18.4 ETIQUETTE OF RESEARCH ON ANIMALS, adab al bahath ala al hayawaan

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


The prophet enjoined kindness to animals. Saving animals from danger is a noble act. There is reward for kindness to animals.



Cruelty and physical abuse of animals are prohibited. There is severe punishment is reserved for cruel treatment if animals. Face branding, beating, cursing, sexual abuse, sexual abuse, and wanton killing of animals were forbidden.



The purpose of animal research is to spare humans from risk. Findings in animals are relevant to humans because of similarities in physiology and biochemistry. However findings in animals cannot be directly transferred to humans; research on humans is still necessary for a definitive conclusion. Animal research is exploratory and not definitive.



The position of the Law is that animal experiments are allowed if a prima facie case can be established that the result of the research is a necessity, dharuurat. Dharuurat under the Law is what is necessary for human life. The regulations of necessity require that no more than the absolute minimum necessary should be done, al dharurat tuqaddar bi qadiriha. Animal research has definite risks for the animals that are not balanced by any benefits: pain, suffering, permanent injury, inhumane treatment and operations, and being killed (sacrificed). Thus use of animals in justifiable on the basis of taskhiir and not any benefits that accrue to the animals. The risks to humans from animal research are minimal in the short term; long-term effects are difficult to fathom. The purposes and principles of the Law can be used to analyze all legal aspects of animal experimentation.



There are limits to taskhiir. Humans were not given a carte blanche to exploit animals in any way they liked. They have to conform to the Law and moral guidelines. If the results of animal experimentation will lead to protection of human life, then research is allowed to proceed because then it is a necessity. This is similar to killing animals for food, a necessity for human life. If research is for general scientific curiosity unrelated to any tangible human benefit, then it is beyond the authorization of taskhiir. There are differences among animals. Animals considered dangerous and must be killed. Use of such animals for research should therefore raise fewer ethical objections than other animals. All types of animals used in research cannot be subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering. Animals whose flesh is edible are preferably used in research. Use of animals that are haram like the pig should be avoided as much as possible and should be considered only in cases of dharurat. Animals, like humans, have rights to enjoyment of life and good health. The researcher must therefore follow Islamic etiquette to minimize animal suffering. The basmalah is said at the start of an animal experiment, similar to slaughter of animals for food, in recognition of the fact that the experiment is carried out with the permission of the creator under the requirements of taskhiir. The animals must be shown kindness and respect. They should not be subjected to the psychological pain of seeing other animals in pain or being sacrificed. Pain must be minimized both during the experiment and when the animal is being terminally sacrificed. This is based on the legal requirement of slaughtering animals using a sharp knife and as quickly as possible to prevent pain and suffering. The long-term effects of the experiment on the animal must be considered and efforts made to decrease suffering and pain. The nutritional and medical needs of the animal must be taken care of before, during, and after the research.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. 2004