Biology 2601A/B Lecture 2: The Ethics of Animal Use in Research and Teaching

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The Ethics of Animal Use in Research and Teaching
Animal Physiology: How do we find this stuff out?
- Generally, by doing experiments on animals
- There is a strong ethical debate about this sort of science, especially when animals are used in teaching
(it’s geat to use aials to fid out e thigs, ut usig itusive, and sometimes cruel, procedures to teach students things
we already know is debatable)
- Here we will discuss the history, ethics and mechanics of animal use in research and teaching
Animals in Research - an alternative to human dissection
- Aristotle: In his time, it was frowned upon to dissect human cadavers, so to find out about how
humans worked was to dissect animals. Aristotle was one of the first people to realize that by
understanding how animals work, we could understand how humans work.
- Galen of Pergamum: Physician in the Roman Empire. To make his clinic decisions regarding injured
gladiators, Galen realized he could dissect animals like pigs and monkeys to find out how humans work.
- The practice of working on live (rather than dead) organisms
- Useful for understanding how the organisms function rather than how they were structured
- Claude Bead: the siee of life is a supe ad dazzlig lighted hall hih a e eahed ol 
passig though a log ad ghastl kithe
- He was learning amazing things, but doing gruesome things to find about them
- Is it ethical? How do we manage this sort of research today?
Important Discoveries Made Through Animal Research
- Circulation of blood, metabolism, classical conditioning, nerve functioning, insulin, antibiotics, polio
vaccine, antidepressant drugs, halothane anesthetic, heart valve replacement, leprosy treatment, etc...
- Undeniable benefits for using animals in research:
- aial odels fo diseases o asi siee pheoea
- considerable medical advances
- enables exhaustive testing of pharmaceuticals (and other things) before use on humans
- BUT, aials ae epesie, euie egulatio, ad do’t alas espod to disease or drugs the same
way humans do
History of Ethics of Using Animals as Research Subjects
- Descartes: Animals have no soul, minds or reason
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Animals are sentient, and humans are obliged against cruelty (this only applies
to mammals)
- Jeremy Bentham: The capacity to suffer should be the benchmark for how we treat other creatures
(we should think about the ethics of animal research when creatures can suffer physically, or emotional
after effects of the research)
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