Regulations and ethical considerations in animal experiments: international laws and islamic perspectives

Avicenna J Med Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;4(3):114-20.


Growing usage of animals in the research projects has drawn more attention to their welfare and ethics surrounding this practice. Dissemination of information about the existing ethical consideration and alternatives in animal experiments has two important functions; first, it increases the researcher's awareness of the possible methods of using animals in the experiment, and second, to ensure that potential users are aware of the established alternatives. For example, legislations enacted in many countries during the 1980s state that laboratory animal applications should be reduced, refined and replaced wherever possible according to principles of the 3Rs. Thus, scientists around the world tried to apply the 3Rs in their biomedical researches regarding welfare of the laboratory animals. However, the Qur'an, the holy book of Muslims, and also Hadiths contain the obligatory ways to keep and treat animals since their revelations. According to Islamic viewpoint, animals represent Allah's ability and wisdom, and humans must pay attention to their health and living conditions. Several Islamic manuscripts state that animals have their own position in the creation hierarchy and humans are responsible for supplying minimal facilities and their welfare. This paper has tried to review ethical consideration in animal experiments and regarding Islamic resources in this case to encourage providing comprehensive ethical regulations in animal experiments which its establishment could be beneficial for animal ethics committees or research institutes.

Keywords: Animals; Ethics; Research; Welfare.