AR Philosophy > Legalities
AR Law Courses Threaten Use of Animals in Research


Animal rights law courses may threaten the use of animals in medical research.
Over half of US law schools now have animal law courses, including many in universities with medical and research programs that utilize animals protected by federal welfare laws. Courses that promote
standards for humane animal care and welfare are unlikely to provoke conflict, but programs championing animal rights or 'liberation' set up adversarial potential on campuses and pose a serious risk to the future of animal research. The use of the law instead of violence and threats, however, should be acknowledged as a forward step.
The future may see an attempt to recognize Aristotle's three categories: things, animals, and persons. Animals may not ultimately enjoy the rights of persons, but the law may become increasingly specific about our obligation to care for them. If, on the other hand, 'personhood' for animals is achieved, this status is likely to be in conflict with animal research.

Failure to address developments in the education of law students is likely to have a long-ranging impact on the ability to develop new treatments needed for human and animal well-being.

P. Michael Conn is Director of Research Advocacy at Oregon Health and Sciences University and Oregon National Primate Research Center.

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