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The use of non-human animals (hereinafter referred to as animals) in research and testing is a widely accepted practice in many industries. Millions of animals each year are subjected to painful procedures that include everything from physical mutilation to drug addiction. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (usda), over 820,812 animals were experimented on in the United States in 2016 (usda, 2017), though this count does not include rats, mice, or birds, and dubiously relies solely on the self-reporting of laboratories (Humane Society of the United States, 2011; Keen, 2019, Chapter 10 in this Volume). Estimates suggest that a more accurate count – one that includes rats, mice, and birds – brings the number closer to 25 million total animals used in the United States (Humane Society of the United States, 2013). These numbers raise many questions, not least of which is whether this practice is prima facie immoral. But this is not the broader question that I address in this chapter. Instead, I look at the continued use of animals for experiments from the point of view of business ethics, in particular, through the lens of stakeholder theory. Specifically, I argue that animals as research subjects are stakeholders in the corporations that practice animal experimentation, and this status demands that their interests be considered with the interests of other stakeholders.


open access book chapter