Monday, September 16, 2013

Ethics, Animal Use, and Torture

I believe that there exists a balance between ethics and the pursuit of science.  In addition, I believe there are humane ways of doing almost all experiments.  For example, any experiments that need a person near death can be performed on the terminally ill with their consent of course.  I believe that if a person agrees to the specific pain and trauma of an experiment then they can be experimented on.  If an experiment needs to shock torture people, then people can be made aware of the voltage and be paid to participate. Consent is the most important thing needed to perform experiments. This said, certain experiments need to withhold certain information. The experimenter needs to inform the participant of any harmful effects.  Lies should not cover up physically harmful acts.  For animals, I believe the ends justified the means.  If an animal needs to be tortured or kill there better be a good reason for it.  In addition, all steps should be taken to comfort and take care of the animal that do not interfere with the experiment and are financially viable.  Those who use animals should just use common sense and even though something is legal does not be it should be done.  For example, if five rats are killed while trying to show how people react to watching animals dying, then that is not moral.  Videos of animals dying would work if this experiment is really worth it.  However, if five rats die in order to cure Alzheimer's then it is worth it.  It should also be noted that experiments should be well planned out.  That way the least damage possible is done. Obviously more dangerous experiments can be on animals. However, the plus about humans is they can consent.  Animals cannot consent so experiments should be done with precision and accuracy.  With humans more extraneous experiments can be done.


  1. Alex,
    I agree that experimentalists should take caution of its subject with thorough methods and common sense. Ironically, no such thing as common sense exists because the government creates laws and regulations with its own twisted ethics. Nevertheless, the necessary evil of animal torture provides a small-scale test that eventually leads to human subjects.

  2. Goebel, i like how you defined the difference between humans and animals in an experiment in that the animals cannot provide consent like we can so the level of controversy is higher all because we simply cannot read an animals mind. If that technology becomes available in our lifetime, than so be it, it would level and balance the difference between the ethics of humans and animals but until than we cannot do anything about it.

  3. Goebel, I found your analysis of torture and information retrieval interesting. This makes me think of the use of the drug scopolamine (or devil's breath) to, in a sense take one's free will away. The user wakes up remembering nothing whatsoever, it's said to be a sort of truth serum...there are some drawbacks to this such as a hallucinogenic response or (depending on the dosage ) death, but it does make me wonder whether taking one's free will away is considered torture, as it reaps similar outcomes.

  4. Alex,
    I agree with you on the ethics part of experimentation. If someone agreed to wanting to be physically harmed in any way or shocked throughout an experiment, then that makes it somewhat ok to go through with the experiment. Personally speaking, I would not be able to conduct an experiment knowing that I am causing psychical harm to my participants.