Ethical issues are never straightforward. Is the stress on nonhuman animals caused by being research subjects outweighed by the potential benefits of the research? Web sites addressing this question often fall into one of two categories: those that argue that the ethics of research on nonhuman animals is a complex issue that needs careful consideration, and those that oppose the use of nonhuman animals as research subjects under any circumstance.
I do not want to influence your position on this question; I am still wrestling with aspects of it myself. However, I think that it is important to warn you against people who take extreme positions on difficult and complex issues. Often their positions are based on emotion and misconception rather than on a careful consideration of the evidence.
What follows is an annotated list of links that, collectively, represent a wide range of positions on animal research:
American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals.
National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS). A society that “is dedicated to ending the exploitation of animals used in science.”
Understanding Animal Research. A society whose goal is to “to achieve broad understanding and acceptance of the humane use of animals in biomedical research in the UK, to advance science and medicine.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA’s website for information related to animal experimentation.
Animal Research for Life. A website website that aims to provide up to date real life examples of research outcomes, 3Rs measures (i.e., Reduce, Refine, Replace) and progress on the legislative initiatives.
Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME). A group whose major aim is to eliminate the need for animals in any kind of medical or scientific procedure by finding suitable replacements.
Centers for Animals and Social Justice. A large U.K.-based think tank, founded by leading academics and animal advocates, which “heralds a unique and innovative approach to advancing animal protection.”
Mouse pain study stirs debate. Coverage (by a reporter for Nature News) of a 2010 mouse pain study that caused a lot of arguments.