Accepted Paper:

Testing Regulation: the European politics of animal experimentation from Victorian Britain to 'Stop Vivisection'  

Authors:

Pierre-Luc Germain (European Institute of Oncology)
Luca Chiapperino (University of Lausanne)
Giuseppe Testa (European Institute of Oncology / University of Milan)

Paper short abstract:

This paper identifies a common political struggle behind historically situated rhetorics on the ‘evil of animal experimentation’. In our view, animals and their interests are more the locus than the focus of the debate, revealing broader tensions around science and its democratic accountability.

Paper long abstract:

This paper identifies a common political struggle behind historically situated rhetorics on the 'evil of animal experimentation'. In our view, animals and their interests are more the locus than the focus of the debate, revealing broader tensions around science and its insulation from democratic accountability.

We develop this argument elaborating upon three empirical cases. The first is early antivivisectionism in late XIX and early XX century, which provides evidence of how such movements, more than grappling with animals' moral interests, voiced deeper political concerns for the misalignment of scientists with public interest. The second is the Italian debate surrounding the implementation of the European Directive 2010/63/EC regulating the use of animals in biomedical research. We show that this debate re-enacted the same XIX century controversies in that today's scientists, while no longer perceived as sadistic, are framed through socio-economic dimensions that partly echo the often perverse logic attributed to XIX century vivisectors. Third comes the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) 'Stop Vivisection', which adds a nuanced, institutionalised uptake on the political efforts at framing and handling animal experimentation as a matter of collective, founding values for a community in the making (i.e. the EU).

The paper concludes that highlighting the common socio-political conflict at the basis of our case studies fleshes out a core testing ground for regulatory closure of these debates; namely, the need to explore modes of authority and argumentation establishing the usefulness of animal experimentation, that do not re-enact the traditional divide between epistemic and moral evaluations.

Panel T073
Epistemic Regimes - Reconfiguring epistemic quality and the reconstitution of epistemic authority