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General ethical principles

Currently, the APA enforces ethical standards to protect nonhuman animal subjects from unnecessary harm during the research process. Some of the requirements for using nonhuman animals in research include: proper justification of the research, maintenance and inspection of appropriate housing for the animals, minimizing discomfort and stress whenever possible, and preference of noninvasive measures.[12]

Despite these guidelines, however, many advocacy groups exist to either reduce or eliminate animal research, arguing that it is unethical to capture animals and subject them to research procedures.[13][14][15] Indeed, a recent study showed that only 52% of the public approves of animal research.[16] Some scientists believe that this low approval rate is primarily the result of receiving manipulative misinformation from anti-animal research groups.

Conversion therapy (also referred to as reparative therapy) is the practice of attempting to change the patient’s sexual orientation to heterosexual. Among the most prominent supporters of conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which continues to characterize homosexuality as a mental disorder, despite the declassification of homosexuality as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.[3] One of the most notable members of NARTH is founder and former president Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who practices conversion therapy and has published case studies some of his clients.[4]

The American Psychological Association (APA) task force report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation concluded that conversion therapy was “unlikely to be successful” and involved “some risk of harm”.[3] Likewise, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to action in 2001, concluding that “there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed”.[11]

In the task force’s report, the APA recommends that therapists adopt an affirmative, supportive approach for clients who present for therapy to change their sexual orientation rather than attempting to convert their sexual orientation.[3