Animal right is not an official diction in our legal systems in Taiwan. The reason why we began to pay attention to the issue of animal welfare was due to a public trend, not because our legislature admits that animals have the right to be protected. When the general public in Taiwan has gradually changed their attitude to animals from the traditional view of custom value, such as considering animals as belongings of people, to the value of animal welfare and protection, we should also change our current animal legislations according to the current public perspective.
They are plenty of discussions on the issue of animal right in the world. A lot of animal advocates in Western countries focus on improving regulations in animal testing to ensure the welfare of experimental animals. For a long time, people utilized animals in medical and commercial tests for ensuring the safety of their commercial products. As such, various methods with different complexities are used in animal testing; however, all kinds of harms to animals, which we might cause, are ignored. According to reliable sources, more than hundred millions of animals are used as research subjects in laboratories in the world each year, however only a few legislations are established to protect them, such as the 3R principles (reduction, refinement, and replacement). Based on the 3R principles, we should start to review the ways we used to experimental animals and rethink in the perspective of the animal welfares to develop alternative ways for animal testing.
Furthermore, theories of animal welfare had been expanded from the equal consideration theory of Jeremy Bentham to the utilitarianism of Peter Singer. For several decades, western countries have already made many attempts to improve the animal welfare of experimental animals by amending animal welfare laws to regulate the researchers who used animals for testing. For example, the regulations of animal welfare had made a huge progress from the Martin Act in the UK to the cosmetic animal testing ban in the EU. Governments in the EU or in the U.S continue working on the issue of experimental animals. Governments in many countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Israel and Brazil…etc., also start discussing the regulations of animal testing.
Albert Schweitzer said:” We need a boundless ethic which will include the animal also.” When the benefits that people earn from the technical developments are compared to the enormous damages that we cause to experimental animals, do we have any guilty feelings at all for these achievements? In order to provide a help to the Taiwanese government and legislator to establish animal experimentation regulations in the future, this thesis is focusing on the animal right and ethical regulations, and introducing and analyzing the recent ethical trend of the animal experimentation in the EU and the U.S., such as the establishment of IACUC in U.S., the cosmetic animal testing ban in the EU, and the development of alternative testing methods. (Actually IACUC has been established in many universities in Taiwan and 3R principles are enforced, if their research funds are from NSC.)