Essay on Human and Non-human Animals

Submitted By cole941128
Words: 1249
Pages: 5

yAn ethical issue is defined as arising in where there are conflicts between the rights of participants and the needs of researchers in conducting valid experiments. The key ethical issue surrounds the harm that is caused to animals as a result of taking part in research. The type of harm caused can be broken down into different types;
- Physical harm
- Psychological harm
- Maternal deprivation
- Removal from natural habitat
- Control of food intake
It is not simply the case of saying we shouldn't be crule as no researcher would set out to be deliberatly harmful to an animal. The BPS even recognises that "some research questions cannot be answered adequately without more invasive studies". The problems lie in what constitutes unnecessary pain and distress. It is however, important to note thta psychologists use animals in a wide range of contexts, not all of which provoke such a strong reaction. Animals can be used in types of psychological therapy and some studies simply involve the observation of animals in their natural environment.
The BPS have issued guidelines to control animal experimentation bases on the legislation of the 'Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act' (1986). In general all researchers should;
Avoid or minimalise stress and suffering for all living animals
Always consider the possibility of other options to animal research
Be as economical as possible in the numbers of animals tested
Howerver, before any animal is tested a Home Office Licence to conduct animal research has to be acquired. The Home Office provides legislation for an moniters;
The conditions under which animals are kept - cage sizes, food, lighting, temperature, care routine, etc. all have to be suitable for the species and its habits
The researchers conducting the study - all involved have to demonstrate they have the necessary skills and experience to work with the particular species they wish to study in order to acquire their personal licences.
The research projects allowed - aplications must be submitted outlining the projects aims and possible benefits as well as the procedures involved (including the number of animals and the degree of stress they might experience). Projects are only aproved if all the specificaltions are met and the levels of distress caused to the animals are justified by the benifits of the research. The conditions of the licence must be strictly adhered to regarding numbers, species and procedures allowed. Research on endangered species is prohibited unless the research has direct benifits for the species itself.
Speciesism; is the idea that being human is a good enough reason to have greater moral rights than non-human animals. It is often considered as the same sort of bigotry as racism or sexism. Supporters of speciesim say that there is a clear difference between humans and other species, and that this difference affects their moral status. They argue that human beings are more self aware, and more able to choose their own course of action than other animals. This, they say, enables them to think and act morally, and so entitels them to a higher moral status.
Another argument in favour of speciesism is that it is biologically natural to treat one's own species favourably. Virtually all non-human animals treat members of their own species better than those of other species. Howerver, this can be known as natural fallacy - just because something is natural does not make it right.
People who oppose specieism say that giving human beings greater rights than non-human animals is as arbitary (and moraly wrong) as giving white people greater rights than non-white. Howerver, others would argue that the struggle for racial and sexual equality has a moral and social importance that animal right can never have.
If we accept that animals have rights then when an experiment violates those rights then it is wrong, because it is wrong to violate rights. The possible benifits to humanity of performing the