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July 3, 1967

Ethics, Research, and Animal Welfare

JAMA. 1967;201(1):66. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130010092030

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To the Editor:—  I would like to take issue with several of the philosophical and practical points raised in "Medical Research and Ethics" (199:631, 1967).The concept of "ultimate human welfare" is truly incompatible with a temporal view of ethics and morality, as constructed in Visscher's article. The term immediate rather than ultimate, or perhaps expedient, would be more in accord with this view of ethics. However, either of these two alternative words lends a much less attractive basis for the arbitrary exploitation of animal life, even in the name of science or medicine. If, in the matter of unrestricted use of laboratory animals, the ends really justify the means, any means, then we are still left with a dilemma, for who can say just what the ends are, ultimately. Therefore, perhaps it would be wiser as well as more humane to err on the side of restraint rather