Animal testing has played a significant function in numerous medical and scientific developments during the 19th century and has continued to assist human in the discernment of different illnesses. According to Oborska, animal testing was legalized following the thalidomide tragedy which occurred during the late1950s and early 1960s.
Nonetheless, while animal testing is seen to have been of great use to the human society in the understanding of illnesses and their corresponding treatments, much debate concerning the topic has sprung up. Those are supporting the practice reason that medical accomplishments depend on animal use in some manner, whereas those against challenge its necessity.
These antagonists present a variety of arguments that; it is brutal, unreliable in predicting consequences in humans, poor scientific practice, and that animals have intrinsic rights and thus not to be used as objects of research.
Arguments for Animal Testing
Those for animal testing have argued that animal research is reasonable as it aids in the discovery of new ways of assisting humans as well as animals in the healing of diseases. The article by Matthews cites that, for success in the area of medicine, animal research is a necessity but only in the absence of other alternatives.
He further mentions that animal testing helps in determining whether the medicinal substance under research is harmful to individuals; therefore, ensuring human safety. Through animal testing, human suffering is reduced by the generation of valuable information on how newly discovered drugs respond within a body of a living organism (Matthews).
Wilkinson and Festing are of the view that, without animal testing, the currently used medicaments and procedures would not be existent, and establishment of treatments in time to come would be very limited. Animal testing is used in the trial of several products as face masks, shampoo, wrinkle creams, anesthetics, and new medicinal drugs across the globe.
They continue to argue that, as a result of surgery practiced on animals, organ transplant has been made possible. Vaccines for illnesses such as measles, polio, and tuberculosis have also been discovered because of animal testing. Moreover, the discovery of antibiotics, cancer treatment, and HIV drugs have all been due to animal testing. The most evolutionary advancements in reproductive health like the use of contraceptive methods in family planning are also attributed to animal testing (Festing and Wilkinson).
Also, testing animals is of use to the cosmetic industry. In Oborska’s view, the industry of cosmetics is about making profits, and thus the use of animal testing in the industry emits economic benefits. First, animal testing helps in the manufacture of products that are not harmful to the skin through testing of toxicity and mutation effects. If the tests show that the product is harmless, then the consumers can buy them increasing the profits for the industry.
Of all the cosmetics, she states, swine placenta has been regarded as the favorite of the cosmetics industry, not at all that it is inexpensive and is easily obtained but because of its biological likeness to the human placenta as well as its splendid skin healing attributes. Many cosmetic companies have resorted to animal testing.
As a result, rendering them capable of maintaining a competitive edge over their competitors as users continue to demand that industries avail safe products. Animal testing is useful in the determination of the harmful effects of a certain product on the environment (Oborska).
Arguments against Animal Testing
The analysis of Tannenbaum and Rowan literature suggests that animals must be equally and fairly considered. Their arguments are based on moral grounds and the justification of the procedure. They argue that animals have the right to live, and using them for experimental purposes is ethically and morally wrong. Making an animal blind just to get a new form of facial makeup is unjustified.
What is more, animals and humans react differently to drugs, and so the research results might portray inaccurate influences on a human, making it inapplicable. When an animal reacts positively to a drug, it does not necessarily mean that the drug is safe for humans as the results could be misleading.
In reaching this conclusion, they put the following instances into consideration; parsley is poisonous to parrots while in humans, it is used in flavoring food. Similarly, arsenic is poisonous for human beings while for sheep, it produces no harm. In human beings, morphine acts as an anesthetic, but if given to cats, they produce frantic excitations (Tannenbaum and Rowan).
Other arguments brought forth include the fact that AIDS research on animals has been ineffective. Animals infected with the disease have not successfully developed the same signs as those of human beings. Over ten years, more than a hundred chimpanzees have been infected with the pandemic, and only two have become sick. This indicates the ineffectiveness of using animals to find a treatment for humans. Thus, in the view of those against animal testing, the practice should be prohibited at once (Festing and Wilkinson).
Festing, Simon and Robin Wilkinson. “Talking Point on the Use of Animals in Scientific Research.” The ethics of animal research (2007): 8, 526 – 530. Print.
Matthews, Robert. “Medical progress depends on animal models – doesn’t it?” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (2008): 95-98. Print.
Oborska, Anna. “Alternatives to Animal Testing: A Review of Trends and Perspectives.” Issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries (2009): 42-48. Print.
Tannenbaum, Jerrold and Andrew Rowan. “Rethinking the Morality of Animal Research.” Hastings Center Report October 1985: 32-43. Print.