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A Zoopolean look at animal research ethics

By Andrew T. Fenton

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I will discuss how animal laboratory research can be ethically analyzed using Donaldson and Kymlicka’s political theory of animal rights. To accomplish this, I will not presuppose their strong animal rights framework. Donaldson and Kymlicka’s approach revolves around some basic human-animal relationships, reflecting the relational turn in applied ethics writ large. However, they do not discuss laboratory animal research in any detail, and so an extension to that domain of animal use is in order. Donaldson and Kymlicka’s emphasis on human-animal relationships is useful for reminding ourselves that in laboratories various staff or personnel can develop bonds with captive animals that make it difficult to follow certain protocols as well as create a deep and lasting negative impression. Though, when suitably modified, Donaldson and Kymlicka’s political theory can apply to animal research ethics, it can only do so though if we ask more from all members of our society.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2020
Publication Title Between the Species
Volume 23
Issue 1
Pages 131-154
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Ethics
  3. Human-animal relationships
  4. open access
  1. open access