“The notion that human life is sacred just because it is human life is medieval”, this was written by Peter Singer in his book Animal Liberation. Animals are all over, whether it is at home as companions, at the circus as entertainment, or in our closets as clothing. Citizens of the United States are aware that the medicines we are to take have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but many of us have been ignorant to how exactly the majority of these medicines are approved and who are the testing dummies that are used to come up with these medication. Conducting medical research with animals has caused break out of legal, scientific, and ethical dilemmas concerning that topic. In this paper I will try to give an unbiased understanding of the research experiments animals have to undergo and the ethical issue that arise supported by Peter Singer.
It has been recorded that physician-scientist such as Aristotle and Erasistratus has performed experiments on living animals. In 1937, a pharmaceutical company here in the United States, came up with a drug called Elixir Sulfanilamide. This drug consisted of a solvent that was highly poisonous which lead to the death of hundreds of people. It wasn’t until then that the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act required testing of drugs on animals before they could be marketed to humans. In 1959, W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch introduced the three R’s for the use of humane treatment of animals. The first R is for the replacement of animals with non-living models, the second R is for the reduction in the use of animals, and the third R is for the refinement of animal use practices.
The Animal Welfare Act signed in 1966, is the only federal law that regulates the treatment of animals in research and transport, meaning that it seeks to protect animals used for scientific and medical research by limiting the procedures that can be performed. This Act overall is not very efficient because it only covers warm-blooded animals and excludes mice, rats, birds, and fishes which makes up 95 percent of the animals used in research. There are other acts such as the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act which regulates how animals that are raised for consumption are killed, the Endangered Species Act which list species that are threatened by extinction as “endangered” and then regulates and limits human activities in areas where those animals are mostly known to exist.
There is currently no world wide treaty on animal rights but in 1978, UNESCO was presented as the Universal Declaration of Animal rights. There are some foreign laws that focuses mostly on trade in exotic animals as pets, animal cruelty legislation, and the fur industry. In Austria there is a Federal Act on the Protection of Animals that came about on January 1st, 2005; which mainly focuses on the fact that animals are not objects and in Canada there is a Criminal Code: Cruelty to Animal that is updated on a regular basis; it is part of...