Deontology And Utilitarianism Essay

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The use of animals in research is widely accepted, particularly within the scientific community. However, with the rise of new technologies and growing concern over animal welfare, the ethics of animal experimentation and the extent to which it is practiced has increasingly come into question. Although animal experimentation is regulated to prevent excessive suffering, opponents argue that these measures are insufficient. Proponents of animal research argue that knowledge gained from it and the various applications for it justify the unethical manner by which that knowledge is obtained. This argument neglects critical moral considerations rooted in deontology and utilitarianism which condemn the unethical use of animals for the advancement …show more content…
Deontology thus provides a more compelling argument against animal research than utilitarianism. A major proponent of this outlook is Tom Regan, who has written on the subject in The Case for Animal Rights, in which he bases his argument against animal research on the sentience of animals and consequently their right to be respected as individuals. Regan argues that “if individuals have equal inherent value…we are to treat those individuals…in ways that respect their inherent value” (248). Exploiting animals for scientific knowledge therefore infringes upon their rights in that it disrespects their inherent value. One of deontology’s key principles is to treat individuals as ends rather than means. If animals are individuals, then using them to benefit humans at their expense would be to treat them as means to an end, and would thus violate their rights as …show more content…
However, the applications of animal research to human medicine are limited and often useless. Dr. Aysha Akhtar identifies “three major conditions [that] …. explain why animal experimentation, regardless of the disease category studied, [fail] to reliably inform human health: (1) the effects of the laboratory environment and other variables on study outcomes, (2) disparities between animal models of disease and human diseases, and (3) species differences in physiology and genetics” (“The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation”). These conditions are irresolvable hindrances to the advancement of human medicine; it would be more efficient and beneficial to humans to explore innovative technological alternatives that resemble human physiology more closely. In addition, the idea of sacrificing the welfare of animals to advance the welfare of humans is flawed in that it necessarily places more weight on the rights of humans, which violates the deontological view on the rights of sentient beings. If even just one individual could be sacrificed to improve the welfare of hundreds or thousands of other individuals, it would not erase the moral transgression committed in violating the rights of the sacrificed

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