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New Paper Suggests Human Research Protections for Animals, Says Senior Author Dr. Hope Ferdowsian

A new paper published in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics assembles a wealth of evidence on how human research guidelines should be extended to decisions about the use of animals in research

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new paper published as a "First View" in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics assembles a wealth of evidence on why and how some human research guidelines should be extended to the use of animals in research.

The paper's authors hail from the fields of medicine, research, the humanities, applied ethics, and philosophy. They challenge the medical research community to consider "A Belmont Report for Animals," and the authors reveal how key ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report could be applied consistently to animals. For example, they describe how concepts such as respect for autonomy, risk-benefit analyses, and justice could be applied to decisions about the treatment of animals, as well as how animals are entitled to special protections as a result of their vulnerability.

"Forty years ago, following public outrage about unethical practices in human research, the U.S. Congress established the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Within several years, the Commission published the Belmont Report, which radically changed the treatment of adults and children involved in medical research," said internal medicine, preventive medicine, and public health physician Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, the paper's senior author. "Although there are still ethical problems that need to be addressed within human research, current human research protections aim to shield people who participate in research from serious abuses. No similar, comprehensive, and principled effort has addressed the use of animals in research. As a result, animals can be used in a number of ways that are physically and psychologically harmful to them."

The editorial was authored by Drs. Ferdowsian, L. Syd M Johnson, Jane Johnson, Andrew Fenton, Adam Shriver, and John Gluck, at academic institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

As the paper concludes, extensive scientific evidence reveals that animals possess ethically significant qualities and experiences, including the capacity for physical and psychological suffering, that are relevantly similar to human capacities.

Dr. Ferdowsian adds, "As we have concluded, current legal frameworks do not adequately protect animals. Nothing less than ethically-grounded, principled guidelines, similar to those in the Belmont Report, will adequately address the moral problems that are all too common in the current practice of animal research."

For more information, or to read a copy of "A Belmont Report for Animals?" today, visit: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics/article/belmont-report-for-animals/F4518E13F2FE89A7719C5082A7FB44F8/core-reader.

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