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Teachers: Citizenship: Scientific Development

Last Updated: Monday October 16 2006 15:32 GMT

Animal testing debate

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Science and ethics


Dogs, RDS

Newsround has gone behind the scenes to find out what goes on at an animal testing laboratory.

Laura visited a lab in Oxfordshire, where mice are being used to try to work out a cure for glue ear - a problem which affects many children.

Using animals for experiments is a big issue, causing lots of debate.

Students debate the issues surrounding animal testing.

Learning aims
  • Cruelty arguments
  • Scientific progress arguments

Open the debate by reading out some of these comments:

Main activity

Class debate

Explain that the class is going to debate the issues surrounding animal testing.

A debate is based around a suggestion or motion.

The motion is:

This house believes that animal testing should continue.

Divide the class into proposers (for the motion) and opposers (against the motion).

Students research and write down arguments which either support or oppose the motion.

A summary of arguments and a guide can be found by clicking on the links in the blue box.


Select seven students to be:

  • Speaker. This person chairs the debate but cannot take part or vote.
  • First proposer to speak
  • First opposer to speak
  • Opposer to sum up
  • Proposer to sum up
  • Two tellers to count the votes
Hold the debate in this order:
  • The Speaker presents the motion.
  • The first proposer presents the arguments for the motion.
  • The first opposer presents the arguments against the motion.
  • One of the proposers presents their arguments for the motion.
  • An opposer presents their arguments against the motion.
  • This side to side motion continues until everyone has had their say.
  • An opposer sums up their group's main argument.
  • A proposer sums up their group's main argument.
  • Name one side of the classroom the 'aye' wall and the opposite side the 'no' wall.
  • The Speaker re-reads the motion.

Students vote twice:

1. Students vote to support or oppose the motion, depending on which they thought were the most convincing and well-constructed arguments. This may not necessarily be what they believe personally. The Speaker can't vote.

They do so by going to the 'aye' or 'no' side of the classroom.

The two tellers count up the votes (bodies), on either side of the room.

The Speaker announces the result of the vote.

2. Students vote according to their beliefs. The Speaker is no longer in role and can therefore vote.

As before, the two tellers count up the votes (bodies), on either side of the room and the Speaker announces the result of the vote.

Extension activity

Students write a personal statement of their opinions. They pick the five arguments they find the most convincing and include them in a report that starts:

I support/I oppose animal testing because...


If students had to experiment on animals themselves, how many students would still vote for animal testing?

Teachers' Background

The mouse is the most widely used animal in research labs. In the UK 1,607,000 mice underwent experiments in 2000.

More than 2.5 million live animal experiments were authorised in Great Britain in 2000. This number has halved since the 1970s.

Around the world, animals are used to test products ranging from shampoo to new cancer drugs.

British law requires that any new drug must be tested on at least two different species of live mammal. One must be a large non-rodent.

Almost every medical treatment you use has been tested on animals. Animals were also used to develop anaesthetics to prevent human pain and suffering during surgery.

For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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