The Use Of Non Human Animals In Psychological Research

825 words - 3 pages

The Use of Non-Human Animals in Psychological Research

Animals used in research have proved to be an important factor for the
uses of medicine, for example Flemming found the use of penicillin was
an effective antibiotic when it was used on mice.

Since 1822, legislation has limited how scientists use animals. In the
UK, the use of animals in psychological investigations has been
constrained by ethical and moral guidelines. Current UK legislation in
the Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986 states that all animal
research must only take place in a laboratory that are institutionally
licensed for animal research. It must be apart of an approved research
project. The license will only be given out if the potential results
could justify the use of the animals and if the research cannot be
done using non animal methods. Also the research must be done with
minimum numbers of animals and if discomfort and harm is also kept
minimal. This act has been enforced by a team of inspectors who visit
the research laboratories approximately eight times a year to make
sure they are sticking to these rules.

The “three Rs” was published to reinforce the humane treatment of
laboratory animals. Reduction aimed to reduce the number of animals
used in the experiment. Replacement involved using other research
methods such as more scan and use of computer simulation instead of
using animals. The final R is refinement which involves using
procedures that minimises animal suffering. The three Rs has proved to
be very successful , for example in the Netherlands over 5000 monkeys
were used to produce polio vaccines in the 1970’s during 1990 this
number had dropped to about 10 monkeys.

The problems faced with the ethical guidelines are that animals used
cannot give their informed consent to participate in the experiment
nor can they be debriefed after. Bateson argues that there are three
main criteria that should be taken into account when deciding whether
a study on an animal is justifiable. Firstly the quality of the
research which, can be assessed by the funding agency. The amount of

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