Humans are increasing realizing that, as the most powerful species on the planet, we must balance our interests with those of the planet that sustains us. Science must lead this realization of responsibility by conducting itself in a manner that is rational and respectful in terms of its interactions with the environment, including the animals that live within it. I argue that our current double-standard with respect to the different ethical codes we apply to human versus animal research is not rational given that science, in general, embraces the assumption, derived from evolution theory, that there is no qualitative difference between human and nonhuman life forms. Moreover, the scientific data we have to date is entirely consistent with this assumption. In my presentation I will present this argument and then suggest that humans overestimate the importance of animal research by focusing on medical advance per se, rather than the purpose of medical advance; to extend life expectancy and quality. Within this context I highlight other ways to extend and improve life that do not rely on us discovering new medical procedures and do not require intrusive animal research. I argue that these alternatives are superior to our current approach while also allowing us to mature as a species in terms of our interactions with nature.
|Keywords:||Research Ethics, Animal Research, Medical Research, Prevention, Accessibility to Health Care|
Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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