AnimalRights and Human Morality
Theissue of animal rights has generated unending debate in variousnations around the world. Animals are used as sources of food andspecimens for clinical trials. Activists who advocate for animalrights have termed the use of animals as food and for experimentationas unnecessary exploitation. In particular, the activists highlightissues (such as animal suffering in various stages of development) tojustify the need to protect animals from being exploited (Rollin 7).These activities encounter challenges with the government regulationsand brutality in their efforts to fight for the rights of animals.Activities hold that the researchers ought to observe ethicalpractices when undertaking scientific experiments. Some jurisdictionshave formulated laws (such as inspection laws) that seek to protectanimals. However, mistreatment, abuse, and unnecessary exploitationof animals are still rampant and much work still needs to beundertaken to champion for animal rights. It is appropriate for humanbeings to be moral and humane when using animals during scientificexperiments. In his book, Animalrights & human morality,Rollin Bernard hold that human beings should elevate the moralstandards or status of animals in order to protect their rights asrequired by nature. This paper will support the Rollin’s views onthe need to observe ethical and human morality when consideringanimal rights.
Ethicalconsiderations are necessary for any form of research study. Althoughmost of the research projects are conducted with good intentions,there is always a possibility that an interaction with therespondents may inadvertently cause psychological, financial, orsocial harm. In biomedical research and clinical trials, theresearchers are blamed for subjecting animals to harsh conditionsthat disregard the animal rights. Many biomedical researchers havetraditionally used animals in clinical trials. This generates debateregarding the ethical considerations on the part of animals (Rollin5). These unethical actions take place despite various campaigns andcrusades that are held to campaign against the misuse of animals.Apparently, it is not possible to fully eliminate the use of animalsin clinical trials. It is appropriate for researchers to consideralternative strategies that will help them use non-human subjectsduring the scientific experiments in ethical and moral ways. Care toobserve ethical considerations as required by research principles areexpected in all research studies to ensure ethical treatment ofanimals.
Rollinposes the question whether moral concerns are only meant for humanbeings. Rollin draws this philosophical argument from the need totreat animals ethically. Apparently, the debate on animal rightsgenerates great concerns with some supporting and others opposing theuse of animals for scientific experiments. Rollin believes that humanbeings need to promote the moral status of animals in their minds,which is the only way to help them see the need to protect the rightsof animals (Rollin 11). The approach will help in the protection ofanimal rights as well as their welfare. Rollin’s contribution onanimal rights has led to the formulation of policies and legislationsthat are meant to promote the welfare of animals, especially thosethat are considered to be soft targets for laboratory experiments.Devoid of ethics and morals, one is likely to engage in activitiesthat are not acceptable in the society. More importantly,understanding the ethical matters requires a ‘multi-layeredtechnique. This helps in formulating the best practices and ethicalstandards while solving the ethical dilemma likely to emerge in thesociety.
Ethicalguidelines enable researchers to make ethical judgments and decisionsthat are consistent with principles of research. The basic ethicalprinciples are autonomy, beneficence, justice, informed consent,privacy, and confidentiality, and respect for life. These ethicalissues normally arise when mixed methods are used in collecting thedata. Unfortunately, animals are treated differently with littleconsideration of ethical standards. Animals are often subjected topoor conditions, such as chemicals and less-conducive environment. Asa result, a debate has emerged regarding the appropriate strategiesto use in order to minimize the poor treatment of animals (Rollin19). Looking at such details presents a grave picture of the poorethical practices that are observed by researchers when conductingclinical trials and other lab experiments.
Peopleshould be educated on the need to observe morality when handlinganimals in laboratories. Human beings inflict pain and suffering onanimals during and after the scientific experiments, which is anindication of the fact that they do not consider animals as having anequal capacity to feel the pain as human beings do (Rollin 18).Clinical trials have been blamed for subjecting animals to harshconditions as though they are lifeless. Often, the trials involveexposure to bacteria, viruses, or chemicals that end up killing theanimals or affecting their health in a negative way. After thescientific experiments, the majority of the animals die or are killedby the researchers. Exposure to chemicals minimizes the chances forthese animals to survive. The immoral treatment of animals inlaboratories presents a gruesome reality.
Underthe normal circumstances, one would expect animals to be treatedjustly given the final beneficiaries are human beings. Without theanimals, it would have been difficult to get medicines to curecertain diseases. To this end, there has been growing activism byphilosophers, scholars, ethicists and activists. These individualsare persuaded that most of the ethical struggle in the recent timeswill be concerning the rights of animals. After all, the experiments,especially those that aim at supporting the development of medicine,are conducted to benefit human beings. Lawsand morality conflict in most cases, which makes it difficult forresearchers to identify moral facts (Rollin36). Ethical objectivism holds the opinion that the right or wrongdeeds do not depend on a person’s thinking or point-view. Theconcept identifies that the nature of an action is what determineswhether the act itself is right or wrong.
Millionsof animals across the world are used in scientific experiments.Moreover, unethical treatment of animals is seen in areas whereanimals are raised in cages with poor sanitation and subjected tohigh levels of stress, which increases the risk of bacterialinfection. Rollin believes that speciesismwill be considered as a greater evil compared to racism in the future(Rollin 46). Members of the society can contribute towards theprevention of animal cruelty by reporting such incidents. Moralpropositions, according to this perspective, are determined by themind-independent reality (Rollin 46). Therefore, it is the role ofeveryone to protect animals from unnecessary exploitation.
Theelimination of animal testing seems to be practically impossible,which means that requiring researchers to observe ethics during thesetesting is the only available alternative that can help the societyin the fight against animal cruelty. However, researchersexperimenting on animals may be encouraged to use alternative methodswhen conducting laboratory experiments (Rollin 47). Moreover, theycan use appropriate medicines when killing or operating on animals inthe laboratory. Authorities and animal rights’ bodies shouldintroduce awareness to educate the public on the importance ofupholding ethical approaches during animal testing. Observing ethicsin lab tests have several benefits. For example, ethics can helpresearchers in giving an equal consideration to the rights of theirnon-human models, which reduce incidents of bias against animals. Ontheir part, the animals are subjected to humane conditions that donot cause them unnecessary pain and suffering. Consequently,researchers are not subjected to litigations by advocacy groups forfailing to respect animal rights. Adherence to ethical checklist whenconducting experiments for the safety of the researcher and thewelfare of the animals. The approach will greatly reduce thesuffering of the animals and create room for the use of alternativemeasures when undertaking scientific experiments.
Researchersshould be encouraged to lift the moral status of animal models inorder to help them perceive the importance of respecting animals’rights. It is generally perceived that the use of animals inlaboratory testing, but this practice can be minimized through theidentification of alternative approaches to perform the clinicaltrials. Moreover, the use of appropriate medicines can minimize thesuffering of animal models. Most importantly, an elaborateconsideration of the research ethics increases chances for an equalconsideration of animals’ rights, thus eliminating bias againstnon-human model. All researchers have the primary responsibility touse humane approaches when dealing with animals. Researchers may becompelled by legislations to observe ethics, since voluntary measuresdo not seem to work. In addition, animal rights activists have theresponsibility to educate researchers and the public on the bestpractices. Rollin highlights the key issues (such as equal capacityto feel pain and the need for equal consideration of all rights) thatactivists use to advocate for animals’ rights.
Rollin,Bernard, E. Animalrights & human morality.Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2006. Print.