than...


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pp. 327-344

E-ISBN-13: 9780262301602
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262017060

Page Count: 356
Publication Year: 2012