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An Ethical Dilemma

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According to Viren Swami, a professor at the University of Westminster, “animal testing, or animal research, refers to the use of animals in experiments within academic, research, or commercial establishments” (Christopher, 269). Sounds simple enough, but Swami does not mention how this testing affects the animals or why this is such a controversial issue among the public. M.J. Prescott, from the National Center for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animal Research, makes a very good point when he says that:

Many people, including from within the scientific community, consider that the use of NHPs [nonhuman primates] in research is a matter of particular ethical concern because certain features NHPs share with humans, such as their highly developed nervous systems, cognitive complexity and intense sociality, have implications for the level or nature of suffering they might experience during experiments and are therefore morally relevant. (14)

The close relationship between NHPs and humans is one of the reasons why so many people care about the use of NHPs in medical research. Based off of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, many people believe that humans evolved from primates which would make them the next-to-kin of human beings. This close relationship makes NHPs the best option to get the most accurate results from a medical experiment, but it also makes them the animal that most humans sympathize with. Using any kind of animal for medical research is wrong because it is wrong to inflict pain or cause premature death to an animal, there has been a significant increase in the number of NHPs in research, and there is no way for animals to give their informed consent to be used in medical research.

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