Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



My recent book entitled The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments seeks to answer a key question within animal ethics, namely: is animal experimentation ethically justifiable? Or, more precisely, is it justifiable within the utilitarian cost:benefit framework that fundamentally underpins most regulations governing animal experimentation? To answer this question I reviewed more than 500 scientific publications describing animal studies, animal welfare impacts, and alternative research, toxicity testing and educational methodologies. To minimise bias I focused primarily on large-scale systematic reviews that had examined the human clinical and toxicological utility of animal studies. Despite this, Dr. Susanne Prankel recently reviewed my book in this journal, essentially accusing me of bias. However, she failed to provide any substantive evidence to refute my conclusions, let alone evidence of similar weight to that on which they are based. Those conclusions are, in fact, firmly based on utilitarian ethical reasoning, informed by scientific evidence of considerable strength, and I believe they are robust.