While most people recognize that biomedical scientists are searching for knowledge that will improve the health of humans and animals, the image of someone deliberately causing harm to an animal in order to produce data that may lead to some future benefit has always prompted an uncomfortable reaction outside the laboratory. However, proponents of animal research have usually justified the practice by reference to greater benefits (new knowledge and medical treatments) over lesser costs (in animal suffering and death). Given that one of the costs of animal research is the suffering experienced by the animals, the goal of eliminating distress and pain in the animal laboratory wherever feasible, is one that few, if any, people (especially scientists) would argue against. Moreover, we contend that a laudable, long-range goal would be the elimination of all substantial distress and pain in the animal laboratory (Stephens and Conlee, 2004) although some might see this as an insurmountable technical challenge.
Conlee, Kathleen; Stephens, Martin; and Rowan, Andrew N., "Addressing Distress and Pain in Animal Research: The Veterinary, Research, Societal, Regulatory and Ethical Contexts for Moving Forward" (2009). EXP. 61.