The morality of using animals as scientific research experiments.
The morality of using animals as scientific research subjects is a tricky question. People who claim to be animal lovers are often met with disgusted looks and glares. It seems that the only way they can justify using animals in these experiments is by resorting to their feelings. They claim that the fact that they are being made the guinea pigs for scientific experiments means that they have a certain responsibility to the animal and to the experiment itself. They feel morally obligated to use them in experiments, even if they are only used for fun and entertainment purposes.
But are these claims truly valid? Are we to believe that one’s feelings can trump our duty to use our best judgment when it comes to what we do in the name of science? Are we to throw away our principles just so someone else can have fun? Is this the kind of slippery slope that we are leading us down?
There are some who argue that we should not be burdened with the morality of using animals in science experiments because animals are considered to be non-conscious beings. To them, an animal is no more able to understand or know the difference between right and wrong than we are. And thus, they argue, it is irrelevant whether or not the animal feels any remorse or pain while undergoing the experiment. What matters is whether or not it is successful. If it is not, then the experiment failed, and the one who conducted it did not care about the animal.
This is one argument that is usually made against the use of animals in scientific studies. But is this really so? Have we really been brainwashed by movies or documentaries? Do the filmmakers have a better understanding of the morality of using animals as scientific subjects than we do?
One thing is for sure; humans have been subject to animals their whole lives. We eat meat, hunt animals, and use their body parts for different purposes. The history of animal exploitation is as long as our history. And even if animals may be suffering now because of humans, we still have the ability and the power to abuse them. Thus, the question of the morality of using animals as scientific research subjects is irrelevant.
The history of the exploitation of animals goes way back to the beginning of time. Primates in the Paleolithic Age engaged in the practice of eating the flesh of animals. A hunter from early times was even noted for catching animals and eating them for food. There was even written evidence for this practice in the form of cave paintings.
The idea of animals as experimental subjects has taken a rather strange twists in recent years. People argue that by studying the actions of animals, we are learning how they think and what their needs and desires are. Others say that studying these creatures on a laboratory table eliminates free will and the moral dilemma that may arise when a creature is harmed for science. Is it really the morality of using animals as scientific data?
It is hard to say whether or not the morality of using animals as scientific data really has anything to do with the morality of what we do to animals on a day-to-day basis. While many of us are quick to defend ourselves against charges of cruelty and euthanasia, many others would never dream of harming another living creature for scientific study or experiment. Many scientists argue against the notion that the morality of using animals as scientific data is implicated when animals are used for medical research. Others would say that it is okay just because we do not know what they feel or what they want. It seems that you can be moral about an experiment, but not if the source of that experiment is living beings.