Abstract

If (and it is recognized that this is in itself a very contentious “if”) humans subject animals to painful, damaging, or frightening procedures to achieve scientific progress, then the very least that humankind can do is to insist that regulations be put in place to protect animals and that they be properly implemented and enforced. However, recent practice in the United Kingdom suggests that this is not the case. Europe’s new regime on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes—Directive 2010/63—must act as a catalyst for significant change and is a significant recognition of the intrinsic value of animals. Before this Directive, the cost/benefit analysis undertaken in the United Kingdom allowed for a large margin of error so that animal welfare was an aggregated concept, and any aggregated finding of “adequate” animal welfare was not militated by individual cases of exacerbated animal detriment. The recognition that each animal has value as an individual means that the levels of animal welfare or protection expected of scientific establishments can no longer simply be those that are, in generic terms, appropriate for the aggregated mass of animals. Instead, the welfare standards applied are appropriate and rendered effectual for all individual animals.

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