Res Publica

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 293-318

First online:

Animal Rights and Animal Experiments: An Interest-Based Approach

  • Alasdair CochraneAffiliated withDepartment of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science Email author 

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This paper examines whether non-human animals have a moral right not to be experimented upon. It adopts a Razian conception of rights, whereby an individual possesses a right if an interest of that individual is sufficient to impose a duty on another. To ascertain whether animals have a right not to be experimented on, three interests are examined which might found such a right: the interest in not suffering, the interest in staying alive, and the interest in being free. It is argued that while the first two of these interests are sufficient to ground animal rights against being killed and made to suffer by experiments, the interest in freedom does not ground a general animal right not to be used in experimentation.


animals autonomy continued life experiments freedom interests prudential value rights sentience suffering well-being