Animal Testing Ethics

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a quick Google image for images of “animal research” must be worth several hundred thousand. There is no denying the horrific and deeply disturbing nature of animal experimentation, no matter the purpose or supposed benefit to humans. Viewing these images generates a very visceral and negative reaction. It is this kind of visceral reaction that makes animal rights such a divisive issue. Images of sentient animals, like primates, rabbits, mice, and birds, has driven opponents to acts of terrorism in the defense of animal rights (Pilkington, 2015).
Animal research can be traced back to the third century BCE, when animals were used by Egyptians to study bodily functions (MacKinnon, 2015). Aristotle
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Consequently, a utilitarian will view the plight of the test animals as acceptable if the net outcome is positive for all involved. For the utilitarian, however, the testing of cosmetics would be viewed as immoral, as cosmetic products are not essential to saving or improving human life. The higher the moral value assigned to the animal species, the less morally acceptable cosmetics testing becomes. Some might argue cosmetics testing on animals helps to produce products that promote human happiness, however, we are allowing non-human animals some level of rights, and therefore we should weigh the cost to the animals involved. Additionally, opponents to the cosmetics testing point to new technologies, like in vitro tissue testing, as an alternative to using animals (Gelfand, 2015). The growth and harvesting of human skin also promises to further reduce the reliance on animal testing (Campbell, 2015). Despite these new options, cosmetics testing on animals continues with no foreseeable end in sight, and subsequently, many consumers chose not to purchase products tested on animals (Chitrakorn,…show more content…
The ethical altruist is the consummate animal rights activist. Not only would an altruist agree that non-human animals were sentient and thus deserving of moral rights, the altruist would see all animals as sentient beings deserving of equal rights as humans. Altruist thinking dictates helping others, even if that means sacrificing their own goals, security, and happiness. In modern western culture, many official animal rights organizations have adopted altruistic moral positions on animal research as well as many other animal rights issues. Many animal rights activists regularly protest the use of animals in all kinds of research. Some more extreme altruistic risk punishment under the law for various activities such as stealing animals from research facilities, releasing animals from farms, and even acts of terrorism (Pilkington,
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