Animal Research and Experimentation in Psychology and Cases When It Can Be Justified
Animal research is a debatable issue that needs careful consideration. On the one hand, researchers have managed to advance in understanding people’s behavior and cognition. On the other hand, new knowledge has its cost as animals are subjected to a variety of painful experiences. For instance, animals are often exposed to electric shock, they are starved, their brain is often damaged to understand the way brain functions.
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Clearly, numerous ethical issues are still persistent. Researchers stress that the moral status of animals is one of major concerns as it is impossible to obtain consent from these subjects (Norcross 648). I agree that suffering of animals is a very high price for development but I also deem that the price is justified. I tend to follow consequentialist ethics and if there is a chance that this or that research can bring people to solving a serious issue, animal research is justified.
For instance, numerous experiments enabled people to discover various peculiarities of people’s behavior. Mental disabilities are also treated with the help of methods and medication developed on the basis of animal research. Lots of people (including children) have become able to have a normal (or a better) life. Hence, I believe animal research is justified.
At the same time, I think it is crucial to develop various regulations to minimize suffering of animals as sometimes damage caused to animals cannot be carried out since experiments held have low scientific value. Researchers have to be responsible and remember that people hardly have the right to harm other creatures in the world as the universe is a stable system where all elements are equally important and valuable.
Current United States Regulations on Animal Testing
There are a number of regulations concerning the use of animals in research. The Animal Welfare Act was introduced in the 1970s and it has been amended numerous times since then (Cowan 4). The changes occur as the world is rapidly changing and new challenges arise. I believe existing regulations will never be enough as each experiment is very different from others and it is impossible to cover all issues within any number of acts. I believe it is also difficult to develop efficient legislation on the matter as people have different views on animal research and the line between ethical and unethical is blurred in this area.
It is noteworthy that research conducted on certain animals is banned. Animals’ housing in research facilities is regulated as well. Laboratories and other research facilities are licensed and their activities are supervised by authorities. Some experiments may be banned due to unjustified cruelty. Nonetheless, even these measures do not ensure proper treatment of animals used in research since almost experiment often involves painful, unpleasant and potentially dangerous experiences.
More so, I believe some of these regulations are doubtful and discriminating. For instance, experiments on human primates are banned whereas mice are common subjects used in research. Reasons provided to support the ban are insufficient as there can be no justification of exclusion of some animals and inclusion of others. The only way out can be a total ban of animal research, which is hardly possible. To sum up, I believe the US legislation concerning animal research is rather appropriate as it is constantly evolving and adjusting to changes which occur in the society.
Cowan, Tadlock. The Animal Welfare Act: Background and Selected Animal Welfare Legislation. 2013. Web.
Norcross, Alasdair. “Animal Experimentation.” Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. Ed. Bonnie Steinbock. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. 648-667. Print.