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Fellow Publishes Ground-breaking Book on Animal Experiments

1st June 2011

Centre Fellow, Dr Andrew Knight has published a ground breaking work on the utilitarian ethics of animal experimentation.

In The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments, bioethicist and veterinarian Andrew Knight presents more than a decade of ground-breaking scientific research, analysis and experience to provide evidence-based answers to a key question: is animal experimentation ethically justifiable?

By using meta-analyses of large numbers of animal experiments selected randomly — the ‘gold standard’ when assessing biomedical research, and analysing over 500 scientific publications, Knight is able to offer unprecedented insights into the contributions of animal experimentation to human healthcare, and the extent to which laboratory animals suffer. He provides the most recent evidence-based estimations of laboratory animal use globally and in major world regions, and reviews the types of procedures animals are subjected to and their level of invasiveness.When considering costs and benefits overall”, he states, “one cannot reasonably conclude that the benefits accruing to human patients or consumers, or to those motivated by scientific curiosity or profit, exceed the costs incurred by animals subjected to scientific procedures. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that actual human benefit is rarely – if ever – sufficient to justify such costs.”

Knight concludes with an overview of key regulations governing animal experimentation within Europe and North America, and proposes a set of policy reforms to facilitate increased implementation of alternative research and testing strategies. He concludes that, “rigorous implementation of policies such as these would restore to animal research the balance between human and animal interests expected by society, intended by legislation, and demanded by detailed ethical review.”

The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments is the most recent publication in the Palgrave Macmillan Series on Animal Ethics. The Series is produced in partnership with the Centre and aims to provide a range of key introductory and advanced texts that map out ethical positions on animal issues.

More information about the book is here and the book can be ordered here.