A lively debate at the Trinity College Dublin Philosophical Society on Thursday rejected the motion that “This House Believes that Animal Testing is a Moral Hazard”.
Speaking of Research founder, Tom Holder, joined three students in explaining both the moral and scientific case for the continued use of animals in medical research. In opposition was the Director of Antidote Europe, Andre Menache, the Campaign Director of the Animal Rights Action Network, John Carmody, and two student speakers.
The debate was lively, with most students choosing to focus on the philosophical angle, developing and destroying arguments for and against animal rights, human contractualism and utilitarianism. Dr. Menache chose to focus on scientific issues, including TGN1412 and looking at recent developments in replacement heart valves. John Carmody expressed the view that students were a victim of society if they supported animal research, and suggested that animal rights was an inevitability. Tom Holder gave a well received speech that pointed to the past successes of animal research and explained the many levels of protection that animals in labs are afforded. He noted that Stage I clinical trial disasters such as TGN1412 were so rare because of animal safety tests, as well as supporting the advances in synthetic heart valves – pointing out that for many years there was no non-animal replacement available. Holder wrapped by concluding that animal research was “not a moral hazard but a moral imperative“.
When the time to vote came, the nays took two-thirds of the chamber, out voting the ayes two to one. This house did not believe that animal research was a moral hazard.