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Animal research benefits

Geoffrey Goodhill gjg at cogsci.ed.ac.uk
Tue May 31 08:13:37 EST 1994

Though most of my research is in computational neuroscience, I have
also done some experimental work (mouse visual system).  I have had a
number of conversations with "animal rightists" which have varied from
the absurd to the interesting. I strongly agree that much of what they
say is "propaganda based on misinformation / misconception" (as Dave
Featherstone said). However, I also feel there are some important
issues which the more sensible campaigners raise.

Though I don't think that a mouse's life is equivalent to a human
life, I don't think either that a mouse's life is "worthless": there
should be controls on what it is permissable to do to animals in the
name of science. The controls that exist vary a lot between different
countries.  I see no a priori reason to think that any country has now
got the "correct balance".  In my opinion, it's important that disgust
at the bad arguments and tactics of animal rightists doesn't obscure
careful and continuing consideration of the good arguments. Though I
didn't agree with much of it, I found the first two chapters of Peter
Singer's book "Animal Liberation" very useful for clarifying my

Geoff Goodhill

gjg at cns.ed.ac.uk

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