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Describe and evaluate arguments for and against the use of non-human animals in psychological research.

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  • Essay length: 766 words
  • Submitted: 31/03/2006
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University Degree Zoology

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Describe and evaluate arguments for and against the use of non-human animals in psychological research.

Non-human animals have been used in psychological research for hundreds of years. With the use of these animals, however, comes the question: "How can on justify the use of non-human animals, who cannot give informed consent, in tests and trials that could cause them both physical and psychological harm?"

It is difficult to defend the use of animals in psychological research. The two main sides to the argument take highly differing views. The animal rights movement takes up the position: "No matter the potential harm to mankind, it is ethically wrong to use animals in research." The other side of the argument is held in the utilitarian view that the cost of the research in suffering should be balanced against the benefit to mankind, and that animal research can be justified on that basis.

The animal rights argument is heavily based on ethical issues. In his work, Peter Singer described the use of animals in research as a form of discrimination that he termed 'speciesism', and in the same way that experiments are not done on old people

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