Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1981

Abstract

The current laws regarding experimentation upon animals should be drastically revised. These laws permit virtually unrestricted experimentation on animals without regard to the benefits to be obtained from such experimentation, and without regard to the consequences of such experimentation upon the subject animal. Legislation constituting a two-step jump from the current laws is needed: laws sanctioning and requiring animal experimentation should be repealed; and laws significantly restricting acceptable experimentation should be enacted. The principle underlying this proposal for change is straightforward: Nonhuman animals, like human animals, have interests in the integrity of their bodies which deserve legal protection. Only by repealing the present laws and enacting new legislation can these interests be protected.

In Animal Liberation, Peter Singer (1975) stated why an animal's interest, like a person's interest, in the integrity of its body deserves legal protection: "If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration." However, while the law regarding experimentation on humans reflects the need to consider the subject's sentience (the capacity to suffer and/or experience enjoyment), the law regarding experimentation on animals ignores the experiment's likely impact upon the subject animal.