The primary aim of biomedical research is to discover and develop new knowledge to advance human medicine. Frequently a ‘mouse model’ is taken to be a necessary step towards understanding a disease, biological mechanism or intervention. We argue for caution with respect to the mouse model: theoretical reasons, meta-analyses of empirical data, and viable alternatives all support a more restricted use of animals in laboratories than is current practice. On its own terms, a utilitarian scientific justification for using animals in biomedical research converges more closely with welfarist claims than is usually recognised.



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