A summary of the arguments for and against vivisection

How should we evaluate the net benefits of animal experimentation?

See LaFollette and Shanks (1995). The authors discuss: different kinds of animal models; the need for a causal model to justify animal research; benefits foregone by animal testing safety laws (aspirin); benefits achieved that could have been obtained by alternative methods (e.g. human experiments); limited improvements in human lifespan attributable to vaccines; and the limited role of vaccines in eliminating diseases.

Specific claims made for and against vivisection

After sifting through the literature in favour of animal experimentation (Americans for Medical Progress, 2002; European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, 2002; The Research Defence Society, 2004), and against it (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 1998; Greek and Greek, 2000; Americans For Medical Advancement, 2002; The Medical Research Modernization Committee; and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, 2004), as well as "open" groups with members from both sides of the debate, such as The Boyd Group (2003) and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2001), I have decided to summarise the valid factual claims made by both sides.

Much of what we know about the human brain comes from neuroscience research on monkeys. Image courtesy of Research Defence Society, U. K..

In favour of animal testing:

Against animal testing: