argument top image

Is animal testing ethical?
Back to question

Humans cannot disregard animals’ rights for their own benefit

It is morally wrong to harm one species for the supposed benefit of another. Justifying the harm because of the potential human benefits of animal testing is anthropocentric. Violating the rights of a group, regardless of the species, is unethical.
< (3 of 3)

The Argument

Animal testing disregards animals’ rights in many ways. First of all, it causes severe suffering. Animal testing frequently involves a painful procedure. Experiments may cause permanent damage to animals. Examples of animal tests include forcing animals to inhale toxic fumes, exposing animals to radiation, and dripping potentially harmful chemicals into animals’ eyes.[1] Some experiments even require the animal to die as part of the test. For example, regulatory tests for botox and vaccines are variations of the cruel Lethal Dose 50 test. In those tests, 50% of the animals die.[2] Additionally, laboratories and cages limit animals’ freedom of movement and control over their lives. In some cases, animals are confined on their own, without the companionship of others. Another violation of animals' rights is the fact that they do not have the option of not participating in the experiment. Animals do not willingly sacrifice themselves for the advancement of human welfare and new technology. Humans make decisions for them because animals cannot vocalize their preferences and choices. When humans decide the fate of animals in experiments, animals’ rights are taken away from them.[3] Humans are not superior to animals in the sense that they have the right to inflict harm on them. The idea of human exceptionalism does not imply that humans can make other species’ life miserable for their own sake. If humans are superior or exceptional, as they allegedly are, they should use this superiority to care for animals and ensure their well-being.[4] Overall, animal testing violates the animals’ rights. It is morally wrong for humans to violate animals’ rights for their benefit.

Counter arguments

Animal testing does not equal animal cruelty. Ethical regulations and guidelines ensure that all experiments on animals are conducted humanely. For example, in the United Kingdom, all animal research must be approved by the Home Office.[5] Similarly, in the United States, the Animal Welfare Act regulates the use of animals in research. It sets standards for animal housing and protects animal welfare.[6] Overall, strict rules and standards established by ethical and legal guidelines prevent animal cruelty. Additionally, the argument that animal testing violates animal rights is not valid. Animals lack advanced cognitive abilities and the capacity for free moral judgment. They cannot talk, think, or be fully conscious. Hence, humans make decisions for them. From another perspective, animals are put on earth to serve humans. According to Thomas Aquinas, there is a hierarchy in nature. Since humans are above animals in this hierarchy, they can use animals in any way they want.[7] This conclusion forms the idea of human exceptionalism. Consequently, humans do not have any obligation to treat animals gently, and animal testing is ethically moral.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 13:15 UTC

Explore related arguments