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Two hundred academics gather in Oxford to discuss the ethics of animal research

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This week the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is hosting a Summer School to provide a forum for a rational discussion of animal ethics

Academics will be debating a report called ‘Normalising the Unthinkable’ which was published earlier this year and is backed by more than 150 academics, intellectuals, and writers, including Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee.

The summer school will cover philosophical and religious ethics, historical, legal, psychological, and sociological perspectives, the morality of various types of research, the use of alternatives, the confinement of animals in laboratories, and the effectiveness of current controls and future legislation.

The report of more than 50,000 words is probably the most comprehensive critique of animal experiments ever published.

The report finds that ‘The deliberate and routine abuse of innocent, sentient animals involving harm, pain, suffering, stressful confinement, manipulation, trade, and death should be unthinkable.’.  ‘It is estimated that 115.3 million animals are used in experiments worldwide per annum. In terms of harm, pain, suffering, and death, this constitutes one of the major moral issues of our time.’

Cruelty Free International CEO, Michelle Thew, said: “We are looking forward to this opportunity to put the ethics of animal experiments back on the agenda. Both the independent report and the Summer School are milestones in ethical thinking about animals.  It is time to question some of the lazy assumptions about how animal research benefits humans.”

The Summer School is arranged by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics in partnership with Cruelty Free International. The report was commissioned by Cruelty Free International as an independent ethical review and members of the working party are keen to point out that Cruelty Free International in no way influenced its conclusions.

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