Experimentation on animals and particularly humans is often assumed to be a uniquely modern phenomenon. But the ideas and attitudes that encourage the biological and medical sciences to experiment on living creatures date from the earliest expression of Western thought. In Animal and Human Experimentation, Anita Guerrini looks at the history of these practices from vivisection in ancient Alexandria to present-day battles over animal rights and medical research employing human subjects.
Guerrini discusses in-depth key historical episodes in the use of living beings in science and medicine, including the discovery of blood circulation, the development of smallpox and polio vaccines, and recent AIDS research. She also explores the rise of the antivivisection movement in Victorian England, the modern animal rights movement, and current debates over gene therapy. In this highly accessible text, we learn how our understanding of an animal's capacity to feel pain has evolved. Guerrini reminds us that the ethical values of science seldom stray far from those of the society in which scientists live and work.
Ethical questions about the use of animals and humans in research remain among the most vexing within both the scientific community and society at large. These often rancorous arguments have gone on, however, with little awareness of their historical antecedents. Animal and Human Experimentation offers students and concerned general readers on every side of this debate a context within which to understand more fully the responsibility we all bear for the suffering inflicted on other living beings in the name of scientific knowledge.
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