Animals have been used in medical research from as far back as 129-199 A.D. when Galen, a Greek medical scientist, used a pig for his experiments. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, anatomical dissections were carried out on animals; Galvani used frogs in 1791 for his experiments and the Russian physiologist, Pavlov, carried out his famous dog experiments in the early 1900s. Since this time, large numbers of animals have been used in biomedical and other research. In 1963 the first edition of "The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" was published, and the United States Public Health Service began to require all recipients of grants in which animals were used to adhere to these guidelines. There is now worldwide interest in welfare issues, and the ethics of using animals for research has been raised in many countries.
The study of ethics is the treating of moral questions and is concerned with right and wrong. There will always be differing opinions on the ethics of animal use which may raise dilemmas for workers. In a practical sense this has often been dealt with by drafting codes for the care and use of experimental animals. Adherence to a code, however, does not exclude the experimenter from actively considering ethical and welfare issues.
Three important issues in laboratory animal management are the ethics of using the animals for experimentation, the welfare of the animals being used, and the scientific validity of the selected species and number to be used.
Allan, D.J., & Blackshaw, J.K. (1986). Ethics, welfare, and laboratory animal management. In M.W. Fox & L.D. Mickley (Eds.), Advances in animal welfare science 1986/87 (pp. 1-8). Washington, DC: The Humane Society of the United States.