This paper aims at discussing animals testing by giving the arguments from the proposers as well as the critiques of the procedure. It demonstrates major arguments like every medical discovery relying on animal testing and counter-arguments like its cruel to animals and yet it cannot be relied upon to give similar predictions in humans. A critical analysis approach is employed to guide me in taking a stand relating this issue. In conclusion, animal testing is not really needed and other alternatives should be sought to accomplish the same task.
Animal testing is the exploitation of non-human animals in carrying out various experiments in the determination of the safety levels of different cosmetics and household products or for medical research purposes. It is also commonly referred to as animal experimentation or animal research. Many animals are employed in these experiments and include; fruit flies, rabbits, guinea pigs, laboratory-bred mice among others (PeTA Media Center para.1).
Currently, due to advancements in various fields and professions, it is estimated that the number of vertebrates animals used in research runs into millions annually with universities and research institutions topping the list. The animals are very useful in pure scientific researches. Basically, this is in studies like genetic engineering, drug tests and behavior investigation in biomedical sciences and also toxicology tests in cosmetics or even in reproduction.
After meeting their purpose and providing results of the experiments, most of the research animals are mercy killed either by the use of chemicals or other laboratory procedures. The animals to be sued for such purposes are specifically bred for these reasons in isolated labs or may be obtained from specialized authentic dealers. In addition, they may also be hunted for in the forests or their natural habitats by scientists and their assistants.
Animal testing has many pros according to its supporters. The use of animals in testing has been ongoing with the Greeks being credited to have used live animals for medical tests. It has progressed to the 19th century where famous scientists like Louis Pasteur induced anthrax in sheep and Pavlov used the dog to demonstrate his classical conditioning theory. The proposers like the British Royal Society are of the opinion that the medical discoveries that occurred in the 20th century are a result of the utilization of animals in research.
The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research also argues that animals offer the best models for scientists to use in their biomedical research so as to simulate the biological functions and organizations of a human being. Furthermore, they state that even sophisticated computers cannot be able to replicate the interactions between the cells, tissues and organs of the human body (The National Academies Press para.1-5). This, therefore, necessitates the use of animals.
According to Shandilya (para.2), animal testing has played a major role in helping scientists develop vaccines for diseases that once killed many people. These diseases include; polio, Herpes Simple, Rabies among others. Furthermore, animal testing has contributed a lot to the sophistication of medical procedures for example the pacemaker technology and also determining blood pressure. Anesthesia drugs and technology that are currently used in relieving pain in humans are also a consequence of the same. Presently, the future looks brighter for AIDS patients as the medical world has seen progress in the development of a vaccine using animal models.
Despite its pros, it has received many criticisms from various sectors. Organizations that are concerned with animal rights and welfares together with some scientists have argued that the use of animals in tests is cruel and outdated and that the animals also have an inner right not to be subjected to scientific experimentation (PeTA Media Center para.2-4). The use of animals has been accused of being poorly regulated and hindering other important medical research as a result of the use of animal models which do not assume a true role as humans. This results in the unreliability of prediction of the true effects in humans. In addition, the costs that have been associated with the use of animals in research have at times surpassed the accrued benefits of the whole research.
According to Bantwal (para.5), animals have at times indicated dissimilar reactions to human beings when used for drug test experiments like developing vaccines. Assuming these differences is going to be costly to the health of people as the results may turn otherwise than expected. An example is the Thalidomide Tragedy that occurred in Germany. After being tested for safety in animals, it was administered to pregnant mothers and this resulted in birth defects to the children born of these mothers. The same can be replicated in the future if scientists continue relying so much on animal testing.
Alternative to animals has shown many benefits like saving millions of animal lives all over the world, showing increased reliability and efficiency as compared to animal tests, they are less costly and consume less time.
Also, these studies of non-animal tests are not withheld by differences in species which usually makes generalization much difficult (PeTA Media Center para.1). Non-animal methods which are frequently employed are more effective and usually employ much humane research methods includes the following; human population studies where small samples are employed and the results extrapolated in the general population, volunteers who are willing to be study subjects due to expected benefits as a result of the research and the application of modern technology of in vitro, computer modeling techniques and genomic technology.
Many countries have embraced these alternatives and in the near future animal testing will be minimal or even eliminated. Since 2002, Europe has made efforts to minimize and phase out products related to animal testing. Recently, the US is making efforts to reduce animal testing for alternative methods.
Although credited for major medical discoveries, animal testing is cruel and causes a lot of suffering to the animals. The supporters have given credible reasons to justify their stand but the same results have been shown by the use of alternatives. These alternatives are in fact cheaper and reliable than animal tests and hence should be embraced. With many organizations fighting for animal rights in different countries, there is hope for a turn of events. By so doing, many animals would be saved from inhumane treatment and death that is uncalled for.
In conclusion, animal testing is the use of non-human animals in carrying out various experiments in the determination of the safety levels of different cosmetics and household products or for medical research purposes. However, the procedures employed are cruel and cause much distress to the animals and should be discouraged in all cases. With the advent of many alternatives to animal tests, there is hope that this archaic behavior will fade away in the near future.
Bantwal, Natasha. Arguments Against Animal Testing. Buzzle. 2009. Web.
PeTA Media Center. Alternatives: Testing Without Torture, 2010. Web.
Shandilya, Ranjan. Animal Testing Pros. Buzzle. 2009. Web.
The National Academies Press. Why Use Animals? Science, Medicine and Animals, 2004. Web.