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Physiological Psychology Essay: The Use of Animals in Research and the Ethical Issues Associated with Such Use

The development of science is practically unimaginable without practical experiments and tests. Unfortunately, some of such experiments and tests are closely related to the threat to health and life of animals that were and still are used in scientific purposes. Naturally, it engenders numerous discussions as for necessity of use of animals in researches and experiments, especially from ethical point of view.

On analysing different points of view on this problem, it should be said that they may be absolutely contrasting since there are both supporters and opponents of the use of animals in scientific research. It is noteworthy that both positions seem to be quite reasonable and persuasive.

First of all, it should be pointed out that historically, animals were widely used in scientific research and many generations considered this practice as normal and natural. Moreover, many contemporary societies treat this problem in the same way, especially it concerns those societies where the level of technological progress is rather low and which lead rather primitive lifestyle. The main reason is that they remain rather close to nature and perceive sufferings and deaths of animals as a natural process since they get used to sufferings and deaths of animals and often they kill them simply to survive.

Naturally such a position is absolutely unacceptable for a representative of industrial, or even post-industrial societies where humanistic values are well developed. At the same time, even representatives of these societies support the use of animals in scientific research because often it is necessary for the final success of the research. For instance, it may be a research of some medicine that may save millions of lives of human beings. Naturally, scientists cannot test the medicine on people because it is extremely dangerous for their health and life while the consequences and side effects of the test may be unpredictable. In this respect, the use of animals seems to be quite motivated, especially from utilitarian point of view.

On the other hand, there is an absolutely opposite view on the problem. It is not a secret that many people reject the necessity of use of animals in scientific research. They believe that it is absolutely inhuman and animals could not be victims of scientific progress and researches cannot cause harm to animals without any significant reason. Moreover, instead of tests and experiments on animals they suggest to model the possible effects with the help of the contemporary technological tools, computers, etc. They really believe that it is possible to make a research without use of animals.

However, it is extremely doubtful that the suggestion to stop use animals in scientific research is realisable. Despite the fact that the use of animals in researches is quite arguable from ethical point of view, the main problem is the potential danger of a refuse from such tests or experiments. Returning to the example of a medicine that is tested on animals, it should be said that a researcher can hardly forecast its possible effects on human organism, if there are no tests on a living being, because even the most sophisticated technologies are practically unable to model the real living being.

Thus, it is obvious that the use of animals in scientific research cannot be totally forbidden but still it is necessary to thoroughly regulate the use of animals in researches. Moreover, the only possible of the solution of the dilemma of whether to use animals or not should be a compromise between two opposing positions of supporters and opponents of this idea. At the same time, the strictly limited and controlled use of animals would minimize the harm human activity causes to nature.


1. Carlson, N. Foundations of Physiological Psychology. New York: Routledge, 2005.
2. Russel, B. Ethics. New York : Lynn Rienner Pub, 1997. Can Write an Essay on Physiological Psychology for You!

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