Animal-testing: pupil’s approach to ethical questions impresses magazine publisher

Animal-testing: pupil’s approach to ethical questions impresses magazine publisher

A Year 11 pupil is now a published author after an article he penned through the School to gain a national qualification appeared in a specialist magazine.

Aaryan Sheth wrote a 2,000-word essay for his HPQ (Higher Project Qualification) which was so highly rated by Animal Spirit magazine that it has now appeared in the periodical’s autumn edition, in which most of the other articles are written by academics, theologians or leaders of animal welfare and conservation groups.

Aaryan’s article explored whether it is acceptable “to sacrifice animals to save humans” in the pursuit of medical science. He decided to research this topic on his HPQ course last year because, he said, coming from a household following Jainism, he is a vegetarian who values the lives of animals as highly as his own.

“In my opinion, dietary choices and matters of life and death are very different things, so I wanted to use this essay to explore the relations between the different ways humans use animals, and whether some are more relevant than others, focusing on the topic of animal testing.”

After discussing the pros and cons of animal-testing and looking, in particular, at animal suffering and unnecessary cruelty, he concluded that some animal-testing is still necessary for medical advances. However, he argued that there should be stronger guidelines and legislation to enforce the removal of needless suffering to laboratory animals and also greater investment in research techniques that do not involve animal-testing.

“I really enjoyed doing the research for the HPQ; being able to pick my own topic was exciting, and it was enjoyable to focus on something I’m really interested in. It was nice to get recognition from a magazine too. Plus, I’ve also learnt lots of important techniques to help with research in the future,” said Aaryan.

The HPQ is a standalone qualification that can be taken by students as an addition to their GCSE qualifications. At QE, it is taken by all Year 10 pupils.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “I congratulate Aaryan for all the hard work he put into his HPQ project and for having his writing recognised in this way. The HPQ provides the boys with great experience in considering complex ethical topics in depth and I am pleased that Aaryan fully immersed himself in exploring this important issue. This experience will stand him in good stead for the rest of his time at QE and at university beyond.”

Jack Robertson, Head of Philosophy, Religion & Society, said: “There is no exam at the end of the HPQ, but it does count towards UCAS points and is considered a valuable qualification by top universities.

“The boys develop a key set of skills through the course. It is similar to a dissertation; pupils identify a topic of personal and academic interest, independently devise a question, then work over several months to research, plan and write up the final essay. They then finally present their findings and engage in self-reflection to evaluate the entire process.

“The quality of work produced by QE boys has been of a very high standard. Some carried out primary research which involved them interviewing university professors and specialists in fields ranging from philosophy, science and economics to religion,” added Mr Robertson.

Animal Spirit magazine is produced by the Animal Interfaith Alliance, a registered not-for-profit company. Its mission statement is: “To create a united voice for animals from all of the world’s faiths and spiritual beliefs, based on their founders’ teachings, to bring about the humane treatment of animals.” Aaryan’s article appears on page 40 of the magazine.