Use of Animals in Psychological Research


Animals have been a vital component of the medical laboratories in the US as well us the other parts of the world and it is time everyone appreciated the immense strides that these individuals who participate in these tests have made.

Their actions though just as everything else in the current world have not eluded the watchful eyes of the activists this time the animal activists who have held that the animals used in these tests should be well handled and should only be used when no other alternative is available. This is a point of debate as the other alternatives available for use in the absence of animals will be the use of human beings. Whether this is realistic or in order is not an opinion I am entitled to as the subject of this assignment is an analysis of individuals or bodies who have taken positions on this issue.

It is evident that most of those involved in the research fields favor the use of animals and the reasons are clear as one looks at the success of these researches, as it is only because of them that diseases have been able to be contained in the past decade. Diseases that posed a massive threat to the people of the world as they continued to die. The argument of these researchers is how can these diseases that are an eminent danger to the human race is overlooked just because there is need to conserve or protect the animals. (Johnson 1990).

Though this argument maybe quite stern and the answer are quite obvious it forms the bases of the researchers and fellow supporters. It is never possible to overlook the plight of human beings just because there is need to protect the endowments of nature from an apparent abuse. The fact is that these animals are never abused and are in fact held and treated very well as they are as important as the course.

Use of Animals in Psychological Research

Past forums generated by researchers have indicated the desire to protect these animals and to use them only under conditions where use of other alternatives is impossible. They say that the argument of most of these arguments is misinformed and that they actually do not understand the long-term effects of using these animals nor are they aware of the procedures that are used in these research processes. They also seek to clarify the fact that these activists do not differentiate between the use of animals for testing products and for research in the biomedical researches.

To sum up their argument on the use of animals researchers say that they at no point ignore or overlook the rights of animals which the activists argue are equal to those of humans. On this premise they say that it would not be sound to use the fellow human beings to test the suitability of certain vaccines whose results are not known at the time putting their life in jeopardy with the aim of protecting the rights o an animal. The say that both superiority of mind and life of these two should determine the ability to risk the life of either, after all they say that that the results of these researches justify the use of animals as the results are there for all to see. (Johnson 1990).

Their last point is that they support the need to protect the animals and at the same time recognize the fact that ethical observations are there to meet of which they fully support, and they ensure that researches are conducted with the greatest care. They also agree on the need to observe the principle of the three R’s which are:-

– Reduce-Which is an effort o cut the numbers of animals used in researches.

– Replace- Which is the aim to switch the use of animals with other alternatives that may be available.

– Refine-This is making clear and reducing suffering of animals in the research procedures

On the other side lies the activists who strongly support the use of alternatives in the research procedures, besides this they argue that the rights of animals are the same as those of human

Use of Animals in Psychological Research

beings thus for the same reasons that human beings are not used should be the very same ones that bar the use of animals in these procedures.

Thus as we can see their argument is based on the believe that these animals have the same rights as human beings, this may not be easily determined as no apparent documented summary that places both at the same claim of rights. These advocates argue that animals have rights which should be observed by everyone using them they further argue that they should not be taken as property which one may dispose off or treat as they may wish.

On laboratory procedures they argue that the researchers only use animals because they have not put as much effort in determining alternatives as they have put in using these animals on their procedures. Thus their point is that researchers should focus more in coming up with alternatives for using in their procedures. This they say will help enforce the rights of animals at the same time protecting their lives which they say is their right. (Devenport 1990).


The debate of whether animals have rights seems to be long from being over as the advocates argue there is need to stop using these animals. On the other hand researchers have argued the only way to maintain the health of individuals is by using these animals to test the medication subscribed to these people. To support this they agree to use the animals only when no alternative exists and even in these cases they say utmost care will be exercised in handling the animals.

Use of Animals in Psychological Research


Devenport, L. and Devenport, J. (1990). The laboratory animal dilemma: A Solution in Our Backyards. Psychological Science, 1(4), 215-216.

Johnson, D. (1990). Animal rights and human lives: Time for scientists to right the balance.

Psychological Science, 1(4), 213-214.

Morris, C. and Maisto, A. (2008). Understanding Psychology 8th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. (pp 34 – 36).