Animal Testing: Pros and Cons

The application of animals to test a large number of products from household compounds and cosmetics to Pharmaceutical products has been considered to be a normal strategy for many years. Laboratory animals are generally used in three primary fields: biomedical research, product security evaluation and education. (Animal Experiments) It has been estimated that approximately, 20 million animals are being used for testing and are killed annually; about 15 million of them are used to test for medication and five million for other products. Reports have been generated to indicate that about 10 percent of these animals are not being administered with painkillers. The supporters of animal rights are pressurizing government agencies to inflict severe regulations on animal research. However, such emerging criticisms of painful experimentation on animals are coupled with an increasing concern over the cost it would have on the limitation of scientific progress. (Of Cures and Creatures Great and Small)

Around the world, animals are utilized to test products ranging from shampoo to new cancer drugs. Each and every medication used by humans is first tested on the animals. Animals were also applied to develop anesthetics to ease human ailments and suffering during surgery. (Animal Experiments) Currently, questions have been raised about the ethics surround animal testing. As a result several regulations have been put in place to evaluate and control the animals being used for testing purposes. These regulations hope to ensure that such research is carried out in a humanely and ethical manner. (Testing on Animals: A Patient’s Perspective) Acceptance of such experimentations is subject to a lot of argumentation. As the statistics indicate animal testing is dangerous and harmful, but medical research must continue. We need to find other testing techniques that are advanced in order to eliminate this harmful process, till then all we can do is continue with our research.

Arguments for testing

The supporters of animal testing argue that if animal testing is eliminated, that many of the medications and procedures that we currently use today would exist and the development of future treatments would be extremely limited. They argue that humans have been assisted from the healthcare developments that have been based on the benefits of animal research and testing for many years now. Supporters for animal testing argue that research is justified because it assists in discovering ways to help people and other animals for the future. Surgery on animals has assisted in developing organ transplant and open-heart surgery techniques. Animal testing has also assisted in developing vaccines against diseases like rabies, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and TB. Development of antibiotics, HIV drugs, insulin and cancer treatments depend upon animal tests. They argue that other testing techniques are not advanced enough. (Animal Experiments) The most radical progress in reproductive medicine such as oral contraceptives, in vitro fertilization, hormone replacement therapy, etc., have all been made possible by animal research. (Alternatives to Animal testing on the Web: FAQs)

Medical procedures like measuring blood pressure, pacemakers and heart and lung machines were used on animals prior to being tried on humans. Surgery techniques, like those to mend and eliminate bone diseases were devised out of experimentation on the animals. Animal testing not only benefits humans but also helps other animals, for example the heartworm medication that was devised from research on animals has assisted many dogs. The cat nutrition has been better comprehended through animal research and has assisted cats to live longer and healthier lives. (Animal Testing: Why Animals Are Used in Research?) Animal models for AIDS are very important factors that are required to understand the biology of immuno-deficiency viruses in the vivo. This allows us to raise necessary awareness about the processes of pathogenesis and its prevention by vaccination and chemotherapy. (Alternatives to Animal testing on the Web: FAQs) Those who support animal testing argue that the society has an obligation to take actions in ways that will minimize injury and maximize benefits. Banning or restraining the experimentation on animals would not allow society to achieve such results. It is assumed that a scientist’s goal is to devise methods to minimize pain to every extent possible but for now we have to sacrifice on animals to achieve this result. Activists against this practice portray scientists to be a society of crazy, cruel, curiosity seekers. However, when one feeds painkillers to animals, one should ask where they came from and what their purpose is. Is it to improve the quality of human life? (Of Cures and Creatures Great and Small)

Those who support this procedure argue that the advantages that animal testing has brought to humans is considered a lot greater in comparison to the costs in terms of the sufferings inflicted on comparatively less number of animals. They argue that society is required to maximize the opportunities to generate such valuable consequences even at the cost of inflicting pain to some animals. Moreover, many argue that the lives of animals may be worthy of some respect, but the value we give on their lives does not count as much as the value we give to human life. Human beings are considered living beings that have the capability and sensibility that is much higher than animals. For example if we were put in a dilemma of saving a drowning baby and a drowning rat is it almost definite that our instincts will guide us to save the baby first. Is it universally assumed that humans do not treat the animals as our moral equivalents. In theory, any living thing is considered an animal if it is not a plant. (Of Cures and Creatures Great and Small)

As humans it is assumed that we have a moral requirement to prevent any animals of unnecessary suffering. However, as far as animal testing is concerned we are confronted with the moral dilemma of a choice between the welfare of humans or the welfare of animals. Some supporters of animal testing argue that moral rights and principles of justice apply only to human beings. Morality is considered as a social creation out of its eventual process in which we do not associate animals. Moral rights and moral principles are applicable to those who are part of the moral community generated by this social process. As animals are not part of this moral community created by these social processes our moral obligations do not extend to cover them. However, we do have moral obligations to our fellow human being that involve the liability to decline and prevent needless human suffering and untimely deaths that in turn may entail the painful tests on animals. (Of Cures and Creatures Great and Small)

A review by the American Medical Association indicated that about 99 percent of active physicians in the US believed that animal research has given rise to medical advancement, and about 97 percent supported the persistent use of animals for basic and clinical research. (What Scientists Say About Animal Research) Scientists found that there are no such differences in lab animals and humans that cannot be used in tests. The Research Defense Society – RDS, a British organization instituted to defend animal testing, maintain that most of the complaints made against animal testing are not found to be correct and that animal testing generates valuable information about how new drugs react inside a living body. Tests are continued to detect major health problems like liver damage, enhanced blood pressure, nerve damage or damage to the fetus. Research revealed that the drugs can be distorted by digestion, and become less successful or more toxic and that such difficulties cannot be examined by applying cell samples in test tubes. (Vivisection: Fact Sheet) If animal testing were to be outlawed it would be impossible to attain the significant knowledge that is necessary to eliminating much suffering and premature deaths for both humans and animals. (Animal Experiments)

Arguments against testing

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