Simple Summary: Animal experimentation evokes strong emotional responses in people on both sides of the debate surrounding its ethical status. However, the true level of its usefulness to society may only be discerned by careful examination of reliable scientific evidence. My recent book, The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments, reviewed more than 500 relevant scientific publications. Recently in this journal, however, a reviewer essentially accused me of bias. Yet the conclusions of my book are based on sound reasoning and strong evidence, and no critic has yet provided any substantive evidence to refute them.
Abstract: My recent book entitled The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments seeks to answer a key question within animal ethics, namely: is animal experimentation ethically justifiable? Or, more precisely, is it justifiable within the utilitarian cost:benefit framework that fundamentally underpins most regulations governing animal experimentation? To answer this question I reviewed more than 500 scientific publications describing animal studies, animal welfare impacts, and alternative research, toxicity testing and educational methodologies. To minimise bias I focused primarily on large-scale systematic reviews that had examined the human clinical and toxicological utility of animal studies. Despite this, Dr. Susanne Prankel recently reviewed my book in this journal, essentially accusing me of bias. However, she failed to provide any substantive evidence to refute my conclusions, let alone evidence of similar weight to that on which they are based. Those conclusions are, in fact, firmly based on utilitarian ethical reasoning, informed by scientific evidence of considerable strength, and I believe they are robust.
Keywords: The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments; animal experiment; animal study; animal ethics; animal welfare; 3Rs; utilitarian; bias; systematic review; Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series
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Knight, A. Bias During the Evaluation of Animal Studies? Animals 2012, 2, 85-92.
Knight A. Bias During the Evaluation of Animal Studies? Animals. 2012; 2(1):85-92.
Knight, Andrew. 2012. "Bias During the Evaluation of Animal Studies?" Animals 2, no. 1: 85-92.