Friday, January 6, 2012

Ethical Issues of Animal Research

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Ethical decisions in business research involves making choices that are socially responsible and benefit the business making the choice, other businesses, and the community. According to Pelosi, Sandifer, and Sekaran (001), every stage of performing business research requires sound ethical procedures (p. 7). The development of expanded research has led to the establishment of specific courses of action that require strict adherence for ethical purposes. This paper discusses the ethical issues and the impact of these issues involved with using animals in conducting research as expressed in articles located on the Internet.

Ethical thinkers in past years helped to develop the moral principles taken in using animals for research purposes. The principles derived from these thinkers assisted in establishing decisions based on the tolerable and unacceptable ways for scientists to use animals in all facets of animal-centered research. Due to these principles, the human race now has specific guidelines in which to follow in the ethical treatment of animals (“Ethics and Animal Use in Science,” 001, p. 1).

The ethical issues involved with conducting research and the utilization of animals are many. Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, introduced the concept of equal concern of well-being in which the interests of animals are equally important as those of humans; therefore, this should aid in determining if specific uses of animals are right or wrong. Likewise, Tom Regan developed the idea of animal rights in the 180s. According to Regan, providing equal rights to all humans, as well as animals, safeguards the natural value of the living being. By stating this, the idea of animal rights includes equality of protection from death and suffering between humans and animals (“Ethics and Animal Use in Science,” 001, pp. -4).

Finally, the “Reverence for Life” viewpoint, established by Albert Schweitzer, recognizes the idea of humans providing the will-to-live for all living beings as they give their own lives this same attention. Furthermore, this perspective associates the instigations of pain or death when possibly avoided as wrong. This ethical issue institutes the human’s responsibility in supplying a duty of care toward the welfare of animals as far as nutritional, environmental, health, behavioral, and mental needs are concerned (“Ethics and Animal Use in Science,” 001, pp. 5-8).

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These issues lead to a very important impact concerning the management of research involving any living being achieving the most good with the least harm. This impact states that the use of animals in research is tolerable only if the profits and rewards of their use extremely outweigh the harm done. Today, scientists must conduct a harm-benefit analysis before conducting any research. A company’s Animal Ethics Committee further reviews the analysis to ensure that the advantage of the research compensates for any harm. Furthermore, the committee only approves the analysis if the scientists make certain that any harm is at a minimum (“Balancing Harm and Benefit,” 001, p.1).

The issues of animal-based research compared to human-based research expose one major controversy. Animals have no say in the matter of their involvement whereas humans do. The ethical issues and guidelines established over the years that impact the research on animals help to alleviate the concerns of animal welfare and duty of care. In addition, the impact of greatest good with the least amount of harm soothes one’s mind that the performance of research occurs only if a bigger reward to all life is inevitable.

Most universities and businesses have policies and procedures written for experiments of this sort. Griffith University, for example, has a twenty nine-page document covering all aspects of using animals in any type of educational or scientific research. Documented issues such as animal welfare, liberation, and relevance for life are within this manual so the researchers understand the specifics of their responsibility to life and rights (“Human and Animal Ethics Forms,” 00, p. 4).

In conclusion, it is important for research to occur in order for the future of living beings to see benefit in regards to medicine, economy, and welfare. As long as the issues of ethics are always in place and enhancements produced, the issue of using animals does not present itself as a major business ethicality. On the other hand, businesses or institutions that choose to ignore this issue as an ethical one, may find themselves confronting retaliation or opposition.

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