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Animals 2015, 5(3), 624-642; doi:10.3390/ani5030376

An Insufferable Business: Ethics, Nonhuman Animals and Biomedical Experiments

Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth, Milldam, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3AS, Hampshire, UK
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 22 January 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
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Simple Summary

This paper explores the ways in which biomedical research that uses nonhuman animal subjects generates financial profits and gains for humans who are associated with the industry. Research establishments, scientists, regulators and persons that inspect laboratories for compliance, those associated with granting licences, companies that sell nonhuman animal subjects and that supply equipment for the research, and corporations that market the resulting products are among those that benefit financially. These profits are rarely discussed—they seem to be camouflaged by the focus of the moral convention that assumes that human health-related needs prevail over those of the nonhuman animals who are so used. The paper concludes by calling for an end to the denigration of nonhuman animals as experimental subjects who can be used as commodities for profit-maximisation and as tools in experiments for human health benefits.

Abstract

Each year millions of nonhuman animals suffer in biomedical experiments for human health benefits. Clinical ethics demand that nonhuman animals are used in the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Nonhuman animals are also used for fundamental biomedical research. Biomedical research that uses nonhuman animals is big business but the financial gains are generally occluded. This paper explores how such research generates profits and gains for those associated with the industry. Research establishments, scientists, laboratories, companies that sell nonhuman animal subjects, that supply equipment for the research, and corporations that market the resulting products are among those that benefit financially. Given the complex articulation of ethical codes, enormous corporate profits that are secured and personal returns that are made, the accepted moral legitimacy of such experiments is compromised. In order to address this, within the confines of the moral orthodoxy, more could to be done to ensure transparency and to extricate the vested financial interests from the human health benefits. But such a determination would not address the fundamental issues that should be at the heart of human actions in respect of the nonhuman animals who are used in experiments. The paper concludes with such an address by calling for an end to the denigration of nonhuman animals as experimental subjects who can be used as commodities for profit-maximisation and as tools in experiments for human health benefits, and the implementation of a more inclusive ethic that is informed by universal concern about the suffering of and compassion for all oppressed beings. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropocentric; biomedical; business; ethics; experiments; nonhuman animals; profits anthropocentric; biomedical; business; ethics; experiments; nonhuman animals; profits
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Peggs, K. An Insufferable Business: Ethics, Nonhuman Animals and Biomedical Experiments. Animals 2015, 5, 624-642.

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