One well-known example is the recently deceased primate head transplantation researcher (and one-time bioscience advisor to the Pope) Robert J. White, who wrote: “Animal usage is not a moral or ethical issue, and elevating the problem of animal rights to such a plane is a disservice to medical research and the farm and dairy industry.” (Hastings Center Report, 1990, Vol. 20, November-December, p 43.)
And then there is Stuart W.G. Derbyshire:
Those of us who research on animals or support that research have made a moral choice to put humans first. We should behave and argue with a conviction that is worthy of the choice. Animal experimentation is a positive activity that advances our appreciation of nature and disease, and defending animal research should be part of a moral campaign that celebrates human knowledge and understanding. Simultaneously advocating animal research while trying to apologize and introduce alternatives is a poor defense of animal experimentation. Successful promotion of animal research can only begin when we withdraw support for the three Rs. "Time to Abandon the Three Rs." The Scientist-Magazine of the Life Sciences. 2006.And also from Derbyshire, this gem -- that seems to me to characterize an unspoken widely-held position of those within the industry (based on their actions):
In contrast to ourselves, animal behaviour is mechanical, driven by the dictates of nature and immune to the processes of reflective cognition that we take for granted. And it is a black, silent existence that is not conscious of its own processes. All their mental experience, if they have any at all, is diminished relative to ours and this includes all sensations including vision, hearing – and feeling pain. “Animal Experimentation.” Edinburgh Book Festival. 2002.The passages below are all from Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Biomedical Research. Ellen Frankel Paul and Jeffrey Paul, Editors. 2001. While these passages are not as stark as White’s assertion, they do I think suggest strongly that the industry is well populated by those who do not believe that animals warrant much sympathy or moral concern.
Adrian R. Morrison writes: “Human beings stand apart in a moral sense from all other species ...”. (p 51.) To him, there does not appear to be a continuum; it's apples and ... hum, clouds?
Stuart Zola, currently the director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, argues that any use of animals is warranted as long as the experimental design is “good science.” He worries that any other criteria will necessarily be too limiting:
Another way to preserve research possibilities is to reconsider what is meant by “benefits.” For example, one could hold the moral position that while possible benefits to humans and animals are important, the advancement of scientific knowledge is itself a benefit as well. On the surface, this position appears to run the risk of justifying almost any research project. In reality, however, this is countered by the underlying assumption that a permissible project must be based on good science, that is, science that has been peer-reviewed and found to be of acceptable quality. With that caveat in mind, treating scientific knowledge itself as a benefit would seem to be reasonable for a variety of perspectives. .... Therefore, it might not be reasonable to preclude the possibility of carrying out a study simply because it has no obvious immediate relevance, either potential or real. (pp 85-86.)Jerald Tannenbaum, Professor of Veterinary Science at UC-Davis, characterizes the “traditional approach” to morality and ethics in the lab:
British cancer researcher Harold Hewitt provides a succinct expression of the traditionalist approach. “My concern,” he states,Baruch A. Brady, Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine, writes:is really not with the number of animals [used in an experiment], in the sense that I should be more upset by having caused one animal to suffer by my neglect or ineptitude than I should be by administering euthanasia to fifty at the terminatiuon of an experiment in which none had been caused suffering. The question the prospective animal experimenter has to ask himself is whether he considers that the painless taking of an animal is itself an immoral act. For me it is not. (p 96.)
What sort of greater significance are human interests given over animal interests in the U.S regulations?Charles S. Nicoll and Sharon M. Russell, vivisectors associated with UC Berkeley, write:
In fact, this question is never directly addressed. This stands in sharp contrast to the U.S. regulations on human subjects in research. These regulations require the minimization of risks, but they also require that the minimized risks be “ reasonable in relation to anticipated benefits, if any, to subjects, and the importance of the knowledge that may reasonably be expected to result.” Nothing like these strictures occurs in the U.S. principles and regulations governing animal research.
Something else can be inferred from the wording of the U.S. principles on animal research. Discomfort, distress, or pain of the animals should be minimized “when consistent with sound scientific practices.” The number of animals used should be minimized to “the number required to obtain valid results.” Unrelieved pain necessary to conduct the research is acceptable so long as the animal is euthanized after or during the procedure. What this amounts to in the end is that whatever is required for the research is morally acceptable. ... There is never the suggestion that the suffering of an animal might be so great – even when it is minimized as much as possible while still maintaining scientific validity – that the suffering might outweigh the benefits of the research. Even when these benefits are modest, the U.S. principles never morally require the abandonment of a research project. (pp 134 – 135)
... All European regulations assume that animal interests in avoiding the harmful consequences of being in a research project have enough moral significance – in comparison to human interests in conducting the research – that in some cases the proposed research is ethically unacceptable. All involve a balancing of animal interests against human interests in a way that allows the protection of animal interests to be given priority in some cases. In this way, they all reject the American pro-research position, in which human interests seem to have priority in all cases. (p 136)
From an evolutionary perspective, attempts to find moral justification for the use of animals on the basis of our “moral superiority” or otherwise are unnecessary, and the arguments against such justifications are nonsensical. (p. 167)H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Professor of Medicine at Baylor School of Medicine, who says that his opinion about animals comes from God’s covenant with Noah, writes:
[H]uman moral experience is not simply richer than that of animals: all of moral experience is placed within human culture. Thus, the significance of animals (and of their pains, pleasures, and experiences) can only be understood in the context of human concerns. (p 177)
As long as a project that involves animal suffering is not directed simply at harming animals, it will not involve malevolence. A hunter who acknowledges that the significance of animals is primarily achieved in their contribution to the delight and experience of humans acts benevolently when savoring not just the chase, but the kill. One can also recognize an important difference in kind between a bull dying at the hands of a matador and the ways one might leave various animals to die or be killed .... (p 187)
From these passages, coupled with the actual practices, it doesn't seem inaccurate to characterize the beliefs of those within the industry as not caring very much about the animals' experiences, or to claim that those in the industry and its supporters feel that animals do not warrant much moral concern from us.