We believe that medical research is key to improving human and animal health. Yet despite advances using tissue cultures, computer modeling, the human genome project, and a variety of other theoretical and empirical developments, our understanding of the complexities of our own body is quite limited.
We have much to learn from the study of individual neurons. We are learning a lot about important basic phenomena like memory, neural system development, and simple neural circuits in "lower" organisms like sea slugs and round worms. However the human brain has perhaps a trillion interacting cells of many types, and not surprisingly has much more complex behaviors. The only way to resolve outstanding neuroscience questions - questions whose answers will someday enable us to help those afflicted with serious neural problems - is to conduct experiments in animals that are capable of producing behaviors approaching the same complexity.
Furthermore we believe that medical experiments using human subjects should be minimized, and only conducted when the best scientific evidence leads us to think that the experiments will benefit (or at worst not harm) the subjects as well as potential future patients. We necessarily conclude that medical research using animals is mandatory if we want to improve human and animal health. This is true today and remains so into the foreseeable future.
There are some who doubt the ethics of research using animal subjects. As individuals and as a society there are important questions about the human condition and meaning. Each of us can and should make our own personal judgements in these areas - forming our own personal philosopy - but cannot expect others to agree in all respects. We find that the arguments against this research are philosophical, and lack a clear rational scientific basis. It is our humble opinion that there is no way to usefully debate this topic within the context of this web site -- just as we avoid arguing religious matters or politics on this web site.
It should be obvious that proper care of the animals, minimizing stress and pain, is important -- as is rightfully required by law. We welcome any device designs which work to promote the health, safety and pyschological well-being of the animals entrusted to our collective care. If a particular device design has no credible scientific or medical value, it will not knowingly be accepted into this web site. If you believe that a particular design on this web site has no justifiable value, you are welcome to make scientific or technical arguments regarding that design.
Many avenues for discussing the ethics of animal-based research can be found -- elsewhere.