Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Radu Neculau


Animal, Canada, Economics, Ethics, Policy, Science




Global estimates suggest that more than 100 million non-human animals are used for scientific purposes each year. The nature of the research, teaching, and testing conducted on these animals can be very invasive, painful, and fatal. Should we care? To discontinue these practices in some cases may result in human suffering. Should any human benefits of research, teaching, and testing outweigh the resultant animal suffering? This paper begins with an analysis of some of the most popular theories on the moral status of animals. From this analysis it is argued that mere species membership is not a morally relevant characteristic, and that non-human animals can have moral status and moral rights. A deontological approach to adjudicating moral claims across species is presented to overcome some of the challenges typical of utilitarian and rights-based approaches. This approach is used to sketch a general framework for evaluating which types of scientific animal use ought to be permitted. It is argued further that, while some forms of scientific animal use may be permitted at present, we ought to strive for the elimination of the practice. The focus will then shift to an analysis of Canada’s regulatory system for the scientific use of animals, identifying shortcomings of this system. The Canadian approach to regulation in this area will be compared against approaches that are taken in the UK and the Netherlands which are more closely aligned with the moral arguments made in the first section. There are opportunities for Canada to learn from these countries, and remarks will be made on how and why Canada should improve the regulation of animals in research, teaching, and testing. Such changes have the potential to improve the wellbeing not only of the animals used in science, but for humans as well. Finally, expected costs and benefits that would accompany the implementation of the recommendations are considered with comments on how costs can be alleviated and why they should be incurred.