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Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals

An experiment can be defined as an operation to discover something unknown. In bio-medicine, experimentation on human subjects or animals uses human beings or animals as laboratory specimens to make discoveries. Different people or scholars have tried to endorse the moral justification of the operation while others refute it. This has debate led to the implementation of laws governing medical research on human subjects and animals. Nevertheless, different scholars have tried to develop their arguments on this subject.

Some researchers assert that human and animal experimentation is an essential activity in medicine that contributes to building knowledge to promote the health or well-being of human beings and animals. On the other hand, those who critique this statement fight for the rights of human beings and animals by saying that the end does not justify the means; thus, the well-being of other animals or human beings does not justify the use of human beings as a laboratory specimen.

Moral Critiques

For the case of human beings, there are guiding principles of beneficence and respect for human beings. This means that human beings can be used in research if the moral worth is advocated. The use of human beings as a sacrifice for more excellent benefits should be discouraged to show the moral worth of a human being. This involves using human beings as “research guinea pigs,” thus using human beings like animals in experimentation. Moral objections on this topic state that animals are as unique as human beings and should be treated the same way as humans when used in research. If human beings are not morally justified in performing a given experiment on human subjects, then the same should also apply in the case of animals.

Singer states that some organisms require moral consideration while others do not. For example, bacteria are not considered to bear ethical considerations. He clarifies that animals cannot communicate as human beings do does not mean that they do not suffer when inflicted with pain. He cites Bentham’s example of enslaved Black people, which defends the moral status of the black people despite their skin color. Therefore, it is clear that it is the moral obligation of human beings to prevent the suffering of human beings because it is not a matter of whether animal reasons but the fact that the animals suffer.

Most people tend to side with the fact that animal suffering can be morally justified to contribute to fundamental causes such as improving human health and initiating the well-being of human beings. They defend their justification by asserting that animals have moral worth, but human beings have a greater honest price than them. Therefore, human beings are supposed to consider animal moral worth in treating other animals but not human beings because human beings’ moral value cannot be compared to that of the animals. This is, however, unlike Singer’s perception that the exact weight of moral worthiness should apply to both human beings and animals. The idea of “Specialism” comes in since animals are not given the same considerations as humans, hence the bias. He equates this to racism or sexism by saying why racism or gender discrimination should be discouraged if species are discriminated against?

However, Singer does not discourage experimentation using worms, plankton, bacteria, and other lower species. This is because he refers to this species as lacking moral considerations. Singer is a Utilitarian; he clarifies that the experimentation of animals can be exercised for the common good of human beings with significant ethical concerns.

On the other side, people who tend to be against Singer’s argument on the moral justification of using human beings and animals in experiments support it. They criticize Singer’s argument by stating that human experiments can be done on people with severe brain damage. This is because Singer advocates euthanasia. They argue that Singer uses the term suffering wrongly to imply the feeling of pain. He should not use this term because time expresses pain, while some animals may not display these facial expressions or rational expressions.

The class of scholars who morally justify using human subjects and animals in experimentation argue that the act is fundamental in medical research but not to any animal or human beings. They assert that in the case of animals, some animals can be used in experiments, given that the use of anesthesia is applicable. This is to avoid torturing the animal by inflicting direct pain on its body. This has been happening since the discovery of anesthesia. Before its discovery, there were no laws protecting animals hence animals used to experience pain and torture. Nowadays, these laws safeguard the moral rights of an animal and have initiated the use of anesthesia in medical research that uses animals for experiments in the laboratory. They also advocate for research on dead animals whose death is natural. In the case of human beings, scholars advocate for euthanasia and eventual research, which is termed as illegal nowadays.

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Work Cited

"Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals." OctoStudy, 10 Mar. 2023, octostudy.com/experimentation-on-human-subjects-or-animals/.

1. OctoStudy. "Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals." March 10, 2023. https://octostudy.com/experimentation-on-human-subjects-or-animals/.


OctoStudy. "Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals." March 10, 2023. https://octostudy.com/experimentation-on-human-subjects-or-animals/.


OctoStudy. 2023. "Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals." March 10, 2023. https://octostudy.com/experimentation-on-human-subjects-or-animals/.


OctoStudy. (2023) 'Experimentation on Human Subjects or Animals'. 10 March.

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