Ethical Standards for Animal Testing

This task force puts students in charge of designing a policy for the ethical standards of animal testing.

Task Force: Ethical Standards for Animal Testing


The People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has put you in charge of designing a policy for the ethical standards of animal testing. Your goal is to create guidelines to prevent the harmful treatment of animals being tested for scientific research.


Why Are We Doing This?

According to PETA, almost one million animals are held captive in labs and used for various experiments. Besides the fact that there are non-animal testing options, only some of the harmful animal testing is required by law. Some countries have chosen to ban certain types of testing such as cosmetic-based ones. Over 100 million animals die due to these practices that test chemicals, drugs, food, and cosmetics. Here, we ask you to brainstorm guidelines for the ethical approach to using animals for testing.



  1. Begin by checking out PETA’s website and the information they provide about animal testing. Try to come up with ethical standards for your policy.
    1. What kinds of animal testing will be allowed?
    2. What kinds of animal testing will NOT be allowed?
    3. Will the death of these animals being tested be justified under any circumstances? Why or why not?
    4. What kinds of other effects on animals will be allowed? What about psychological disorders that may develop?
    5. What kinds of living arrangements and conditions must be met?
    6. Will standards be different for different types of animals? Why?
  2. Think through the possible objections about your policy that someone could have and how you would answer them.
  3. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your policy for animal testing includes the necessary ethical standards needed.


Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of guidelines for your plan. Choose a few that you feel confident about explaining and defending.
  • You do not have to consider all possible objections to your plan.
  • You may analyze wheter or not animal testing is ever justified, just be prepared to defend this stance.