Confronting ethical permissibility in animal research: rejecting a common assumption and extending a principle of justice
- 647 Downloads
A common assumption in the selection of nonhuman animal subjects for research and the approval of research is that, if the risks of a procedure are too great for humans, and if there is a so-called scientific necessity, then it is permissible to use nonhuman animal subjects. I reject the common assumption as neglecting the central ethical issue of the permissibility of using nonhuman animal subjects and as being inconsistent with the principle of justice used in human subjects research ethics. This principle requires that certain classes of individuals not be subjected to a disproportionate share of the burdens or risks of research. I argue for an extension of this principle to nonhuman animal research and show that a prima facie violation of the principle occurs because nonhuman animals bear an overwhelmingly disproportionate share of the risks of research without sufficient justification or reciprocal benefit.
KeywordsLaboratory animals Research ethics Chimpanzees Animal welfare Animal rights Principle of justice
- 1.Institute of Medicine. 2011. Chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral research: Assessing the necessity. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- 2.National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. 1978. The Belmont report. Washington, DC: US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html. Accessed September 14, 2012.
- 3.Aquinas, Thomas. 2014. The summa theologica. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York: Catholic Way Publishing.Google Scholar
- 4.Aristotle. 1925. Nicomachean ethics. Trans. David Ross. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 6.Hart, H.L.A. 1994 . The concept of law. 2nd Ed. Penelope Bulloch and Joseph Raz. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- 7.Rawls, John. 1971. A theory of justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- 8.Dworkin, Ronald. 1977. Taking rights seriously. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- 9.Finnis, John. 1980. Natural law and natural rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- 11.Nussbaum, Martha. 2004. Beyond “compassion and humanity”: Justice for nonhuman animals. In Animal rights: Current debates and new directions, ed. Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 12.Feinberg, Joel. 1980. The rights of animals and unborn generations. In Rights, justice, and the bounds of liberty. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- 13.Beauchamp, Tom L., and James F. Childress. 2009. Principles of biomedical ethics. 6th ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 14.Epstein, Richard A. 2004. Animals as objects, or subjects, of rights. In Animal rights: Current debates and new directions, ed. Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 16.Rogers, Lesley J., and Gisela Kaplan. 2004. All animals are not equal: The interface between scientific knowledge and legislation for animal rights. In Animal rights: Current debates and new directions, ed. Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 17.Maryland Criminal Law Annotated Code (1957), § 10-603 (2002).Google Scholar
- 18.Animal Welfare Act, U.S. Code 7 (1966), § 2131 et seq.Google Scholar
- 19.Endangered Species Act, U.S. Code 16 (1973), § 1531 et seq.Google Scholar
- 20.Favre, David. 2008. Animal law: Welfare, interests, and rights. New York: Aspen Publishers.Google Scholar
- 21.European Parliament and Council of the European Union. Regulation (EC) no. 1223/2009. Official Journal of the European Union 22.12.2009, L 342: 59–209.Google Scholar
- 22.Council of European Communities. Directive 86/609/EEC. Official Journal of the European Union 12/18/1986, L 358: 1–28.Google Scholar
- 26.Department of Health and Human Services. 2009. Protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.html. Accessed March 4, 2014. subpart B.
- 27.U.S. Congress. House. Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011. HR 1513/S. 810. 112th Cong., 1st sess. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?packageId=BILLS-112hr1513ih. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- 28.NIH Council of Councils Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research. 2013. Report. January 22. http://dpcpsi.nih.gov/council/pdf/FNL_Report_WG_Chimpanzees.pdf. Accessed February 18, 2013.
- 30.Francione, Gary L. 2004. Animals: Property or persons? In Animal rights: Current debates and new directions, ed. Cass Sunstein and Martha Nussbaum. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 31.Bryant, Tamie L. 2007. Similarity or difference as a basis for justice: Must animals be like humans to be legally protected from humans. Law and Contemporary Problems 70: 207–254.Google Scholar
- 32.World Medical Association. 2013 . Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/. Accessed July 2, 2013.
- 33.The Allied Control Council. 1949. Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 2. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- 34.Humane Society of the United States. 2013. Questions and answers about biomedical research. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/biomedical_research/qa/questions_answers.html. Accessed February 17, 2007.
- 35.Rowan, Andrew. 2011. The use of animals in toxicological research. In The Oxford handbook of animal ethics, ed. Tom Beauchamp and R.G. Frey. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- 36.National Institutes of Health. 2006. Research involving cognitively impaired subjects: A review of some ethical considerations. Office of Human Subjects Research. http://ohsr.od.nih.gov/info/sheet7. Accessed February 17, 2013.
- 38.Office of Science and Technology Policy. 1985. U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/phspol.htm#USGovPrinciples. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- 41.Akhtar, Sahar. 2011. Animal pain and welfare: Can pain sometimes be worse for them than for us? In The Oxford handbook of animal ethics, ed. Tom Beauchamp and R.G. Frey. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar