Discussing Animal Rights And Animal Research In The Classroom Article Review

Published: 2021-07-07 01:55:04
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Harold A. Herzog
Research Question or Problem
Is the use of animals in biomedical and behavioral research unethical?
The ‘introduction section’ of this article gives a thorough and relevant review of literature. It gives the reader an idea about different philosophies concerning animal rights and experimentation. It also identifies the population using animals for research and leaves answered questions for the research and endeavor on this topic. A total of twelve references have been cited in the introduction and a few (such as Singer, 1975) appear at several places.
Ethical treatment of animals has been raised as an issue since the last quarter of the twentieth century. Human use of animals, sport hunting, rodeos, and consumption of flesh & wearing of furs has been thoroughly criticized by the animal rights’ activists. Similarly the use of animals in behavioral and biomedical research faced severe criticism. The discussion of the animal rights is important for the students of psychology because they should be aware of the social and political issues related to their subject. At the same time, this discussion helps the students to understand and appreciate the fundamental differences between human beings and animals (Regan, 1983). There are two difference advocacies against the animal experimentation. The first is the ‘utilitarian argument’ that equalizes all the living creatures and declines the human supremacy over the so-called lower beings (Singer, 1975). The second ‘rights argument’ emphasizes on the fundamental rights of all sentinel beings and is based on the ‘respect principle’ for all creatures (Regan 1983; Regan 1985). The present article involved the psychology students to critically evaluate the animal ethics issues and make decisions about the type and extent of animal experimentation in psychology, biology and medicine.
The ‘methods section’ of this article is detailed enough to permit another researcher to attempt to replicate the study. The population studied in the present research was of students who role-played as the members of Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) of their own institution. The study group included 150 students of five different classes. There was no particular ‘selection criteria’ because it was a class participation exercise. Since, it was a qualitative study involving students, no instruments and data analysis techniques were used.
The students of all classes were divided into the groups of 5 to 7 and were given four research proposals involving animal experimentation. The students were then asked to evaluate each of the proposals critically and assess the need of animals in the research proposal. Students were instructed to either allow or deny the research to be conducted in their institution and not to make any remarks on technical aspects of the proposal (Herzog, 1990).
The ‘results section’ of this article presented the students’ reaction after the role-play exercise. The raw data was collected from the students in the form of anonymous evaluation papers. Since it was a qualitative study, the raw data was not further processed or statistically analyzed. No tables or graphs were presented in the results.
The exercise in the present study was designed to increase the discussion on the controversial topic of animal experimentation in science. This study is expected to change the attitudes of students, teachers and researchers and make them more familiar with the both sides of the issue. The light emerging from the debate may help them make ethical and moral decisions. Under the heading ‘Notes to the instructor’ the author discusses some changes/modifications that can be done in the protocol to tailor the methodology to the needs of particular topics or courses. This section gives the reader further insights into animal experimentation (Herzog, 1990).
This article was published in the year 1990 and the author has used the references published between the years 1973 and 1988. Therefore we can say that the references were timely and update. All the references were related to animal experimentation, animal welfare, animal rights and the like. All the references in the bibliography list have been cited in the text of the article; a few have been used several times. The references were taken from both the scholarly journals as well as books. A uniform pattern was followed for the in-text citations and the bibliography section. I noted that the style of writing a journal article reference was different from that of a book. Overall, the reference section of the article shows the credibility and authenticity of the article and study presented.
Personal Reaction(s)
There are two distinct reactions that I noted within myself while reading (studying) this article. The first was related to the content of the article i.e. animal experimentation and the second was pertaining to the experience of ‘reading a journal article’. I must admit that this assignment made me ‘dissect’ the research article and understand the minute details of the organization & format of an article and APA style. Though we were familiar with the APA style guide, we do not pay much attention to it when we read an article. Overall, this article was well-written and organized into different sections. Through this reading, I understood that each of the sections of a journal article has a distinct role to play.
Regarding the knowledge I gained through this article, I would say that I was quite aware of the animal ethics and issues associated with animal experimentation. However, I never realized that it was such a sensitive issue. This article has transformed me into a well-informed psychology student capable of making right decisions in cases involving animal experimentation.
Herzog, Harold A. 1990. Discussing animal rights and animal research in the classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 17, 2, 90-94, doi 10.1207/s15328023top1702_3.
Regan, T. 1983. The case of animal rights. Berkeley: University of California.
Regan, T. 1985. The case of animal rights. In P. Singer (Ed.), In defense of animals (pp. 13-26). Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.
Singer, P. 1975. Animal liberation. New York: Avon.

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