Debate: The Use of Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Research: A Moral Justification?

Dear Colleagues:

On Tuesday, March 8, I will debate Dario Ringach, Professor of Neurobiology and Psychology, Jules Stein Eye Institute, Biomedical Engineering Program, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

The topic:

The Use of Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Research: A Moral Justification?

Professor Ringach will argue that we are justified in using animals in experiments; I will argue that we cannot justify animal use in this or in any other context.

The debate will take place in the Baker Trial Courtroom at Rutgers University School of Law, 123 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey, from 6-8 p.m. Vegan refreshments will be served following the debate, which will be videotaped and made available here and on Professor Ringach’s site.

The debate will be sponsored by the Student Bar Association, the American Constitutional Society, and the Federalist Society. The debate will be moderated by John J. Farmer, Jr., Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark. Dean Farmer served as Attorney General of the State of New Jersey and as General Counsel of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (commonly known as the 9/11 Commission).

The debate will have the following format:

Professor Ringach will present a 20 minute opening statement focusing on the benefits of animal research and the moral justification for the practice. I will respond with a 20 minute statement that question the practical efficacy of vivisection but focuses primarily on the moral arguments.

We will each have a 5-minute rebuttal.

Professor Ringach and I will then have a question/answer session with each other with his asking me a question, my getting three minutes to reply; his getting 3 minutes to respond and my getting 1 minute for a sur-reply. There will be 4 of these exchanges, which will take approximately 30 minutes.

There will be a 40 minute Q&A with the audience. The event will last a total of approximately 2 hours.

All members of the Rutgers University Community are invited to attend, as are members of the public, but seating will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professor Ringach and I disagree strongly with each other on this topic and I am confident that we will have a rigorous, provocative, but courteous and civil debate about a subject that is of increasing interest to the public and to educational institutions alike.


If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do. You will never do anything else in your life as easy and satisfying.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Gary L. Francione
©2011 Gary L. Francione