Scientists have for centuries sought to increase their understanding of the natural world through experiments on live animals – and for as long, critics have argued that such experiments are cruel, unethical and unecessary. But has such research contributed to human progress, particularly in the field of medicine, which could not have been achieved through other means – and if so, can it not be justified on the basis that our needs are of greater significance than those of animals? If researchers believe, on the basis of evidence, that their experiments on live animals could help protect human lives, how can they justify not pursuing them? Or should an animal’s wellbeing never be sacrificed for a human’s? If there are circumstances in which live experiments can be acceptable, what controls are necessary to ensure their integrity?
Michelle Thew of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection debates the issues with Tom Holder of Speaking of Research.
To see more of the debate visit the Speakers’ Corner Trust website.
A wide range of further reading about this topic, from online sources to newspaper articles, journals and books, can be found in the British Library Bibliography.