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Animal Experimentation: Overview of Ethical Positions

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Samantha Noll

on 19 September 2018

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Transcript of Animal Experimentation: Overview of Ethical Positions

Animal Experimentation: Historical Overview & Singer's Ethic
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2) Type in the following code: 2072

(You can also text 2072 to (315) 636-0905)
Case Study Questions
Do you agree with Singer's definition of "persons"? Why or why not? Is this definition problematic, especially in the healthcare sphere?
Is it unacceptable to give less weight to other species interests (speciesism)? Why or why not?
Should suffering be the locus of ethical import?
What would Singer argue concerning animal testing?
Do you agree with this position?
Singer's Ethic
Singer Case Study
Singer's Ethic
Class Today
Animal Ethics: Historical Context
Introduction to Singer's Ethic
Case Study
Bioethics Lecture Eleven
Welcome back!
Quick Ethics Review
While not all laws and customs are ethical, ethical principles work at both the individual and social level
Social Ethics

Social ethics are those views of right and wrong that are encoded in laws and policies. These are also called "social consensus ethics."
Distributive Justice
Social Ethics
Animal Ethics in an Eggshell
Now what does this have to do with
animal ethics?
Animal ethics were historically
a hybrid of the two.
Important for understanding
animal ethics today.
Rollin's Historical Picture of Animal Ethics
This traditional ethic was an ethic forbidding cruelty.

It forbids the deliberate, unnecessary infliction of suffering and pain on animals.
Historical Social Consensus Ethic
"For as long as humans have domesticated
animals and had a social consensus ethic,
it has included an ethic concerning the treatment
of animals" (Rollin 1995, p.45).
For Example:

The Bible and Other Religious Texts often condemn animal cruelty.

Do not yolk an ox and mule together...

A sharp knife must be used when slaughtering an animal...
Historical Social Consensus Ethic
Also Aquinas and Kant both condemned animal cruelty because it may lead to the abuse of humans.
A minimal was already dictated by self interest.
Historical Personal Ethic
Finally, prior to the 1950s, animals were mostly used in farming contexts where they lived in a "symbiotic" relationship with humans.
Good husbandry
If the animals thrived, then the farmers thrived.
Thus we historically had a minimal social consensus animal ethic.

This ethic was reinforced by both human and animal interests (personal ethic) and religious mandates.

Harm to the animal meant harm to the farmer.

Thus issues concerning animals were largely put on the philosophical "back burner," so to speak.
What's changed?
Why do we need a new animal
Cluck Cluck
A series of significant social changes occurred after WWII that made the historical social ethic obsolete.

First, the numbers of animals used for biomedical research increased dramatically.

Researchers are not being intentionally "cruel." They are motivated by decent intentions such as to cure disease, ensure product safety, and to advance knowledge.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
Second, Agriculture, including animal agriculture, was industrialized after WWII.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
This greatly increased productivity.
This means that the numbers of farm workers decreased while the number of animals raised has greatly increased.

It also means that animal environments have been altered to improve productivity. (battery cages, gestation crates etc...)

Also behavior previously seen as "bad husbandry" such as animal overcrowding was made possible by advances in antibiotics and vaccines.
Historical Ethic Short Circuited
All of these changes in the way we raise animals leads to non-intentional animal suffering (such as physical pain and mental depression) and to the reduction of negative consequences for previously bad animal husbandry.

Thus the old ethic built on the punishment of
cruelty and on self interest no longer works in this new environment.

Also, the rise of environmental ethics during the 1970s brought animal communities and ecosystems
into the ethical purview.
Chipotle & The Historical Critique
1) How does this video recreate Rollin's historical argument?
2) What is the ethical argument encapsulated in this video?
3) Can bioethical principles be brought to bear on the current situation?
Current Animal Ethic Positions
We need a new ethic!
I Used to be a Contender...
It's all about
the utility.
What about
Jeremy Bentham's approach:
Consequences should be measured in terms of maximizing pleasures and minimizing pains.

Thus the ethical action would be the one that brings about the most pleasure and least pain.

If animals feel pain and pleasure, then they should be included in our calculations about what to do.
got this.
Singer's Ethic
Singer's Adapted Approach:
If a being can suffer, it has an
in avoiding suffering, and its interests should be treated equally to the similar interests of other beings, whether they are human or not.

Interests are what matter, not the inherent value of the individual
The strongest interest should prevail
again, this ethic is consequentialist

Thus the ethical action is the one that respects a being's interests.
If we don't do this, we're speciesist.
Speciesism involves the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership.
Singer on Animal Experimentation
As Singer is a utilitarian, there are cases where animal testing is justified. Provided that:

There were no other ways to obtain the information.
The welfare of the animal is taken into account to limit suffering.
The suffering is outweighed by the long term benefits that are produced (Utilitarian calculus.)
Singer on Animal Testing
Do you agree with Singer here? Why or why not?
What would a rule utilitarian say concerning this case?
What about a Kantian?
Full transcript