Jonah Lehrer has a qualified defense of animal research:

I personally believe that most animal research is a necessary evil - I've got more complicated feelings about primate experimentation - but that doesn't mean the public should be allowed to forget it exists. Unless you're a researcher with the proper security clearance, it's all but impossible to actually see the animals in their sterile environs: they're hidden away behind a locked corridor. (As a journalist, I typically ask to see the animal room. I'm almost always turned down, for perfectly understandable reasons. Scientists know that even a brief reference to lab animals in an article can lead to violent threats from animal rights extremists.)...There is a tension here that should be acknowledged. We use animals in research because they are so useful, but the reason they are so useful is because they are so similar in design to us.

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