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Research on prisoners: an alternative to animal testing




Abbate, Cheryl Elizabeth, author
Rollin, Bernard E., advisor
Cafaro, Philip, 1962-, committee member
Hogan, Michael, committee member

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Members of the biomedical community justify biomedical research on sentient beings by depicting the benign results which are regarded as necessary for scientific and medical progress, which in turn is absolutely necessary for maintaining human health, well being, and life. Rather than take for granted that the burden of biomedical research should rest only on nonhuman animals, I will explore whether or not there is a more appropriate class of sentient beings that we should conduct our biomedical research on. I will argue, based on utilitarian principles, that if we can maximize overall happiness by conducting our research on a different group of beings, then we should opt to conduct our biomedical experiments on these beings. My central proposal is that our decision to experiment on nonhuman animals is not the best alternative available; rather, if we were to experiment on violent criminals, we would increase overall happiness. Since conducting biomedical research on this particular group of prisoners would fulfill the aims of retributive punishment, deter violent crime, and procure optimal scientific results, we would produce the maximal amount of benefits by experimenting on these transgressors. Thus when faced with the choice to experiment on either violent criminals or nonhuman animals, the morally commendable decision would be to perform research on violent criminals.


January 22, 2014: Due to patron request: D.Paschal, P.Burns and Graduate Dept decision to lock for 2 years from now then restrict to campus. ac.

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animal ethics
biomedical research
experimenting on prisoners


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