Get access

Progress in the Animal Research War


  • Susan Gilbert

  • Susan Gilbert, “Progress in the Animal Research War,” Animal Research Ethics: Evolving Views and Practices, Hastings Center Report Special Report 42, no. 6 (2012): S2–S3. DOI:10.1002/hast.98


Some years ago, Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize–winning science journalist, nailed the divide between scientists who conduct research on animals in the hope of advancing medical knowledge and people who object to that work for being immoral and inhumane. They are “like two different nations, nations locked in a long, bitter, seemingly intractable political standoff,” she wrote in her 1994 book, The Monkey Wars. The two sides certainly have been like nations locked in a long, bitter standoff. That standoff has seemed intractable. But when Blum talked to people on both sides, she found glimmers of hope—a few individuals willing to listen to one another and find common ground. “When they can be freely heard,” she concluded, “then we will have progressed to another place, beyond this time of hostilities.”

Today, while we are not yet beyond hostilities, we have progressed to another place.