The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Animal Experimentation is Morally Justifiable

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 907 times Debate No: 74837
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




The practice of Animal Experimentation has always been generating concern from the Animal Rights communities worldwide. I wanted to instigate this debate to discuss this topic in a more civilized manner.


Animal Experimentation - the use of non-human animals in research and development projects, esp. for purposes of determining the safety of substances such as foods or drugs.
Moral - of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical.
Justifiable - capable of being justified; that can be shown to be or can be defended as being just, right, or warranted; defensible.

All definitions were taken from


Burden of Proof is shared between both sides. I, as a Pro, will be arguing that Animal Experimentation is morally justifiable. Con will be arguing that Animal Experimentation is not justifiable.


Basically, common sense applies here. Do not engage in personal attacks or trolling. Also if you find something wrong with the debate or have any issues with the definitions, please post your concerns in the comments section before accepting the debate. Do not accept the debate if you disagree with the wording of the topic or the definitions. No kritiks and semantics.


Round 1: Acceptance only.
Round 2: Pro's Case; Con's Case.
Round 3: Pro's Rebuttals; Con's Rebuttals.
Round 4: Pro's Rebuttals and Conclusion; Con's Rebuttals and Conclusion.


Hello! This is my first debate and I look forward to debating you! I would like to clear up some things. First animal experimentation encompasses a wide variety of phenomena, and I would be happy to debate any. Are we talking about strictly medical purposes, testing in general (ie cosmetics, etc.), or literally any instance in which a human experiments on an animal (ie a child burning ants with magnifying glass). Second the wording of the topic is unclear is to whether we are arguing animal experimentation as a whole is justifiable, or whether certain instances can be justified ( I assume we are talking about the present, not the past.)
Debate Round No. 1


Greetings to Con! I thank you for accepting this debate. As you have said that you are new to this site, I wish you a good stay here. Hopefully, this debate will be interesting, and I hope that you will have many more of these. Let's begin with the debate and good luck!


First of all, as per the Rules that I have written in Round 1, I have clearly said that I would like any issues regarding the definitions and wording to be discussed in the comments section before acceptance of the debate. Since you have not done so, I will assume that you accept the definitions and wording as they are. So, in order to answer your questions, I can only reiterate what I have said before.

"Are we talking about strictly medical purposes, testing in general (ie cosmetics, etc.), or literally any instance in which a human experiments on an animal (ie a child burning ants with magnifying glass)."

The definition of animal experimentation that I have supplied reads as follows: "Animal Experimentation - the use of non-human animals in research and development projects, esp. for purposes of determining the safety of substances such as foods or drugs."

I've underlined the parts which are relevant to your question. As you can see, we will have to discuss animal experimentation in the fields of science, medicine and food industry, focusing on the use of animals in determining the safety of substances. This should be the primary focus of the debate. I guess we can allow for some slight detours from that, but I will certainly not be defending all cases where animals are used, for instance, in cosmetics; nor will I be defending the cases where children are burning ants with magnifying glass. This is certainly not what I had in mind while initiating the debate, and my arguments will not be focusing on such cases, as those are not covered by the definition.

"Second the wording of the topic is unclear is to whether we are arguing animal experimentation as a whole is justifiable, or whether certain instances can be justified ( I assume we are talking about the present, not the past.)"

As is the case with a lot of similar debates, we will be arguing on whether animal experimentation is morally justifiable on balance, that is, whether it is justifiable or not taking everything into account. There might certainly be some specific cases where animal experimentation is morally justifiable, and I also expect you to produce cases where animal experimentation is not morally justifiable. What each of us will have to basically try to show here is that there are more cases to support each of our positions, and less cases to support the opposing position. After the debate, voters will have to judge which position is stronger, and which cases and arguments have a bigger impact on the Animal Experimentation issue as a whole.

And to answer the second part of your question, indeed we will be talking about the present. That is, we will be talking about the forms of animal experimentation which are currently widespread, and we will take into account the current situation and circumstances. It will not be productive to talk about the past, neither will it be productive to talk about the future, although, if necessary we might refer to it when discussing possible changes in policies regarding Animal Rights.

As the debate is not just about the cases of animal experimentation, but also about what should be considered as "morally justifiable", we are also encouraged to discuss human-animal morality and rights in general. We might not necessarily have similar views on that, so we should each try to convince our voters on why each of our positions is better than the opposing position.

For any further definitions, if required, let's agree to use common dictionaries and common definitions, considering the context as well. We must not use obscure definitions from suspicious sources in order to derail the debate from its original course.

Without further ado, let's get going with the arguments, following the Structure of the debate. I will post my argument now, and you should post yours after mine. Then we will move onto rebuttals later in the debate.

1. Animal Experimentation increases our knowledge.

This is fairly obvious. We have always used animals as an object for pure research, in order to find out how cells, tissues, organs, organisms and life functions in general. For instance, by doing genetic analysis on animals, we have made clear progress in such fields as embryogenesis and developmental biology. [1][2]

I would argue that such knowledge is invaluable to our academic progress, which in various ways helps enhance the health and well-being of our society. Without live animals, such progress would be impossible, as there is simply no substitute for animal experimentation, at least not with our current technology.

Taking into account the benefits that such knowledge has on our society, I would argue that continuing such practice is the only morally good and just choice, because we, as a human species, should seek to increase the well-being of our civilization. Depriving the academia of the possibility to experiment on animals would not allow us to use every opportunity to create benefit for the society. Therefore, I would argue that banning animal experimentation in such cases would be morally unjust and bad.

2. Animal Experimentation leads to drug discoveries.

While this might be considered as a part of my first argument, I really wanted to emphasize the medical aspect and benefit of animal experimentation. The thing is simple - we have discovered new drugs due to animal experimentation, which directly save human lives. We can use animals as models to find new ways to combat difficult diseases, such as Huntington's [3] or Parkinson's [4] Disease.

Using the same thought process as earlier, I find the use of animal experimentation in such cases especially necessary to our society, and I would consider this procedure as morally just and good. Again, preventing the use of animals would create obstacles in the field of medicine. I believe that giving ourselves such a disadvantage would be morally bad and unjust.

3. Animal Experimentation keeps Humans safe.

An important point of animal experimentation is toxicology testing. This is especially relevant to the fields of medicine and food industry. As we create and discover new substances, drugs and foodstuffs, it is necessary to know their potential side-effects before using such substances on humans. An example of such tests include the LD50 test, [5] among others.

Since it would be ridiculous to do such testing on live humans, I would argue that toxicology testing on other animals is the only rational choice. It is also a morally good choice, because it benefits our society, it allows us to start using new drugs and produce new and enhanced foods. This all benefits us considerably, it saves lives, and banning such practices would significantly impact the development of food and drug industries, and it could be detrimental to our war against diseases and food shortage. Thus, banning animal experimentation would be unjust and immoral.

4. All else being equal, Humans are more important than other animals.

I have discussed a lot of practical benefits that come with animal experimentation, but I also want to substantiate the implicit assumption that if one had a choice, it would be moral to sacrifice animal lives and well-being for human lives and well being, which is exactly what animal experimentation does.

A very good point has been made by Tom Regan, an animal rights philosopher. He argued that if one had a choice between harming a normal and healthy human, and an animal, it would always be moral to harm the animal instead of the human. The rationale here is simple. As Regan said in his book "The Case for Animal Rights", if one ends an animal life, the loss of opportunities will be few, compared to the loss of opportunities if one ended the life of a human. [6] In essence, the death of a human would bring more harm than the death of an animal. Therefore, all else being equal, it would be moral to sacrifice an animal life for human life.

Animal welfarists also often refer to the principles of utilitarianism and Kantianism, when talking about animal rights. As Robert Nozick observed, it would be moral to make sure that all living beings experience maximum happiness, but noted that this should be overridden by the utilitarianism position if required: "animals may be used or sacrificed for the benefit of other people or animals only if those benefits are greater than the loss inflicted" [7] In essence, this is what I would base my moral argument on. If necessary, I will be prepared to defend the utilitarianist view.


This concludes my primary arguments. I will defend them and expand on them later in the debate if needed.

On a final note, I would like to point out that I do not promote and do not accept unnecessary animal cruelty. Current animal experimentation is very carefully regulated, and the ethics boards ensure that no unnecessary harm is done to animals. The regulations are very strict across the world. For instance, many countries have began banning experimentation on chimpanzees. [8] Therefore, animal rights activists can at least take some consolation on the fact that no animal life will be wasted unnecessarily, and that with more time we will find ways to use alternatives to animal experimentation.

Now, back to Con. Good luck!




mapleleaf173 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has, unfortunately, forfeited the 2nd Round. This means that he has still not produced a case. He must provide it in the 3rd Round, otherwise it will be impossible for him to satisfy his Burden of Proof. I am also extending my arguments.


mapleleaf173 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent has forfeited twice in this debate. This is impossible for him to recover from, as he has not produced any arguments, nor rebutted my case. He cannot use the 4th Round for arguments, as I would be unable to rebut those.

Vote Pro.


mapleleaf173 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 103qgea-3_ahhsa 3 years ago
this should be illegal!
Posted by FaustianJustice 3 years ago
I will drop in on this over the course of the week, if its not picked up, I will be happy to don the mantle. I would prefer not to take a debate as my schedule of the next few days is not permissive, and the amount of research I would like to bring to the table on this, but will do so if it draws out as this is really to tempting to let die.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Dookieman 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture by Con.