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LETTERS TO AND FROM THE EDITOR Dear Dr. Roberts: I appreciate your essay on ethical considerations ofanimal experimentation because it seems the most eloquent and reasonable statement that I have read by anyone critical of the use ofanimals in experimental medicine. Most scientists who engage in animal experimentation are guided by two principles. First, man is more precious than animals. I believe that this principle is complementary to the evolution ofhumaneness. Second, an experiment upon animals must not cause any unnecessary pain. These principles are necessary and useful but are not sufficient to guide all decisions regarding experiments on animals. I disagree that many scientists hold that their experiments are not to be judged by ethical standards. Some are insensitive to these problems just as some are insensitive to human suffering, but surely it is not true ofthe majority. I do not agree that insensitivity to animal suffering is growing. During my lifetime in the laboratory, animal care and treatment have vastly improved. I believe that medicine may have contributed more to the evolution ofhumaneness than any other profession. I am on the side ofthose who have studied experimentally induced shock and would feel guilt had I ever stood in the way ofintelligentlyperformed studies on shock. I cannot believe that an informed society will ever reject experiments ofthis sort that spare human lives and suffering. It can be argued that, although such experiments must cause considerable pain and discomfort, they are not agonizing, for pain thresholds are raised during shock. But I have said that the principle that the experimenter should not cause unnecessary pain does not suffice as a guide to all decisions. I agree that some experiments cause an order of suffering that cannot be justified. Where should the experimenter stop? One problem that is never discussed is that most ofus are not experts on pain and its prevention . Those of us who do experiments differ in our judgments on these matters. We scientists do need open debate and should not be sequestered from the opinions of an informed public. I do not believe that the further evolution ofethical guides to animal experimentation will retard medical progress. I do not believe that agonizing experiments are necessary for medical progress although some experiments causing severe pain and discomfort will remain necessary andjustifiable. DwightJ. Ingle Dear Sir: There is a small, but nonetheless important, error in Dr. Lasagna's paper in the Summer , 1964, issue. Phenformin (page 460, fourth line from bottom) is DBI, not Diabinese . LeonardJ. Schiff, M.D. 46 Cornelia Street Plattsburg, New York 12901 133 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
p. 133
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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