In this paper we propose a new way of conceptualizing animals in experimentation – the animal-as-patient. Construing and treating animals as patients offers a way of successfully addressing some of the entrenched epistemological and ethical problems within a practice of animal experimentation directed to human clinical benefit. This approach is grounded in an epistemological insight and builds on work with so-called ‘pet models’. It relies upon the occurrence and characterization of analogous human and nonhuman animal diseases, where, if certain criteria of homology and mechanism are met, the animal simultaneously becomes a patient and a spontaneous model of the human disease.

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