Whilst animals’ rights are as important as human rights, the tentative sacrifice of animal well-being would be seen as beneficial to the human race. I believe human volunteers should be used first, utterly aware of side-effects and other consequences. If no volunteers choose to work, then (in order for human research safety advancements) testing would be taken out on the creatures. As the benefits of research have already been demonstrated through certain diseases and their cures, I am pro-experimental on certain animals.
The ethical belief on cats and other dogs that are usually domesticated in modern culture is against their experimentation. If a certain result was expected or death/pain was guaranteed to not be an effect on the creatures, the pets would be used for experiments. Rats, on the other hand, are considered filthy vermin and are extremely despised by portions of the world’s population. It is better to conduct experiments with the potential to save several human lives on lesser, smaller organisms and not ones considered valuable to the human community.
A summary: Animals have as many rights as humans – it is considered acceptable to experiment on smaller, unloved creatures. This isn’t fair and lack of pain should be guaranteed to creatures as part of their rights.