New Frontiers in Animal Research Neuroethics at the Center for Neuroscience and Society
Tyler John is a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health Department of Bioethics interested in resource allocation, animal ethics, and moral theory. This fall, he will begin a PhD in Philosophy at Rutgers University.
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Several other criticisms of mainstream animal research were discussed by biologist Joseph Garner. Scientists and journals should be publishing negative data, he argued, and scientists should stop treating animals like tools or “reagents” and treat them more like patients. Our failure to treat animals like patients produces research projects with far too little variability. As an analogy, imagine that we conducted human subjects research with the low variability we have in, e.g., research on mice. All of our participants would be 42-year-old white men who live in the same town, have the same exercise regimen, are the same height and weight, and have nearly identical genotypes! Clearly this would be problematic. Moreover, many animals who are in labs suffer from anxiety, depression, and social isolation. In addition to this being bad for these animals, it lowers the quality and validity of research performed on them.
Program from Animal Research
But even if it isn’t useful to talk about persons, questions about the morality of such cognitive enhancement remain. On day two of the workshop, Evan Balaban set the backdrop for this discussion with his research on chimeric chicks. These chicks are crossed with quails so that they have brains that are part-chicken, part-quail, and they sing like quails instead of chickens. Robert Streiffer then commented on the moral significance of creating chimeric animals, focusing on the possibility that cognitively enhancing an animal might change her moral status.
*updated on July 21, 2016 at 12:17pm EST.
Want to cite this post?
John, Tyler. (2016). New Frontiers in Animal Research Neuroethics at the Center for Neuroscience and Society. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2016/07/new-frontiers-in-animal-research_14.html