The Fine Line between Progress and Crime: When is Animal Experimentation Ethical

The Fine Line between Progress and Crime: When is Animal Experimentation Ethical

Hey there, welcome back to my blog! I had such a good response to the previous post so I really wanted to express how thankful I am for you special people who take the time to send me emails. I truly appreciate how I received some suggestions for articles and I even got some questions, too! There was one particular question that really stuck out.

It was question posed by Sarah of Wisconsin, USA. She asked: “When is animal experimentation ethical?”

The concept of experimenting on animals has always been a rather touchy subject. Whenever this topic comes up, it is always either of two things: the people who outright denounce any form of animal experimentation and those who think that it is necessary. When it comes to it, the concept of ‘ethical’ experimentation seems to be a contradiction in itself.

Unethical versus Ethical

Just what is that is considered to be unethical? Mostly, it comes down to several things like:

  • Degree of Experimentation
  • Utilization of the Results
  • Handling of Animals

I wholly agree that certain experimentation is critical for progress. This is how we find out what is safe for human consumption or even pharmaceutical discoveries. Animals like the humble mouse are favored subjects for cancer research. When it comes down to it, unethical animal testing is often the result of frivolous pursuits.

One field or industry that is often associated with unethical experimentation on animals is the cosmetic industry. There used to be big name brands that used to test their products on animals like chimps and dogs. Not only is it cruel but it doesn’t make much sense. Animals do not have the same reactions regarding cosmetic things like lipstick and other makeup. So testing them for hypoallergenic purposes does not yield anything important.

Ethical treatment of animals during experiments is often considered to be doubtful but they do occur. It is when facilities take proper care of animals by giving them enough space to move, proper meals that give them ample nutrition, and not subjecting them to experiments that causes them to experience significant pain or discomfort.

The topic of ethical experimentation is still a tad sketchy, in my honest opinion. After all, you can’t be ethical but at the same time subject something to experiments that do not have a wholly secure outcome.

To Close

While there will always be a sort of discord regarding the topic of animal experimentation and ethics, I believe that what we should be looking at is the bigger picture. The reason why certain experimentation procedures—in the field of medicine particularly—are needed is because our laws prevent us from doing human experimentation. That, I think, is just right. That last thing that we need would be people of science using people to further their research.

Brave animals that are included in scientific research are given the burden that we cannot carry. It is through their sacrifice that we are able to unlock knowledge that provides us with better chances of living at a better quality than those before us. Do you agree?

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Doing a Mouse Centered Experiment? Succeed Better With These Two Key Factors

Doing a Mouse Centered Experiment? Succeed Better With These Two Key Factors

When you are a psychology major, one of the courses or classes that you will be exposed to is behavioral psychology. This is where you get introduced to greats like Freud and Maslow. One of the biggest projects that I ever had to come across actually was the point where the seeds of my interest were planted.

It was those very seeds which blossomed into the very blog which you are reading today. As you may imagine, this project had to do with training mice to go through a pre-made maze. It was certainly challenging, let me tell you that. Mice are intelligent—yes, they are. However, they do need to be trained in order to do what you want them to. In doing this project, there were a lot of things I realized in hindsight. Hindsight is always 20/20.

So in my journey into getting the mouse (who I named Mercedes) toward where she needed to go, I figured out a few things that would have helped me better. So in case you gust ever need to train a mouse through a maze, take these key factors that I certainly wished I learned earlier:

Have a Set Goal

One of the troubles with a maze is that there are false ends. So you need to be clear from the beginning what the end goal is. My problem was that I let my Mercedes do as she pleased and just tried to go with the point where she went the most. This ended up confusing her further, as you can imagine.

Establish Proper Punishment

One of the best ways that I found for Mercedes to learn was to dole out suitable punishment whenever she went to the wrong branch of the maze. There are many ways in which mice could be punished but you also have to consider the long term effect on the mouse. One of my classmates used water to punish her mouse. She would spray a bit of water on the mouse whenever it would go down the wrong end.

This led the mouse to associate paths where it is not sprayed with water as the correct path. This seemed well and good—at the time. On the day of presentation itself, you are not allowed to have any contact with your mouse. You are not allowed to dole out any physical punishments if they make a mistake. You can only have their reward at the end of the right path.

As you can imagine, my classmate (who could not physically spray her mouse with water) could only watch as her mouse go through the maze all lost because it perceived everything to be the correct path since it was not being splashed with water. I went feeding Mercedes bread on incorrect ends and peanut butter only in the correct path. Mercedes eventually learned how to be familiar with the scent of peanut butter.

To Close

Training mice can be pretty tricky. However, you only need to be consistent in order to really train your mouse!  The couple of key factors above should help you out if you have a mouse to train in your future.

What other key factors do you think are needed to train mice?