“In The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments, Andrew Knight takes the debate about the utility of research on animals to a new level of scientific investigation. Instead of just listing hand-picked instances of benefits or harms produced by research on animals – a procedure obviously prone to bias in the selection of cases – he has sought more objective, unbiased indicators of the value of research on animals. His data is devastating to the common assumption that the practice of experimenting on animals has demonstrably high utility for humans, and is therefore justified despite the costs to animals. The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments shows clearly that there is insufficient empirical basis for the belief that the benefits of invasive research on nonhuman animals outweigh the costs.”
, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, became widely known for his 1975 book Animal Liberation
, a seminal contribution to the animal-rights movement. Since then, he has been at the forefront of public debates on abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, global poverty, and other important, controversial issues.
“Remarkably, Knight manages to fundamentally question the practice of animal experimentation, with very little philosophising. His extensive data proves these experiments fail modern scientific standards in a succession of important medical fields, with potentially serious consequences for patients. It is clear this unemotional book represents one of the most serious scientific body blows ever inflicted against an established field of research. A paradigm shift away from animal experimentation within biomedical research is likely to come, and when it does, this book will probably be identified as one of the causes. The consequences of that shift for scientists, research funders and policy makers will be profound. I strongly urge them to familiarise themselves with the contents of this book.” Prof. Dr. med. vet. Jörg Luy MA
Head of the Institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior
Dept. Veterinary Medicine
Freie Universität Berlin
“This is the most complete book in the field, containing the most convincing argument against animal testing I have ever seen. I hope it will be widely reviewed and used. It is truly the best such book I have ever seen – absolutely outstanding!"
Prof. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Author of international best sellers When Elephants Weep
, Dogs Never Lie About Love
, and seven other popular books about animals, with another on the way.
"Combining flawless research with meticulous argument, this book presents what is perhaps the most systematic and convincing case ever developed against animal experimentation."
Prof Mark Rowlands
Department of Philosophy
University of Miami
Best selling author of The Philosopher and the Wolf
"A huge amount of solid research has gone into Andrew Knight's book, which surveys the costs (to us, to the animals involved) and the benefits (such as they are) of animal experimentation, and comes to conclusions – backed by rigorous statistical analysis – that constitute a challenge to the entire enterprise. The onus now falls on experimenters all over the world to refute Knight's science. If they cannot, the only honest course of action left to them will be to unlock the cages and release their captives."
JM Coetzee PhD
Nobel Laureate in Literature, 2003
Twice winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction
“The most complete analysis of published reviews of the benefits to humans of invasive animal studies"
Dame Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE
Founder, Jane Goodall Institute
Author of numerous books including In the Shadow of Man
“The best book on animal experimentation ever written” Radio 3CR MelbournePodcast
25. Mar. 2012“This book is without doubt an obligatory text for the 'scientific activist' against animal experiments. It is easily readable, lucidly presented and scrupulously fair research, which collates disparate references into one sourcebook.
One of the book's strongest suits is Knight's insistence at all times on the bigger picture. Rather than cherry-picking individual examples of animal experimentation, he identifies systematic reviews as the key yardstick against which the utility of this work must be judged. The book also contains the best distillation of non-animal research methods I have yet encountered.
For the non-veterinary reader, an examination of animal use in education is both illuminating and tragic. The hitherto baffling indifference to animal suffering found in many veterinarians is revealed as an inevitable by-product of harming animals as students.
Andrew Knight presents his case carefully and methodically, avoiding polemic and hyperbole. The effect is like a quietly building jigsaw – only when all the pieces are in place is the overall picture revealed. In an understated but devastating critique of the status quo, he concludes that animal research could only be ethically justified 'if a profoundly unequal weighting is applied in which relatively minor or infrequent human benefits are considered more important than the significant adverse impacts commonly experienced by laboratory animals'. But such a position runs clearly contrary to the legal framework under which these experiments are currently permitted. This analysis should ring in the ears of every permissive legislator, ethics committee member and animal researcher.”
Dr Adrian Stallwood MB BS
Specialty Doctor in Emergency Medicine, Hywel Dda Health Board, Wales
Clinical Teacher, Cardiff University“[Knight] draws on more than a decade of research and over 500 scientific publications to rigorously test common assumptions about animal experimentation. He offers revealing insights into the true contributions of such research to human healthcare, as well as the nature, severity and prevalence of the impacts experienced by laboratory animals. He comprehensively reviews animal use within life and health sciences education, as well as alternative research and educational strategies.
This has allowed him to provide, in polished style, one of the most definitive answers yet published to a question with implications for animal ethics, biomedical research, and society at large, namely, "Is animal experimentation ethically justifiable?”
His highly readable book is destined to remain an essential text for all who are interested in the ethical issues raised by animal experimentation, including scientists, philosophers, policy-makers, students, and educators.”
Marc Bekoff PhD
Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder
Fellow, Animal Behavior Society
Author of 200 papers and 22 books, and recipient of numerous awards, including the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field.Psychology Today
“Society allows animals to be harmed in scientific research because, oddly enough, we are informed such research is essential for advancing human healthcare. In The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments, Dr. Andrew Knight provides wide-ranging and detailed data demonstrating that animal models of diseases are actually poorly predictive for human outcomes. The inevitable consequence is that they contribute little, if anything, to medical advancements. When combined with his comprehensive reviews of existing alternative research methods, and those alternatives undergoing rapid development, an inconvenient truth is revealed: science and society have wasted a great deal of time and resources ‘barking up the wrong tree.’ One can only speculate as to the lost opportunities for medicine. Those resources could, and should, have been directed into human clinical research more likely to benefit patients. This myth shattering book is an essential read for all those interested in the advancement of public health and the ethics of animal research, including scientists, students and legislators.” Prof. Anne Keogh MBBS MD FRACP FCSANZ FPVRI
Senior Heart Transplant Cardiologist, St Vincent's Public Hospital, Sydney
Current President, Pulmonary Hypertension Society of Australia and New Zealand
Past President, International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation
"The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments is a must read for those who want to discover the truth about the use of animal models in medical research. Using cold, hard facts – not emotion – Knight reveals the true cost not only to animals, but to human patients reliant on the results of animal research. His disturbing comparison of the costs and benefits of such research is given moral urgency by the vast number of lives at stake."
Professor Emerita Priscilla N. Cohn, PhD
Associate DirectorOxford Centre for Animal Ethics
“Animal experimentation is invariably given a utilitarian justification: the overall good outweighs the overall evil. Knight’s work is the definitive reply to such reasoning. He clearly demonstrates that rigorous examination and analysis of the data simply do not support such traditional, untested assumptions. Deftly written, the book is highly recommended to scientists, philosophers, veterinarians, students, and indeed any layperson with concerns regarding the morality of experimenting on nonhuman animals.”
Professor Mark H. Bernstein PhD
Joyce & Edward E. Brewer Chair in Applied Ethics, Purdue University College of Liberal Arts
Books include Fatalism
(University of Nebraska Press, 1992), On Moral Considerability
(Oxford University Press, 1998), and Without A Tear
(University of Illinois Press, 2004).
“Since publishing my first book on animal ethics in 1980, I have repeatedly worried about the question of what entitles humans to use animals for invasive research when we would not allow such use of humans, even those people society values less than "normal" humans, such as the mentally defective, psychopaths, serial killers, child molesters, violent criminals and even the irreversibly comatose. If anything, protections for such people have increased. The only putative justification forthcoming for such animal use is a utilitarian, cost-benefit one, where benefit to humans clearly outweighs costs to the animals in terms of pain, suffering, loss of quality of life, or loss of life to the animals. Aside from the fact that we do not allow such an argument to count with regard to invasive use of humans, it has become ever-increasingly clear to me that the overwhelming majority of animal research does not in any case meet that test. Now, in this book, Andrew Knight convincingly provides a good deal of empirical data buttressing the failure of the cost/benefit argument. I recommend this book both to supporters of animal research and to its opponents. The former should utilize the book to challenge their assumptions, whilst the latter should master the arguments to create a solid basis for their opposition.”Bernard E. Rollin
University Distinguished Professor
Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Animal Sciences
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University
See also complete published review
(121 kb).“There is little doubt in my mind that even the staunchest advocate of animal research will raise serious questions about the majority of animal experiments after reading this book. Rather than challenge the assumption that animal research is justifiable where the benefits outweigh the costs, Knight provides a wealth of evidence, based largely on systematic reviews, to conclude that the benefits have hardly ever been sufficiently great. This is not only informed by Knight’s concern with the stress and death inflicted on animals, but also by a lack of human predictivity that is caused by a range of factors, including biological and environmental differences as well as methodological problems.
This book is a must read for anyone who has ever pondered animal experimentation as well as for those who have not, and particularly for those who work or study in disciplines that have traditionally relied on it. The book contains a useful glossary, including many technical terms that are helpfully italicised in the text and that have been explained well for those who are not familiar with the biosciences. Knight’s book has thrown bright light on an issue that many may prefer to stay in the dark about.” Jan Deckers
Bioethicist, Newcastle University
Associate Editor, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry“A timely and valuable contribution to the debate surrounding the use of animals in research. What makes this book stand apart from other similar works is its focus on evidence-based science. This book makes this important information easily accessible to both regulators and researchers.
The wide range of topics covered in the book will also provide animal ethics committees with valuable new insights into cost-benefit assessments. This book should be required reading for undergraduate students intending to use animals as part of their course work. It should also serve as required reading for members of animal ethics committees whose remit is to review animal research proposals.”
Andre Menache BSc(Hons), BVSc, MRCVS
Veterinarian & Director, Antidote EuropeVeterinary Practice
, 2011“In an area of discussion often marked by emotion and polarisation, ‘The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments’ brings thorough analyses of evidence associated with the use of animals for scientific endeavours. Therefore, this is an invaluable resource with which to rationally assess the scientific and ethical merits of animal experimentation within the life sciences and health research, and thus provide inspiration towards the appropriate consideration of alternatives to animal experimentation and testing.”
Brett A. Lidbury, B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Alternatives to Animal Research Medical Advances Without Animals Trust
The Australian National University“Knight presents a wealth of data on the issue of costs and benefits associated with animal experiments and the book goes beyond its title: it also imparts some information on alternatives… The format is excellent for a reader that may not wish to peruse the book from cover to cover as it is very well structured with chapters, each containing introductions, descriptive/informative sub-headings and useful summaries, making navigation through the book very easy. Some information is repeated, which means that chapters can be read stand-alone… The book is a good starting point for a critical reader looking for an introduction to the subject area.”
Susanne Prankel equiv BSc (Hons), CertFET, PGCert Higher Educ Learning & Teaching, MPhil, PhD, MRCVS
Veterinarian & Senior Lecturer (Biology), Institute of Science and the Environment, University of WorcesterAnimals
, 2012. See also
."Using a wealth of scientific information, Dr. Knights' book provides a critical and thorough examination of the topic of animal experimentation. The book is excellently organized and easy to follow. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in medical research and human health."
Aysha Akhtar MD, MPH
Neurologist and Public Health specialist, Food and Drug Administration
Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics “Advocates for humane treatment of animals run up against a stone wall of opposition when confronted by those who bluntly contend that only humans warrant ethical consideration and that animal suffering counts for nothing when weighed against any possible human benefit that might someday result from the use of animal models in scientific experimentation or toxicity testing. Naked disregard for animal welfare is disarming when attempting to engage in an ethical dialogue with animal experimenters, short circuiting further communication. As a research neuroscientist at an animal experimentation intensive university (University of California San Diego) I find the recently published The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments by Andrew Knight to be a valuable resource in attempting to resuscitate discussions with my fellow faculty and students about the ethics and efficacy of animal use in science. Despite their waving aside any contention that kindness to animals is a good in and of itself, even the most hard hearted vivisectors must pause when confronted by the data presented in this book regarding the efficacy of animal research in advancing human welfare.
The coin of the academic realm is publications, and their value is determined by their impact on scientific progress as measured by how frequently they are cited in subsequent research publications. Masterfully trading in this academic currency, The Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments offers up example after example of systematic reviews of animal experimentation and toxicity testing convincingly demonstrating their lack of worth in the development of human clinical interventions or predictive value for human clinical outcomes. In the zero sum game of research financing, these studies show that money diverted away from human based clinical research to support animal experimentation is money wasted if what society is really interested in is improving human welfare. While unmoved by pity, even the most adamant advocate of research for the improvement of human health at whatever cost to animals might be persuaded to give up animal experimentation not because its cruelty to animals is wrong, but rather because it doesn’t work.”
Lawrence A. Hansen, M.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Pathology
UCSD Experimental Neuropath Laboratory
University of California, San Diego“Andrew Knight has done an excellent job in pulling together a large number of publications relating to animal use both for clinical research and education. The book is well written, well organized, well referenced and very readable. It presents a reasonably balanced view and makes strong arguments, based on a sound evidence base, for discontinuing animal experiments in both clinical research and education. For me the education section was a little too biased towards veterinary education but this is a minor criticism. An excellent introduction to the topic.”
Professor David Dewhurst BSc PhD
Professor of e-learning and Jeanne Marchig Professorial Fellow of Replacement Alternatives in Higher Education
Director of Educational Information Services
College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
University of Edinburgh“This is an important addition to the animal protection literature. This well referenced and documented text includes a significant amount of data in the form of easily readable tables and figures. The arguments are well made and informative. The conclusions are no surprise but go beyond telling us what is wrong but points to directions that can be followed. This is an appropriate text and reference for those on all sides of the issue.”
Alan M Goldberg Ph.D.
Professor of Toxicology
Chairman of the Board, Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore “An excellent critical review that boosts further discussions on the cost and benefits of animal experimentation. A ‘must’ for members of animal ethics committees”.
Jan van der Valk, PhD
Toxicologist, 3Rs-Centre, Utrecht Life Sciences, Netherlands Knowledge Centre on alternatives to animal experiments
, Fac. Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands “Provides excellent background reading on the subject.”
Pete Wedderburn MRCVS
Complete reviews By Prof Bernard Rollin, Colorado State University. In J Anim Ethics 2013; 3(1): 110-112.Download
By Prof Kenneth M Boyd, College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh. In Anim Welf 2012; 21: 603-604.Download
By Dr Chris Langley. In Scientists for Global Responsibility Newsletter 2012; 41: 32.Download
By Dr Kathrin Herrmann. In Tier Ethik 2012; 4: 70-75. [German].Download
About the Book