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Ethical Treatment of Animals

Different members of our society hold widely diverging views about the relative value of animals compared to humans. These views may be held on moralistic, emotional or practical grounds. A majority of people value the emotional and practical aspects of using animals to benefit humans. These uses include food, clothing, companionship, work, sport, and the investigation of the basic processes of life, disease and death. People also recognize that any of these uses may cause pain or distress to animals, and feel that humans have a moral obligation to minimize the consequences of their activities. Thus, the humane care and use of animals used for research, testing and training is considered a moral obligation.

There are also scientific reasons why animals used for research should be treated humanely. Pain and stress can drastically alter the physiologic state of animals. Distress results when animals are no longer able to adapt to changes in their environment or physiological condition and display maladaptive or abnormal responses. These responses are not predictable and thus represent an uncontrolled experimental variable. Numerous studies have shown that prevention of pain or distress results in improved experimental results. Simply said, good animal care and use is good science.

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