Opposition to the use of animals in biomedical research rests on diverse scientific and ethical arguments. Here I offer a response to key objections and argue that the responsible use of animals in biomedical research with the goal of advancing medical knowledge, science and human health, is scientifically and morally justified. My views are unlikely to be shared uniformly across the scientific community. Thus, I hope this personal perspective persuades other scientists, public health officials, scientific organizations and our academic leadership to join the debate and invites opponents of animal research to create an atmosphere where civil discourse can take place, free of threats and intimidation. The public deserves an open and honest debate on this important topic.