Ethical issues in research using animals:

You need to know about the ethical issues involved in animal research and be able to give ethical reasons for and against the use of non-human animals.

You need to know about the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986) and Home Office regulations which govern the use of animals in research.

This is all covered in the following PowerPoint which also looks at scientific and practical issues relating to animal research. You could also be asked about practical reasons for and against the use of animals in psychological research:

animal ethics bps: My PowerPoint on animal research in psychology.

Activity: This image sheet contains photos of various different animals which are mentioned in the chapters on animal experimentation; do some further reading from your textbooks, Gross, and “Themes issues and debates” to find out more about how these animals link to the debate. You can then cut out the images and use them in your notes: animal research image sheet

Useful Concepts

  • Evolutionary Continuity
  • The 3 Rs (replace, reduce, refine)
  • Bateson’s Decision-Making Cube
  • Speciesism
  • People with views on this topic! Gray, Singer, Regan

Further Reading

Against the current use of animal testing. The site is about medical research rather than psychological but the arguments are still relevant as the two clearly cross-over:

Fascinating must-know finding relating to the gender of the researcher; will create an awesome competing argument against the validity of animal research 🙂

Choosing which animal to use with care due to behavioural differences; rats and mice and autism research;

Practice Questions

  1. Animal studies are often used in the Learning Approach. Evaluate the use of animals in psychological studies in terms of the ethical issues. (4)
  2. To what extent are animals experiments justifiable as a means of understanding human behaviour. You should relate to both practical and ethical issues in your answer.
  3. Evaluate practical issues relating to the use of animal experiments in psychology (8)
  4. Evaluate ethical issues relating to the use of animal experiments in psychology (8)