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Student's Full Name: Professor's Name: PHIL 130 (A response paper to a biomedical ethics issue) 24 October 2012 (estimated word count = 1,009) Introduction The scientific studies conducted on animals to obtain crucial data has always raised important and critical moral issues…
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Download file to see previous pages Moreau, the classic science fiction novel by famed author Herbert George Wells in which animals and humans were grafted into each other in various combinations, producing instead a distinct class of sub-humans. Anything that is considered as cruel, unusual or painful experimentation on animals is now prohibited due to the adoption of these ethical standards as a safeguard against unauthorized experiments. Moral ethics has been around for quite some time; the issues related to it had been discussed in great detail by the ancient Greek philosophers. Ethics today has entered into many areas of human endeavors, such as its increasing adoption by global businesses in the form of corporate social responsibility that has tempered the search for profits under capitalist free markets. Giant strides in medical technologies only fairly recently presented a new set of moral dilemmas, for which people are sometimes not too prepared to deal with, issues like euthanasia, abortion, organ donations, brain death, palliative medicine and the surrogate pregnancy trend in which more women are now willing to rent out their wombs for a fee. In this regard, this paper examines the biomedical issues related to whether animals also have the same rights as people and the propriety of continuing conducting experiments on animals. Discussion In his well-argued article entitled “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research” and published in The New England Journal of Medicine back in 1986, Carl Cohen claims that animal experiments should continue because the arguments against them, that the animals have rights which are being violated and all sentient creatures must not suffer pain or any kind of unnecessary or avoidable suffering, are both wrong from a moral perspective. His succinct explanations debunked the two arguments put forward by animal rights advocates on the basis of animals having no rights at all because they have no moral capacity to make any choices or give consent, and secondly, the animals “are not capable of grasping the generality of an ethical premise in a practical syllogism” and it is only humans who can think at a highly abstract level (Cohen 96). With this in mind, he therefore strongly argues in favor of animal experiments for the benefit of science and mankind, in the hope that these experiments will be able to provide benefits for patients with new drug discoveries as well as also sparing humans from being used in biomedical research studies as the subjects themselves, in lieu of animals. A close analysis will show that Prof. Cohen leans towards utilitarianism as his justification. I do not agree nor accept the stance of Prof. Carl Cohen that animals have no rights. The argument he used is that of speciesism, which he did not equate with racism or sexism as it is something entirely different altogether. What he is doing is bordering on casuistry (or hair splitting) and he is likewise equally guilty of the same accusations he had leveled against his critics, mainly that of “drawing an offensive moral conclusion from a deliberately devised verbal parallelism that is utterly specious.” Cohen argued that animal species are not the same and therefore do not have the same rights in an equal measure, but rather that Peter Singer is grossly mistaken to formulate and defend his “principle of equal consideration of interests” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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