Publication Details

Russell, D. (2012). Why animal ethics committees don't work. Between the Species: an online journal for the study of philosophy and animals, 15 (1), 127-142.

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Between the Species

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Between the Species is a peer-reviewed electronic journal devoted to the philosophical examination of the relationship between human beings and other animals. While most articles are ethical inquiries, others raise issues involving metaphysics, epistemology and other areas of philosophical investigation. Between the Species is an open access journal: users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles.


Animal ethics committees have been set up in many countries as a way to scrutinize animal experimentation and to assure the public that if animals are used in research then it is for a worthwhile cause and suffering is kept to a minimum. The ideals of Refinement, Reduction and Replacement are commonly upheld. However, while refinement and reduction receive much attention in animal ethics committees, the replacement of animals is much more difficult to incorporate into the committees’ deliberations. At least in Australia there are certain structural reasons for this but it is likely that most of the reasons why replacement is left out apply to other countries as well.