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     Question Forum : Animal Rights  Date Posted:  16 - September - 2001




What is the Islamic opinion on the use of animals for medical research?

The Islamic Party of Britain Question and Answer Forum is not intended to give Fatwahs on questions of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence). When deciding on the permissibility of an action, all the individual circumstances need to be taken into account. The general principles which apply are, however, the trusteeship of man over nature with the responsibility of maintaining the natural balance. Animals do not have the same rights as humans just as they do not have the same duties. In this respect animal rights campaigners are misguided. Animals may be utilised by man for work, and to provide food and other benefits. It is, however, not permitted to inflict any unnecessary suffering on other creatures. Necessary here means that it serves to avert a greater harm or produces significant benefits. This means for medical research that if animal testing saves human lives, it may be permitted, provided sufficient care is taken of the animals' welfare. It would, however, not be permitted for irrelevant or frivolous reasons. Testing of cosmetic products would probably fall under that category if it causes harm or discomfort to the animals. Wherever the desired results can be obtained by other means, animal testing should not be used simply for economic reasons or convenience.

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