Analyze the Ethical and Moral Arguments associated with 'animal testing'?Analyze the Ethical and Moral Arguments associated with 'animal testing'?

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chimeric eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have asked our opinions on two basic issues: Is it morally right and is it ethically right to use animals for testing purposes.

These questions cannot be answered to anyone's complete satisfaction--espesically in a limited forum like this. I can, however, lay out what I think the actual questions are.

I Morality

Are animals self-determining individuals who have rights equal to those of humans or are they lesser beings whose determination is at the descretion of humans?

if animals are self-determining, then it is immoral to treat them as property or to make any decision(s) for them except for their protection if and when they are unable to do so for themselves.

If animals are not self-determining in comparison to humans, and as everything that is not human can be owned in our present world, then animals are property and it is moral to treat them as such.

If you believe that animals are equal to humans, you would almost certainly take the stance that animal testing is immoral.

If you do not believe that animals are equal to humans, then you have to consider the next question:

II Ethics:

If you decide that animals are not equal to humans and therefore, in our world, can be considered property, it should also be considered that they nevertheless have minds, emotions, needs, desires and the ability to feel both pain and happiness.

That being said, in what circumstances--if any--is it acceptable to cause property pain, discomfort, and/or death?

If it is ever acceptable to cause feeling property pain, discomfort and/or death, are there (or should there be) any limits or restrictions and what are they?

So, these are the questions I think each of us should answer in his or her own minds. If we consider that every day most of us use some product--be it a cosmetic or cleaner, chemical or pharmaceutical--that was probably tested on animals at some time.

I have heard from animal activists that due to computer projections, animal testing is unnecessary. I would be happy if that were true, but all one has to do is look at any situation where computers have made predictions and see that there is always a difference in the projection and the reality--sometimes that difference is vast.

So, if live testing is still necessary under some (or many, or all) conditions, should we skip animals and go straight to human trials?


M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an extension of the answers that we have given you previously.

Main ethical concerns regarding animal testing are based on the animal being a living being without rights nor consent to be tested upon, and potentially going through pain and danger through processes such as X Rays, blood drawing, chemotherapy, etc. Using a living being's body for science and then disposing of it looks like an unethical way to utilize life.

Main moral concerns are specifically geared at "playing God" and trying to use innocent animals as toys to manipulate their genetics, and their natural lives. Only God, according to many people, has the right to intervene in the natural order of things. Hence, animal testing is considered immoral from that standpoint.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Some very good points above that explore the ethical issues related to animal rights and animal testing. If you look at the issue from a pro-animal testing viewpoint (which I do not personally hold, mind you), one could argue that, in order to save lives or improve the quality and safety of human life, products have to be tested, and better to test them on animals than humans. If one believes animals have some rights or equal rights with humans, then one must also believe killing any animal as part of our food supply is wrong. This would be a small minority of people, I think.
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Some people might feel morally repulsed by the thought of causing other creatures to suffer. On the other hand, it might be morally wrong to prevent others from saving human lives. Ethically, there are rules that researchers must follow when testing on Animals.