Professor Ed McCarthy
12 July 2018
Long debated, animal testing has proven to be successful in providing many uses to humans and animals worldwide. Uses including medicines and vaccines have given us an opportunity to thrive and overcome illness, all at the expense of animal lives. If we keep using animals for scientific research, we are allowing the inhumane treatment to continue instead of expanding our current technology to implement our ideas. Organizations, such as PETA, persevere through the decades of animal testing among others who understand the power we hold and what we should use to for.
Animal testing has been banned in many countries for certain uses. The UK has gone further than any other country as far as protections for animals go (Festing). The United States has limited protections for animals such as the Animal Welfare Act, that does not protect birds, mice, and reptiles (11). You may notice as you visit the store that some labels contain cruelty free, however, this does not mean the ingredients are cruelty free. The camouflage of details for products and how they were made is another concerning attribute of animal testing. Most of the cosmetic testing that is performed is with the animals that do not fall under any protections, creating a larger gap for misuse of these animals.
The money spent on animal research every year could benefit numerous other causes to benefit humanity. Instead of completely replacing animals upfront, we can steadily replace and refine how we use our money and resources directly into the cascade of cruel research methods for science and cosmetics (Festing). Animals testing is more expensive than any other alternative method and wastes animals lives in large amounts (Animal). Although many researchers would agree that animal testing is not preferred, the majority would choose it over all other methods because there isn’t anything else that compares. Chimpanzees, for example, are ninety-nine percent similar in DNA structure to humans (Animal).
The technological advances made since animal research first started have grown immensely helpful to humans and may one day replace animals. The whole body cannot be used when testing and is broken down into various synthetic systems that are tested (Animal). Not everything can be studied from the technology we use for these body systems. Animals provide the study of a complete body system. The research of cosmetics and household products is controversial because we do not need all of them, however, some could be life threatening if we did not know the toxicity and how to handle them.
The use of animals in research is incredibly complex and cannot be rapidly replaced. Even though alternative methods are a great start to the problem, accepting things as they come our way without in-depth knowledge and studies carried out over time could lead to harm to humans (Festing). As badly as we could want all animal testing to end today, advances in medical surgeries and medicines could pass by millions of people who need them. Even micro-dosing in humans, that micro-doses a pharmaceutical drug in human trials, cannot predict the maximal effects and dangers of that drug (Festing). Advancing other technologies, such as hollow-fibre systems, allow for larger success rates for treating cancer in humans and less animals tested (Festing).
Animals all over the world have been burned, prodded, and suffocated at the cost of humanity. Many of the drugs tested on animals do not pass in human trials (11). In the 1950s, the sleeping pill thalidomide caused 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities, but was tested on animals before it was released for public use (Animal). Cases such as this have happened time and time again and are proof that there are major differences in our biology compared to animals. As unethical as it may seem using animals for research, using humans would be even largely more unethical.
We aren’t the only benefitting organisms of animal research. Animals themselves have has major successes in diseases and vaccines such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, infectious hepatitis virus, tetanus, anthrax, and canine parvo virus (Animal). Animal testing has saved certain animal species from extinction and is backed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (Animal). Many animals that we have as pets would not be freely living among us if it weren’t for animal research, and us among them. Chris Abee, Director of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s animal research facility, states that “we wouldn’t have a vaccine for hepatitis B without chimpanzee” (Animal).
There are various methods to prove to be advantages for us as humans as well as animals. We continue to press forward in our search for a perfect solution to the use of animals in research. Many unethical approaches must be resolved and restricted to provide the best environment for the animals that are used for testing. Continuing to make advances in man-made technology or human trials will hopefully add to the reduction in animals used for research. We cannot change the past and probably wouldn’t when it comes to the numerous diseases that we have conquered. Animal testing will continue to be debated and moral ground is yet to be reached.
“Animal Testing – ProCon.org.” Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?,
Summary of pros versus cons in animal research.
Festing, Simon, and Robin Wilkinson. “The Ethics of Animal Research. Talking Point on the
Use of Animals in Scientific Research.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2002542/.
Summary of animal contributions past and present and the statistical data, technical approaches and ethical background of the United Stated and other countries concerning animals in research testing.
“11 Facts About Animal Testing.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change,
Summary of facts to induce change about animal testing.