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August 08, 2023

Testing our ethics: Should we ban animal experiments?

S1 E7 38 MINS

Do you think it’s OK to sacrifice a mouse’s life to cure a disease? What if it were a monkey? A cow? Or a dog?

For a long time, research on animals has been a crucial component of scientific and medical innovation. Testing on animals has led to the development of the world’s first vaccine. And drugs used to combat cancer, malaria and HIV/AIDS and many other illnesses would not have been possible without animal research. But today, with all of our technological advancements, is animal testing necessary—or unnecessarily cruel?

Dr. Katherine Roe, Chief of the Science Advancement and Outreach division at PETA, argues that not only is animal testing cruel, but she contends that the significant species differences between humans and other animals limit the usefulness of animal research. Instead, Dr. Roe says that we should be investing more time and money into alternatives to animal testing, like computer modeling, non-invasive diagnostic imaging, stem cell research, and more human-centric clinical research. On the other side is Dr. Juan Carlos G. Marvizón, a retired UCLA neuroscientist who spent his career researching the causes and cures of chronic pain. He argues that animals are a valuable—and for now, irreplaceable—part of the scientific process and says that animal research not only helps save lives and lead to huge scientific breakthroughs—like the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine—but it also helps us better understand humanity and the world. Listen to the Doha Debates Podcast as these two scientists debate the ethics of animal testing.

Doha Debates Podcast is a production of Doha Debates and FP Studios. This episode is hosted by Mariya Karimjee.

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