Author Reverses Views On Animal Rights

In their reviews of my book The Case for Animal Experimentation (THE SCIENTIST, October 20, 1986, p. 19, 20, 22), Robert E. Burke and Jerrold Tannenbaum agree that it succeeds in explaining the nature of scientific research involving animals and in elucidating the requirements of humaneness. Tannenbaum, however, expresses the opinion that the philosophical argument of the book is "superficial, dogmatic and unconvincing" (p. 19). He concludes that I "offer a curmudgeonly philosophy that begrudges

Michael Allen Fox
Dec 14, 1986

In their reviews of my book The Case for Animal Experimentation (THE SCIENTIST, October 20, 1986, p. 19, 20, 22), Robert E. Burke and Jerrold Tannenbaum agree that it succeeds in explaining the nature of scientific research involving animals and in elucidating the requirements of humaneness. Tannenbaum, however, expresses the opinion that the philosophical argument of the book is "superficial, dogmatic and unconvincing" (p. 19). He concludes that I "offer a curmudgeonly philosophy that begrudges in principle the humane and decent sentiments [I] would apply in practice" (p. 22).

I have to agree with Tannenbaum. Since I wrote the book, I have come to be profoundly dissatisfied with the approach I took, based on rights possession and a narrow definition of the moral community. I have come to believe that attempts to justify the use of animals for experimentation convince no one except for the already-converted. This is because they...