I came to this conclusion after looking into the recent Humane Society complaints with regard to the treatment of research animals here at Georgia Regents University. Treating our living research subjects as nonhuman persons is not just the ethical course of action, it is a step that could vastly improve the quality of the scientific and medical research produced. Treatment of animals should mirror how we would treat humans so that the findings discovered are most relevant.
Animal research subjects serve the purpose of modeling new treatments and procedures, the model with research animals should be directly transferable to human trials. In a human trial, you would encourage the subjects to live normal lives so as to eliminate confounding variables related to being sedentary. So, why in animal trials would we keep our living research subjects in cramped cages, forcing a sedentary lifestyle onto the animals?
How do the sores that these unfortunate animals get as a result of the wire cage bottoms impact the treatments and procedures? The suffering of animals is bad for science.
When a human is undergoing a medical treatment plan, there is always an underlying objective to minimize suffering, and for good reason: suffering directly equates to changes in the plan.
If a human gets sores, those sores must be treated or the possibility of infection becomes too great and the infection could have a powerfully negative impact. If an animal gets sores, how do we know that the treatment plan they received would be valid for a healthy animal that was not suffering? When animals suffer, the scientific results suffer as well.
The benefits of healthy diet and exercise are constantly bombarded onto the general population by the scientific and medical communities; moreover, nutritious diets and exercise have become part of medical treatment plans.
Results derived from animals that are not given ample opportunity to exercise or feed healthy diets are skewed and much less useful. If we treated our animal research subjects with kindness, we would be producing much more relevant (aka significantly better) results.
Patrick Dale Moorehead, Harlem