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As the intersection of animal law and animal research becomes congested, it is appropriate to establish the scientific context in which laws regarding the use and care of research animals will operate. There are at least three components of this context that set the terms of the debate: ethics, science, and the legal status of animals. The following discussion will not address ethics; not because it isn’t important, but because it exists along a spectrum of objective and subjective positions that are often unassailable by argument and data. I can assure you as a former animal researcher that even in the most compassionate hands, animal research is cruel, sad, and deadly for animals. The pro-research ethics argument can only be that this research is a “necessary evil” for the advancement of science and medicine, and thus worth the cost in animal misery.


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