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Special Issue "Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation"

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A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Pru Hobson-West (Website)

Centre for Applied Bioethics, Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS), University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, LE12 5RD, UK
Guest Editor
Dr. Kate Millar (Website)

Centre for Applied Bioethics, Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS), University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, LE12 5RD, UK

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of non-human animals in scientific research has been a topic of significant debate for centuries. Recent changes in animal use and in regulation mean that a taking stock of the social and ethical issues raised by the use of laboratory animals is warranted. In the EU, for example, the new Directive 2010/63/EU recently come into force which impacts on European state’s regulations around animal experimentation. Internationally there have been interesting initiatives around openness and the continued rise in the use of genetically modified animals as laboratory models continues to raise welfare and ethical questions.

Original manuscripts that address the social and ethical issues raised by animal experimentation are invited for this special issue. We will consider papers that address specific issues related to individual countries or regions, but ask that authors make the wider international implications of their argument clear. We anticipate papers will come from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including but not limited to: bioethics, veterinary and animal sciences, sociology, geography, ethology, and law.

Manuscripts focusing on the following themes are encouraged:

  • Harm-benefit concept
  • Public engagement and animal research
  • Law and regulation
  • Ethical principles and 3Rs
  • Laboratory animal welfare
  • Historical and comparative perspectives
  • Retrospective assessment

Dr. Pru Hobson-West
Dr. Kate Millar
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • bioethics
  • laboratory
  • animal experimentation
  • public understanding
  • 3Rs

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle An Insufferable Business: Ethics, Nonhuman Animals and Biomedical Experiments
Animals 2015, 5(3), 624-642; doi:10.3390/ani5030376
Received: 22 January 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
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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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
Open AccessArticle A Critical Look at Biomedical Journals’ Policies on Animal Research by Use of a Novel Tool: The EXEMPLAR Scale
Animals 2015, 5(2), 315-331; doi:10.3390/ani5020315
Received: 24 December 2014 / Revised: 3 April 2015 / Accepted: 23 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
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Abstract
Animal research is not only regulated by legislation but also by self-regulatory mechanisms within the scientific community, which include biomedical journals’ policies on animal use. For editorial policies to meaningfully impact attitudes and practice, they must not only be put into effect [...] Read more.
Animal research is not only regulated by legislation but also by self-regulatory mechanisms within the scientific community, which include biomedical journals’ policies on animal use. For editorial policies to meaningfully impact attitudes and practice, they must not only be put into effect by editors and reviewers, but also be set to high standards. We present a novel tool to classify journals’ policies on animal use—the EXEMPLAR scale—as well as an analysis by this scale of 170 journals publishing studies on animal models of three human diseases: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Type-1 Diabetes and Tuberculosis. Results show a much greater focus of editorial policies on regulatory compliance than on other domains, suggesting a transfer of journals’ responsibilities to scientists, institutions and regulators. Scores were not found to vary with journals’ impact factor, country of origin or antiquity, but were, however, significantly higher for open access journals, which may be a result of their greater exposure and consequent higher public scrutiny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
Open AccessArticle Ethical and Animal Welfare Considerations in Relation to Species Selection for Animal Experimentation
Animals 2014, 4(4), 729-741; doi:10.3390/ani4040729
Received: 12 March 2014 / Revised: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
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Abstract
Ethical principles governing the conduct of experiments with animals are reviewed, especially those relating to the choice of species. Legislation requires that the potential harm to animals arising from any procedure should be assessed in advance and justified in terms of its [...] Read more.
Ethical principles governing the conduct of experiments with animals are reviewed, especially those relating to the choice of species. Legislation requires that the potential harm to animals arising from any procedure should be assessed in advance and justified in terms of its possible benefit to society. Potential harms may arise both from the procedures and the quality of the animals’ lifetime experience. The conventional approach to species selection is to use animals with the “lowest degree of neurophysiological sensitivity”. However; this concept should be applied with extreme caution in the light of new knowledge. The capacity to experience pain may be similar in mammals, birds and fish. The capacity to suffer from fear is governed more by sentience than cognitive ability, so it cannot be assumed that rodents or farm animals suffer less than dogs or primates. I suggest that it is unethical to base the choice of species for animal experimentation simply on the basis that it will cause less distress within society. A set of responsibilities is outlined for each category of moral agent. These include regulators, operators directly concerned with the conduct of scientific experiments and toxicology trials, veterinarians and animal care staff; and society at large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
Open AccessArticle Pain Management for Animals Used in Science: Views of Scientists and Veterinarians in Canada
Animals 2014, 4(3), 494-514; doi:10.3390/ani4030494
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
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Abstract
To explore the challenges and opportunities for pain management for animals used in research an interview study with 9 veterinarians, 3 veterinarian-scientists and 9 scientists, all engaged in animal-based studies in Canada, was carried out. Our broader aim was to contribute to [...] Read more.
To explore the challenges and opportunities for pain management for animals used in research an interview study with 9 veterinarians, 3 veterinarian-scientists and 9 scientists, all engaged in animal-based studies in Canada, was carried out. Our broader aim was to contribute to further discussion of how pain can be minimized for animals used in science. Diverse views were identified regarding the ease of recognizing when animals are in pain and whether animals hide pain. Evidence of inconsistencies in pain management across laboratories, institutions and species were also identified. Clarification of the interactions between scientific objectives and pain management are needed, as well as a stronger evidence base for pain management approaches. Detailed examination of pain management for individual invasive animal models may be useful, and may support the development of model-specific pain management protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)
Open AccessArticle Refining Housing, Husbandry and Care for Animals Used in Studies Involving Biotelemetry
Animals 2014, 4(2), 361-373; doi:10.3390/ani4020361
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare issues relating to the housing and husbandry [...] Read more.
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare issues relating to the housing and husbandry of animals used in biotelemetry studies are single vs. group housing, provision of environmental enrichment, long term laboratory housing and use of telemetered data to help assess welfare. Animals may be singly housed because more than one device transmits on the same wavelength; due to concerns regarding damage to surgical sites; because they are wearing exteriorised jackets; or if monitoring systems can only record from individually housed animals. Much of this can be overcome by thoughtful experimental design and surgery refinements. Similarly, if biotelemetry studies preclude certain enrichment items, husbandry refinement protocols can be adapted to permit some environmental stimulation. Nevertheless, long-term laboratory housing raises welfare concerns and maximum durations should be defined. Telemetered data can be used to help assess welfare, helping to determine endpoints and refine future studies. The above measures will help to improve data quality as well as welfare, because experimental confounds due to physiological and psychological stress will be minimised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)

Review

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Open AccessReview Public Attitudes toward Animal Research: A Review
Animals 2014, 4(3), 391-408; doi:10.3390/ani4030391
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The exploration of public attitudes toward animal research is important given recent developments in animal research (e.g., increasing creation and use of genetically modified animals, and plans for progress in areas such as personalized medicine), and the shifting relationship between science and [...] Read more.
The exploration of public attitudes toward animal research is important given recent developments in animal research (e.g., increasing creation and use of genetically modified animals, and plans for progress in areas such as personalized medicine), and the shifting relationship between science and society (i.e., a move toward the democratization of science). As such, public engagement on issues related to animal research, including exploration of public attitudes, provides a means of achieving socially acceptable scientific practice and oversight through an understanding of societal values and concerns. Numerous studies have been conducted to explore public attitudes toward animal use, and more specifically the use of animals in research. This paper reviews relevant literature using three categories of influential factors: personal and cultural characteristics, animal characteristics, and research characteristics. A critique is given of survey style methods used to collect data on public attitudes, and recommendations are given on how best to address current gaps in public attitudes literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessCommentary Is There a Need for a More Expansive Use of Ethics and Values in Reflecting on the Use of Animals in Scientific Research?
Animals 2014, 4(4), 643-656; doi:10.3390/ani4040643
Received: 8 May 2014 / Revised: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 19 September 2014 / Published: 10 October 2014
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Abstract
Although reflecting a long tradition of moral reflection that the use of animals is acceptable as long as it is humane, the tension between causing harm to animals in research and the benefits to humans can nevertheless be troubling. Utilitarian arguments that [...] Read more.
Although reflecting a long tradition of moral reflection that the use of animals is acceptable as long as it is humane, the tension between causing harm to animals in research and the benefits to humans can nevertheless be troubling. Utilitarian arguments that appeal to the value of those practices in sustaining and enhancing human lives, and rights-based arguments which seek to constrain them, can be inadequate. Reflecting a more engaging, inclusive and sophisticated understanding of human activity, justification for animal use could be expanded to reflect the fullness and richness of ethical thinking. This might see more explicit inclusion of perspectives borne of virtues, caring, experiences, and respect for the essence of the animal, and different ways of understanding and knowing animals, values drawn from the middle ground of commonly acceptable human-animal relationships. Such values, already clearly evident in research, could be more widely integrated into arguments justifying animal use. A more expansive approach would not only reflect reality and acknowledge that costs and benefits are shared more widely, but it might result in more equitable, effective and humane science. It might also serve to reduce some of the tension long evident in the relationship between humans and animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Social Dimensions of Animal Experimentation)

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animals@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
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