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Animal Research

2. Is Animal Research Ethical?

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In the second mini-lecture, we move on from contextualising UK animal research by moving onto the ethical controversies that animal research creates, as well as how public opinion has responded and affected legislation. We examine some of the protests carried out in the early 2000s, including more extreme approaches that targeted current and former employees of biomedical facilities. While some of these protests may have been a step too far, we learn how and why this eventually introduced new concordats on animal research to combat the information void between the scientific world and the public body. To finish off, we begin to understand the complexity of the ethics of animal research by looking at some famous thinkers in the field, including Jeremy Bentham, Andrew Garner and Tom Regan.


In this lecture, Dr Chris Willmott (University of Leicester) introduces the use of animals in scientific research. To do so, we begin by: (i) contextualising animal research in the UK, analysing the species used and regulated, and the number of different species and animals of each species used; before (ii) looking at the ethical theories that govern opinion on animal research, including how public opinion on it has shifted, but also how itself has affected legislation in the UK; and then (iii) learning about the three ‘R’s of animal research; then (iv) continuing to understand the nuance of opinion by looking at the use of model organisms such as zebrafish; before finally (v) understanding the use of invertebrates in research.


Dr Chris Willmott is an academic and author based in the UK. He has particular interests in: bioethics, pedagogy (including the development of innovative teaching activities and "authentic assessment"), the use of broadcast media and other audiovisual resources in education, and antibiotic resistance

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APA style

Willmott, C. (2022, August 30). Animal Research - Is Animal Research Ethical? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Willmott, C. "Animal Research – Is Animal Research Ethical?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Aug 2022,

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