Contemporary research in the life sciences, particularly in biomedicine, involves experimentation on large numbers of live animals. It is estimated that worldwide between 100 and 200 million of animals every year are used for experimentation. The animals on which experiments are performed are sometimes subjected to distressing or painful interventions. They are often housed in ways that limit their freedom, and nearly all of them are killed when the experiment comes to an end.
The overwhelming majority of these animals are vertebrates with highly developed nervous systems. They cannot, of course, consent to their own participation in research. Nor do they, as individuals, stand to benefit from such participation. These facts present both the scientific community and society in general with a question: With more or less noble goals, scientists carry out experiments causing discomfort, pain and distress to animals, limit the freedom of animals and eventually kill the animals involved.
Are we as human beings morally justified in acting in this way?
Go to the introductory text 'Ethics of Animal Research'