Scientists and veterinarians are dedicated to animal welfare.
People have different views about the use of animals for food, fiber, companionship, and research. One widely shared belief is that people may use animals for these purposes if in return they provide them good food, housing, and treatment. To hold that people have an ethical responsibility towards animals in their care is to support animal welfare.
Supporters of animal rights believe it is wrong for people to remove an animal from its natural environment or interfere with its life. Animal rights advocates oppose eating meat, eggs, or milk; wearing leather, fur, or silk; or putting animals in zoos. Some even object to pet ownership. They also oppose animal research as a matter of principle regardless of its potential benefits for people and other animals.
Most of those who believe in animal rights try to end practices they oppose by influencing public opinion, getting laws passed, or using the legal system. However, the animal rights movement has also attracted a fringe element willing to use violence to advance their cause. Extremists have harassed researchers; threatened them and their families; vandalized laboratories, homes, and cars; set fires, and planted bombs to intimidate researchers into stopping their work.
People have a duty to treat animals humanely, but we also have a duty to relieve suffering. Research with animals has saved many lives and improved the quality of life for millions of people and animals.