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Title: Animal%20Experimentation:%20Law,%20Morality,%20and%20Practice

  • Animal Experimentation Law, Morality, and

Research Ethics and Animals
  • Animal experimentation
  • The moral status of animals
  • Regulation of animal experimentation

  • (a) Extremist Animal Experimenters
  • E.g., Experiments on a monkeys instinct to cling
    to its mother even when the mother subjects it to
    rejection and pain
  • (Research conducted by Harry Harlow at the
    Primate Research Centre at Madison, Wisconsin,
    see Singer 1995, 33-35)

Extremist animal experimenters (cont)
  • Other examples
  • Removing monkeys eyes to discover whether their
    facial expressions resembled that of sighted
    monkeys when deprived of their mothers. They did.
    (See Gendin 1986, 200)
  • Testing the pressure on a hose when monkeys bit
    it in response to electric shocks on their tails
    compared to the biting pressure resulting from
    amphetamines, etc. (See Gendin 1986, 2001)

Extremist animal experimenters (cont)
Primate research in Britain, brain research
(videos from the BUAV Website)
  • (b) Extremist animal supporters

Rodney Coronado firebombed an animal research lab
in Washington State University. He was arrested
and convicted. Two years later, scientists
resumed work and found AZT.
Extremist animal supporters (cont)
  • Barry Horne was convicted after a 2 year
    firebombing campaign. He detonated his bombs when
    buildings were closed and caused 3m of damage,
    including the destruction of the Newport branch
    of Boots. He died at the end of a hunger strike
    in November 2001.

Extremist animal supporters (cont)
  • "We are a lazy, sick society. People bring
    diseases on themselves. They people should
    avoid getting the disease in the first place."
    (Dan Matthews, People for the Ethical Treatment
    of Animals (PeTA))
  • "I could understand anyone who was so angered and
    troubled by animal abuse that they were driven to
    take a life. (Robin Webb, Animal Liberation
    Front (ALF))
  • "The life of an ant and that of my child should
    be granted equal consideration (Michael W. Fox,
    former vice president of the Humane Society of
    the United States)

The purpose of animal experiments
  • Some examples
  • To test non-pharmaceutical products, e.g.,
    toxicity tests for products ranging from
    pesticides to deodorants
  • To test pharmaceuticals (in vivo tests), e.g.,
    new drugs and vaccines (stage 2)
  • To investigate animal behaviour, e.g., stress
    copying mechanisms
  • For educational purposes, e.g., university
  • For medical purposes, e.g., research on cancer,
    AIDS, and xenotransplantation
  • Others e.g., biological research with
    non-medical aims

  • Questions to consider
  • Why perform animal experiments at all?

Why perform animal experiments?
  • Necessary to comply with regulatory requirements
  • Some experiments cannot be performed on humans or
    are better performed on animals
  • Useful (perhaps, necessary) for present future
    medical advancements. Utilised for
  • treatment for rabies (dogs, rabbits) rickets
    (dogs) leprosy (monkeys, armadillos) etc.
  • prevention of diphtheria (horses) polio
    (rabbits) rubella (monkeys) measles (monkeys)
  • discovery of insulin (dogs) modern anaesthesia
    (dogs) DNA (mice rats)
  • development of laparoscopic surgical techniques
    (pigs) open heart surgery (dogs) etc.

  • Questions to consider
  • Leaving aside questions of moral justification,
    what are the limitations of animal

Limitations of animal experimentation
  • Effect on animals does not always accurately
    predict the effects on humans
  • (a) Species differences. E.g., chocolate can be
    poisonous to dogs (more specifically,
    theobromine, a compound found in chocolate)
    cortisone and insulin are deadly to many animals
  • (b) Some symptoms are hard to discover in animals
    (e.g., minor aches and pains)
  • (c) In some cases superior alternatives exists
    (see below)

  • Questions to consider
  • To what extent are these affected by the use of
    genetically modified animals?

Genetically modified animals
  • There are a number of benefits sought by research
    using GM animals (see Chapter 6, APC Report on
  • E.g., GM modified animals are thought to
    facilitate or enable the
  • discovery of gene functions
  • treatment and knowledge of genetic disease
  • minimisation of rejection following
  • improvement in production from farm animals and
  • development and production of therapeutic

The 3 Rs
  • Russel Burch (1959)
  • (a) Refinement minimising animal pain and
  • (b) Reduction minimising the number of animals
  • E.g., using animals that have been genetically
    engineered to be susceptible to human conditions
  • (c) Replacement avoiding the use of animals in
  • (i) Relative replacement experiments that remove
    non-human animal suffering but not their use.
    (Absolute refinement)
  • (ii) Absolute replacement experiments that do
    not require biological material derived from

  • (a) Information (to reduce unnecessary
    duplication of animal work) (Commercial reality)
  • (b) Computer-based systems, mathematical
  • (c) Physico-chemical techniques e.g., the
    commercial test system EYTEX can predict whether
    a chemical will irritate the eyes, replacing the
    Draize test
  • (d) Use of lower organisms (such as bacteria and
    fungi) and embryos e.g., the Ames Test
  • (e) Human studies e.g., volunteers
    population/patient studies
  • (f) Cell, tissue and organ cultures

Statistics on Animal Usage under the Animal
(Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • There was an average fall in the total number of
    animals used from 1987 to 1999 of about 3 a
    year, after a rise of about 2 in 2000, there was
    a 3 fall in 2001
  • In 2001, 2.62 million procedures where performed
    on 2.57m living animals
  • the vast majority were on rodents (85)
  • Dogs, cats, horses, and non-human primates were
    collectively used in less than 1 of procedures
  • the number of GM animals (mostly mice) rose by
    8.4 to 631,000

  • The Moral Status of Animals

Can animals have rights?
  • (1) Weak (or Liberty) Right A has a right to X
    if A may (it is not wrong) for A to have or do X
  • (2) Claim-rights impose correlative duties on
  • (a) Negative right imposes a duty of
    non-interference on others
  • (b) Positive right imposes a duty of assistance
    (to aid) on others

Can animals have rights? (cont)
  • There are two principal conceptions of
  • (a) benefit/interest conception and
  • (b) will/choice conception
  • The difference is that the will/choice theory
    requires the right-holder to have the capacity to
    waive the benefit of the right (i.e., be an agent)

Do animals have moral status? ( do we have
duties of nonharm or protection to animals?)
  • Intrinsic moral status ( moral status possessed
    by virtue of their characteristics alone)
  • Indirect/vicarious moral status ( moral status
    derived from the intrinsic moral status of
  • Nb. If animals have intrinsic or indirect moral
    status then we have duties in relation to them

Intrinsic moral status (Direct protection)
  • Intrinsic moral status is variously granted to
    those who are
  • (a) natural systems
  • (b) living creatures
  • (c) sentient i.e. capable of experiencing pain
  • (d) human
  • (e) agents/persons i.e. able to act for purposes
    constituting their reasons for action
  • (f) partial agents, i.e. have some of the
    characteristics of agents
  • (g) potential agents

Duties to Animals Under Precaution
  • (1) Agents are categorically and unconditionally
    bound to grant agents (and only agents) full
    moral status (Kant, Gewirth etc.)
  • (2) Because being an agent contains inherently
    subjective qualities, I (an agent) cannot know
    for certain whether any other being is an agent
  • (3) However I must treat apparent agents as
    agents because I violate (1) if I treat an agent
    as not an agent but do not violate (1) if I treat
    a non-agent as an agent (Pascals Wager leading
    to Moral Solution to Problem of Other Minds)
  • (4) Dogs etc. are not apparent agents and cannot
    be treated as agents. But they could be agents.
    It follows from (1) that they must be treated as
    agents to the extent that it is possible to do so
    (taking into account the conflicting claims of
    apparent agents/those more capable of being
    treated as agents)
  • (5) Thus, apparent non-agents have intrinsic
    moral status in proportion to the extent that
    they display (behave as if they have) capacities
    necessary for agency

Wholly indirect moral status (derivative or
vicarious protection)
  • E.g.
  • Argument from Development of the Virtues (e.g.,
    against Brutalisation)
  • Argument from Protection of Other's Sensitivities
  • Contractual Argument
  • Property Argument
  • Physical Proximity Argument

  • The Regulation of Animal Experimentation

UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • Background
  • Council Directive 86/609/EEC
  • European Convention on the Protection of
    Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and
    other Scientific Purposes 1986 (now amended by
    the 1998 Protocol)
  • Regulates any experimental or scientific
    procedure applied to a protected animal that
    might cause the animal pain, suffering,
    distress, or lasting harm (see s.2(1))
  • Such procedures must be performed by a person
    holding a personal licence, as part of work
    specified in a project licence, at a place
    specified in these licences (s.3)

Protected Animals
  • S.1(1) any living vertebrate other than man
  • Only if (in the case of a mammal, bird, or
    reptile) it has passed half the gestation or
    incubation period relevant for the species
    (s.1(2)(a)), or (in the case of other protected
    animals) it is capable of independent feeding
  • The SOS may extend or amend the definition of a
    protected animal s.1(3). This has been done to
    encompass one invertebrate species, the common
    octopus Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act
    (Amendment) Order 1993/2103

Genetically modified animals
  • S.2(3) Anything done for the purpose of, or
    liable to result in, the birth or hatching of a
    protected animal is also a regulated procedure
    if it might cause the animal pain, suffering,
    distress or lasting harm
  • Thus, the production, breeding, and use of
    transgenic animals for scientific purposes is
    regulated (such as the creation of Dolly the
  • HL Select Committee Report 2002 recommended that
    all GM animals that are bred but not otherwise
    used in a regulated procedure should be excluded
    from the annual statistics

Personal licences
  • Granted subject to certain conditions and
    reviewable every 5 years (s.4)
  • Personal licence holders must seek to prevent or
    minimise any pain, distress, or discomfort to the
    animals (s.10)
  • HL Select Committee recommended that visiting
    scientists and students in higher education
    should be able to carry out work under the
    licences of an established licence-holder. The
    Government has rejected this

Project Licences (cont)
  • S.5(3) A project licence can only be granted for
  • (a) the prevention or the diagnosis or treatment
    of disease, ill-health, or abnormality, or their
    effects, in man, animals, or plants
  • (b) the assessment, detection, regulation or
    modification of physiological conditions in man,
    animals, or plants
  • (c) the protection of the natural environment in
    the interests of the health or welfare of man or
  • (d) the advancement of knowledge in biological or
    behavioural sciences
  • (e) education or training otherwise than in
    primary or secondary schools
  • (f) forensic enquiries and/or
  • (g) the breeding of animals for experimental or
    other scientific use
  • The applicant must have given adequate
    consideration to the feasibility of using an
    alternative to the use of protected animals
  • Cats, dogs, and primates cannot be used unless no
    other species is suitable or practically
    available s.5(6)

Project Licences (cont)
  • Before granting the SOS must weigh the costs
    against the benefits the SOS shall weigh the
    likely adverse effects pain, suffering, distress
    or lasting harm on animals concerned against the
    benefit likely to accrue as a result of the
    programme to be specified in the licence s.5(4)
  • Home Office Guidance
  • (a) state that this assessment should take
    account of the maximum severity expected to be
    experienced by any animal,
  • (b) outline a number of categories are outlined
    to facilitate evaluation of the level of severity

Project Licences (cont)
  • Categories of severity
  • Mild severity procedures range from the
    taking of small or infrequent blood samples to
    minor surgical procedures under anaesthesia such
    as laparoscopy. (Unless there is significant
    combination or repetition on the same animal)
  • Moderate severity procedures include most
    surgical procedures, and toxicity tests avoiding
    lethal endpoints
  • Substantial severity procedures result in a
    major departure from the animals usual state of
    health and well-being. Examples are given.
  • Unclassified severity procedures are
    performed under non-recovery, general anaesthetic
    or on decerebrate animals

Categories of Benefit referred to by the Animals
Scientific Procedures Committee
  • Human, animal, and ecological benefits (such as
    improved health or welfare, plant production,
    food hygiene, safeguarding the environment)
  • Scientific benefits (such as resolution of
    controversies, increasing scientific knowledge)
  • Education benefits (such as meeting educational
    objectives which cannot be satisfied by using
    non-animal methods)
  • Economic benefits (such as profitability,
    employment, conservation of natural resources)
  • Other benefits (such as forensic enquiries)
  • No criterion for weighing these benefits
    corresponding to the severity weightings is
    offered by the Act, the Guidance, or the Animal
    Procedures Committee Reports

Re-use of animals
  • s.14(1) Bans any re-use of an animal after a
    series of regulated procedures for a purpose
    involved a general anaesthetic and recovery of
    consciousness, except where permitted under
  • S.14(3) bans any re-use without permission after
    a series of regulated procedures which did not
    involve general anaesthesia
  • Thus, all re-use must be authorised in advance.
    However, using the same animal in a series of
    regulated procedures for a particular purpose is
    not re-use!

Animal Procedures Committee Report on
Biotechnology (June 2001)
  • Recommend that no licences be issued for
  • (a) trivial objectives, such as the creation or
    duplication of favourite pets, or of animals
    intended as toys, fashion accessories, or the
    like (Rec. 1)
  • (b) work expected to produce GM animals that
    would suffer severe or lasting illness, unless
    the problems could be handled humanely through
    specialist care (Rec. 2)
  • (c) genetically modifying animals with the
    intention of stripping animals of the biological
    integrity or rendering them incurably
    insentient (Rec. 4)
  • (d) the production of embryo aggregation chimeras
    or hybrids that involve a significant degree of
    hybridisation between animals of very dissimilar
    kinds (Rec. 5)
  • (e) the genetic modification of Great Apes

HL Select Committee Report Response
  • HL Select Committee on Animals in Scientific
    Procedures (July 2002)
  • It is morally acceptable to use animals but
    morally wrong to cause them unnecessary or
    avoidable suffering (conclusion 1)
  • Emphasises the 3Rs (particularly Conclusions 6,
    7, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  • Government Response