This book review essay discusses Principles of Animal Research Ethics (2020), by Tom L. Beauchamp and David DeGrazia.
Animal research has long been a focus of social controversy and ethical debate. As Tom Beauchamp and David DeGrazia summarize in Principles of Animal Research Ethics, use of animal subjects incapable of consent, in ways that involve harming them for nontherapeutic purposes, would constitute “a paradigm of unethical research when human subjects are concerned” (p. 5). Yet such research is ongoing in biomedicine and other arenas primarily because of the prospect of human benefit. Presuming the moral value of animals, this form of research can be ethically justified only, if at all, under limited conditions. The premise of Beauchamp and DeGrazia’s work is to identify and present those necessary conditions through six principles organized according to two core themes: social benefit and animal welfare. The first three principles specify the conditions under which social benefit may ethically justify harmful uses of animals (pp. 6‐11), while the remaining three principles specify limitations on animal harming and needed protections for animals in a research setting (pp. 11‐18).