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Table 1 Responses to the ‘benefits’ arguments and counterarguments

From: The ethics of animal research: a survey of pediatric health care workers

Respondent group Is this a good enough reason to justify using animals in medical research? Do any of the following responses make it harder for someone to justify animal research using the argument [i.e. make the argument much less convincing]? Of those convinced by the argument: proportion who judged the counterargument to make the argument much less convincing
Yes No Yes No
Argument (A)/counterargument (CA)
A1. Animal experimentation benefits humans greatly.
Pediatrician 35/51 (69%) 16/51 (31%)    
Nurse/RT 35/73 (48%) 38/73 (52%)    
CA: If great human benefits justify using animals in medical research, this should also justify using humans in the same medical research.
Pediatrician    19/51 (37%) 32/51 (63%) 8/35 (23%)
Nurse/RT    37/71 (52%) 34/71 (48%) 15/34 (44%)
CA: If animals can experience pain and suffering, it remains unclear why we morally may use them in experiments for human benefit.
Pediatrician    31/51 (61%) 20/51 (39%) 17/35 (49%)
Nurse/RT    51/71 (72%) 20/71 (28%) 20/34 (59%)
A2: Animal experimentation is necessary for human benefit.
Pediatrician 29/51 (57%) 22/51 (43%)    
Nurse/RT 31/69 (45%) 38/69 (55%)    
CA: More humans would benefit if the money spent on animal experiments was instead devoted to humanitarian aid (for example, in developing countries).
Pediatrician    24/50 (48%) 26/50 (52%) 10/26 (38%)
Nurse/RT    33/69 (48%) 36/69 (52%) 10/30 (33%)
CA: There are now alternative experimental methods that do not use animals and that allow science to advance.
Pediatrician    40/49 (82%) 9/49 (18%) 21/26 (81%)
Nurse/RT    62/68 (91%) 6/68 (9%) 26/30 (87%)
CA: It is unclear why the statement animal experimentation is necessary for human benefits justifies animal experiments, but the statement human experimentation is necessary for human benefits does not justify the same experiments on humans.
Pediatrician    24/49 (49%) 25/49 (51%) 5/26 (19%)
Nurse/RT    46/67 (69%) 21/67 (31%) 18/30 (60%)
A3: There are no alternatives to animal experimentation.
Pediatrician 24/48 (50%) 24/48 (50%)    
Nurse/RT 30/67 (45%) 37/67 (55%)    
CA: Researchers have not looked hard enough for alternatives to animal experimentation. For example, since using animals to test drugs has been required by law, researchers may have assumed that there is no other way.
Pediatrician    34/48 (71%) 14/48 (29%) 14/24 (58%)
Nurse/RT    50/65 (77%) 15/65 (23%) 21/28 (75%)
CA: If more effort was devoted to developing alternative research methods that do not use animals, animal experimentation may not be necessary anymore.
Pediatrician    36/48 (75%) 12/48 (25%) 14/24 (58%)
Nurse/RT    56/65 (86%) 9/65 (14%) 23/28 (82%)
A4: Humans naturally need to seek knowledge.
Pediatrician 2/46 (4%) 44/46 (96%)    
Nurse/RT 10/62 (16%) 52/62 (84%)    
CA: This can justify almost anything, including harmful experiments on humans against their will, in order to gain knowledge.
Pediatrician    35/47 (75%) 12/47 (26%) 1/2 (50%)
Nurse/RT    44/62 (71%) 18/62 (29%) 5/10 (50%)
CA: We have learned a great deal from earthquakes, fires and warfare; but, this does not justify recreating these things in order to gain more knowledge.
Pediatrician    33/47 (70%) 14/47 (30%) 1/2 (50%)
Nurse/RT    48/63 (76%) 15/63 (24%) 7/10 (70%)