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    Thumbs up Research Ethics




    If allowed, should animal research be limited to research that investigates cures for terminal illnesses, or should they continue to be used in any Institutional Review Board (I.R.B.) approved research?

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Clearly everything should be done completely ethically and morally.

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    Re: Research Ethics

    In general, in my experience, IRBs have pretty good standards for ethical treatment of animal subjects these days. Obviously, though, if there's something going on which makes you queasy, you should at a minimum refuse to participate, and perhaps bring it to your IRB's attention to see if they can tighten their standards.

    Terminal vs. non-terminal seems like a pretty arbitrary standard; for instance, I'm currently working on wing development in Drosophila, which is unlikely to lead to any cures for fatal diseases but which may, one of these days, lead us to an understanding of limb development in humans which could be used for treatments for everything from birth defects to people losing their legs by trauma. I think it's hard to argue that this is a less worthy goal than developing better treatments for heart disease or cancer.

    The truth of the matter is, animal models are indispensable to our understanding of human biology, because, you know, we're animals. And we're subject to a whole host of diseases that don't actually kill us, but make our lives miserable enough that we might well wish we were dead. There's great promise in "in silico biology" and maybe one of these days we'll be to the point where we can dispense with live subject research entirely, but we're nowhere near there yet. In the meantime, curtailing promising lines of research seems to me to be one of the least ethical things we could do.
    Last edited by Daniel Dvorkin; 01-16-2012 at 01:22 PM. Reason: fixed typo

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Thank this is helpful.

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Other question?
    How is using animals for research any different than using animals for food?

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Humans can perfectly feed themselves without using animals for food,
    while (see above) "animal models are indispensable to our understanding
    of human biology".

    Kind regards

    K.

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Yeah, pretty much what Karabiner said. Now personally, I have no problem with eating animals for food -- although I certainly do have concerns about how many agricultural animals are kept -- but I think I'd feel pretty much the same way about research even if I were a vegetarian.

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    Re: Research Ethics

    I think the moral dispute occurs when animals are subjected to significant pain for purely cosmetic proceedures. Well and then there is the first Planet of the Apes movie (the Heston version) to consider....

    I think a more basic question is whether the research on animals is actually pertinant to human results. I am not convinced in many cases it is. In part because the animals vary from humans too much (birds can eat arsenic compounds we can not) and partially because of the way the tests are conducted. Most people don't eat their body weight in sugar a day or smoke nearly the concentration they subject animals to. So are the results real or the result of the way the test are done on the animals in use?

    Threats to internal and external validity would seem high to me.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
    Most people don't eat their body weight in sugar a day
    If you don't eat your body weight in sugar every day can you really call that living? Sounds like a sad existence to me...

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    Re: Research Ethics

    If they found out what percentage of body weight a rat needs to eat in sugar
    in order to be possibly killed (say, 1% mortality rate or something like that),
    that might be a relevant information. I would like to adjust my candy bar
    consumption on scientific grounds.

    Kind regards

    K.

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Sadly the hypothesis they are testing are a bit more mudane. Like if using certain types of artificial sweetners are safe. But there is an obvious substantive difference between taking some artificial sweetner and eating your body weight in it a day (which is what they did to the poor rat). Somehow that difference escaped the researchers in question.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dason View Post
    If you don't eat your body weight in sugar every day can you really call that living? Sounds like a sad existence to me...
    When you eat your body weight in sugar a day you can't escape a raptor looking to make a meal of you.... And you are a better meal. Just read the Time Machine by H G Wells.
    "Very few theories have been abandoned because they were found to be invalid on the basis of empirical evidence...." Spanos, 1995

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    Re: Research Ethics

    Maybe YOU can't if you've eaten that much sugar. But when you do it every day it just gives you energy! SOOOO MUCH ENERGY!!!!11!!!!111!

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    Re: Research Ethics


    Dason's energy level is OVER 9000!!!!!!!!
    “In God we trust. All others must bring data.”
    ~W. Edwards Deming

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