Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals

John P. Gluck / University Of Chicago Press / 360 pages

“I slowly became conscious of the animals’ point of view and recognized that much of what I was doing as a scientist did not square with my own moral standards.” The reader hasn’t gotten far in Voracious Science and Vulnerable Animals before encountering this stunning revelation. Subtitled A Primate Scientist’s Ethical Journey, this book takes the reader through the crisis of conscience experienced by one scientist as he pursues his career as an animal researcher. Dr. John Gluck was in the midst of a highly successful research and teaching career when several encounters “jolted [his] complacency about animal research.” The descriptions of these encounters propel the reader along like a suspense novel. His growing unease eventually motivated a change in direction toward bioethics and “a desire to promote ethical advocacy in animal research and research in general.” Through all of this, Gluck’s purpose is neither to advocate ending research using animals nor to malign those who conduct it. Rather, he seeks to inject “sincere regard” for the lives of the animals into research decisions. He offers his story “in hopes that it will cause some members of the animal research community to take seriously the notion that research on animals should always present ethical questions.” Sometimes it may require saying that the ends do not justify the means. This account of his experiences should be read alike by “protectionists” (his term) and individuals involved in research; those who struggle with similar questions will find validation in these pages.