Why are animals used in research?

Animals are used in 7-8% of psychological experiments, and 95% of the animals used are rodents.

Animals are used in psychological studies because:

  • they provide a simpler model for studying processes that operate similarly in humans
  • researchers can exercise far more control over animal subjects than in humans and thus be more sure about the conclusions
  • a wider range of medical and other manipulations can be used with animals
  • it is easier to study the entire life span or even multiple generations in some animal species
  • animals are more economical to use
  • more available to researchers
  • some researchers simply want to learn more about he animals themselves

Animal research has given us a lot of knowledge in the areas of learning, motivation, stress, memory, and the effect on the unborn of various drugs ingested during pregnancy.

Virtually all of the marvels of modern medicine are due at least in part to experimentation using animals.

The APA (American Psychological Association) has always supported the use of animals in research, and its code of ethics supports the humane treatment of animals. The associations guidelines governing animal research say that researchers must do everything possible to minimize discomfort, pain, and illness in animal subjects.

Much controversy surrounds the use of animals in research. Many animal rights advocates want all animal research stopped immediately. Laboratories have been broken into, lab animals freed, records destroyed, and equipment and other property destroyed in the name of animal rights.

Books on animal rights often devote close to three quarters of themselves to stopping animal research.

Approximately 80% of APA members support animal research.

The number of animals used in research is decreasing. The animal rights controversy has served to increase concern for the treatment of animals as research subjects and has stimulated a search for alternative methods of research that will further decrease the numbers of animals needed.

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