I came across a study today that addressed how dogs, used in a laboratory setting, function in regards to the required “enrichment” that UK legislation recommends.
The results of the study aren’t earth shattering by any means. Dogs like to play outside during the day, tend to eat their own poop(if behavior goes unchecked), sleep on beds if they are provided, etc. But this research does bring up an important ethical question in regards to scientific endeavors that use dogs as the principle organism to be studied.
I, personally, believe that studies that focus on the behavioral characteristics of our furry friends can add a tremendous amount of value to humanity in the form of allowing us to better understand our most loyal companions. But there is a line somewhere that, when crossed, violates some basic principles of, what most people, would deem to be ethical.
The situation that comes to mind is the experimentation of substances, purported to impart some benefit to a human user, being tested first on dogs –or any other animal– to test for safety. I’m confident in the assertion that this is a breach of the ethical considerations that we must make when subjecting animals, who have the capacity for fear, pain, etc, to trials that may cause this negativity in spades.
I’m interested to hear what you have to say on the subject. How do we weigh humanity’s need to continually drive forward with scientific progress while operating with the confines of a code of ethics that is designed to protect dogs(and other animals) in the process?