Animal Experimentation; Cruelty or Science?

Animal Experimentation: Cruelty or Science?
by Nancy Day

(Illus.; from the Issues in Focus series)
Enslow Publishers Inc.
Glossary; Index
JH-C, GA **


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The subject of animal experimentation is highly emotional and controversial. Many scientists contend that every major medical advance has relied to some extent on animal experiments. Animal welfare groups tend to balance human and animal interests and argue for humane care and treatment. Animal rights advocates contend that animals have the right not to be experimented on or used by humans for their own purposes. (They will even go to the extent of releasing dogs from pens at dog shows and obedience trials.) Members of the biological and medical professions are found in both groups. The basic questions at issue are: Do humans have a right to experiment on animals to find cures for human and animal ailments? Do animals have their own rights? If experimentation is to be allowed, which animals and what kind of experiments should be permitted? and If controls are to be set, who sets them and with what rationale? In Animal Experimentation, author Nancy Day briefly, carefully, and objectively explores the controversy surrounding this issue. There are chapters on "The Battleground," "Science and Experimentation," "History of Animal Experimentation ," "Ethical Issues," "The Case Against Animal Experimentation," "The Case for Animal Experimentation," "Experimentation on Humans," and "The Alternatives." Included are references for each chapter and a list of recommended readings. We are living in a time of new technologies not available in the past. Young people who are becoming scientists are more and more asking questions about animal experimentation than in previous generations. Some alternatives are already available, while others can be expected. A major issue remains: Can (or should) animal experimentation be completely eliminated? Probably the most important statement in the book is in the last paragraph of the author's note: "Take time to analyze the claims. Ask yourself whether arguments make sense. Do your own research (read factual material), visit animal shelters, hospitals and research centers. See for yourself how research is conducted and what the results are. Think. Then make up your own mind." Animal experimentation is a matter of life and death, regardless of what position one takes. The better informed individuals are about the issues, the more rational and logical their actions will be.

--Reviewed by William G. Wisecup in Science Books and Films, 31/2 (March 1995), p. 41.