Through the process of evolution, various species of animals, plants and human beings have emerged on the earth surface. Human beings have developed progressively from apes and they have become the most sophisticated creatures.
For example, human beings were initially hunters and gatherers, but they have over the centuries become independent food producers. Although human beings have advanced technologically, they still face myriad challenges such as diseases and pollution, which pose a great threat to their existence.
Science is arguably one of the greatest cultural accomplishments of human beings. Through experimenting ideas against facts, human beings have been able to examine the course of evolution.
Science has also enabled humans to solve challenges such as diseases. However, scientific research activities that involve animals have over the years generated contentious debates among scholars, politicians and animal rights activists. “Much of this debate centers on the moral value of involving animals in scientific procedures”. This research paper supports Haldane’s argument that proper rules and measures should be taken into consideration when using animals in scientific analysis.
In his article dubbed “some enemies of science,” Haldane persuasively argues against misuse of animals in experiments. He contends that many scientists inhumanly subject animals to painful conditions during experiments. David Suzuki has echoed similar sentiments in his persuasive essay about the suffering of animals during research activities. Just like Haldane, Suzuki strongly believes that scientists often handle animals recklessly during research activities.
Many medical researchers prefer using animals to humans in research activities. However, the use of animal specimens has received sharp criticism over the years. Haldane argues that studies that misuse animals should not be allowed because they contravene the concept of humanity. Haldane suggests in his article that animals have the right to live comfortably; therefore, they should not be subjected to harsh conditions.
Conversely, some researchers strongly oppose Haldane’s argument by contending that it is almost impossible to come up with any meaningful medical discovery without using animal specimens. “Supporters of this argument propose that the best solution to this debate is to improve the living conditions of animal in laboratories”. Supporters of Haldane advocate proper use of sedatives on animals during experiments.
The significant aspect of the debate about the rights of animals focuses on the issue of moral standing of animals. Several individuals recognize that animals possess some moral standing; hence, it is wrong to abuse them. However, researchers and animal rights activists have failed to agree on the amount of animal rights. Animal rights activists contend that animals and mankind have equal rights. Therefore, scientists should not kill animals during experiments.
Haldane is of the opinion that animals are not dissimilar from humans because they can experience pain and joy. Consequently, they must have similar ethical status and demand equal treatment. Proponents of Haldane’s point of view usually assert that denying animals the right to life is unethical. If it is ethically wrong to subject animals to harsh conditions, then studying animals creates serious ethical problems.
Animal researchers admit that animal studies should be conducted in a dignified manner. They also have the same opinion that it is unacceptable to involve animals in studies, if optional research procedures would generate equally applicable results. Moreover, the potential benefits of animal research are not yet confirmed.
Supporters of animal studies often contend that animals are inferior to mankind. They normally use this assertion as the basis to support the claim that animal experiments generate more benefits that override the pain experienced by animals during experiments.
“The equivalent case against it is that the level of suffering and the number of animals involved are both high and the benefits to humanity do not provide moral justification”. Arguments against misuse of animals have led to the adoption of stringent measures on animal rights in Europe and America.
Since 1928, when Haldane started criticizing lack of ethics in scientific research, the British government has enacted elaborate rules and procedures that must be adhered to before a scientist can be permitted to carry out experiments that use animal specimens. However, some scientists have criticized the numerous regulations required to conduct animal studies.
Such researchers argue that scientific inquiry is likely to be affected by unfavorable laws that limit the use of animals in research activities. Scientists also argue that if the government bans animal research, they will be unable to discover cures to life threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Therefore, failure to conduct animal research can lead to lack of solutions to life threatening conditions which can cause massive deaths of human beings compared to the few animals that could be lost during experiments. Researchers also argue that sedation makes animals comfortable during experiments.
Animal research can lead to immense suffering of animals if researchers fail to follow proper procedures and regulations. On the other hand, complete eradication of animal research seems to be unpractical in the contemporary world due to several scientific puzzles that need to be answered. Therefore, scientists should adopt the following measure to mitigate the suffering of animals during research.
The first measure is to use simple organisms such as bacteria and plants instead of reptiles and mammals. “This reflects a conviction in a ladder of ethical status with more complex animals at the top and microorganisms and plants at the bottom”. This assertion suggests that more sophisticated animals have better ethical status than the simple organisms.
The second alternative is to significantly mitigate animal experiments in research activities. Intensive literature reviews can reduce the need to replicate experiments. Therefore, animal research should only be recommended when there is significant need for new scientific information.
Animal studies can be minimized by ensuring that high ethical standards are observed and all information generated should be useful. In addition, properly planned research and suitable numerical analysis of statistics can reduce the quantity of organisms needed for numerically significant outcomes. Lastly, animals should be handled in a dignified manner during experiments to avoid unnecessary pain. For example, appropriate sedatives should be used during animal experiments.
It is evident from Haldane and Suzuki that animals have indeed suffered during research and it is out of their advocacy that ethical measures have been adopted in research. In my view, animal research should be mitigated because it leads to unnecessary suffering of animals. If scientists have to use animals, they should follow the right procedures to avoid hurting animals. Instead of using animals in research, scientists should be more creative in their research activities by developing and using alternative specimens.
Kennedy Institute of Ethics. The Human Use of Animals: Case Studies in Ethical Choice. London: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.
Paul, Jeffrey. Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research. London: Transaction Publisher, 2001. Print.
Price, Carl and John Haldane. Possible Worlds. London: Transaction Publishers, 2001. Print.