Varying Degrees of Animal Reification by Stakeholders in Experimental Research
UMR Infectiologie et Santé Publique, INRAE & University of Tours, 37380 Nouzilly, France
UFR 10 Philosophy, Ethique Appliquée et Responsabilité Sociale et Environnementale, University Paris 1 Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lars Lewejohann and Rosalia Crupi
Received: 1 September 2021
Revised: 16 November 2021
Accepted: 11 January 2022
Published: 13 January 2022
Several key stakeholders are involved in animal research, each with distinct responsibilities and objectives. The animal caretakers, for example, have daily contact with the animals and attend to the practical aspects of their nutrition, sanitation, and health and welfare monitoring. Research scientists can have comparatively limited contact with the animals, with their focus rather orientated towards obtaining robust experimental data. The term reification refers to the treatment of animals as objects for our own use. Amongst stakeholder in experimental research, various rationales exist that may contribute towards the reification of animals. For example, one that is potentially shared by many of the stakeholders is that the benefits of animal research (knowledge and real-life applications) outweigh the potential harms (suffering or restraining of animals). For some animal caretakers, establishing bonds with the experimental animals may be considered unprofessional. For researchers, consideration for the animals may be reduced to cases included in the experiment. Despite the potential for animal reification, it is partly mitigated in this context by the commonly held belief that animal suffering should be reduced as much as possible.