Mark Twain once wrote, “I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.  The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it” (Twain 26).
Most people find themselves in a dilemma when confronted with the subject of animal testing in research. Although many people support animal testing for the sake of basic research, and biomedical research, others believe that forcing animals to suffer distress, fear, and pain, regardless of the purpose or the outcome, is unethical. There is evidence that suggests that several aspects of research projects on nonhuman primates, and even other animals, are most often quite disturbing. Torturous experiments on animals have been heard of, and most people feel uncomfortable amount animal experimentation and testing. In fact, it is an emotionally charged issue that has been surrounded by heated controversy in the United States for many years.
After reading various anti-vivisectionist materials, the conclusion can be reached that animal testing is ethically and morally wrong. The continuous exploitation of animals is a problem throughout the scientific community. Although many support animal testing because it is for the greater good and is necessary, but there is evidence that suggests that it is the lack available alternatives that that animal testing is still carried out. It is not justifiable to exploit and use animals just because we cannot create alternatives. This argumentative paper takes the stance to point out the wrongs of animal testing, to prove why animal testing is an archaic, immoral, and an unethical practice that needs completely abolished so that new alternatives can be created and the lives of innocent animals can be spared.
Animals are entitled to rights, animals matter!
Humans have no right to use animals for their own gains; therefore, it is wrong to use animals for scientific experimentation. The idea of animal rights is resisted by many people. To some extent, it might be true that acknowledging animal rights is a bit absurd. Critics argue that acknowledging animal rights would mean granting them every single right that a human being has, such as the right to vote. However, a very objection to this argument is that even an infant does not have the right to vote or other rights that adults have, but they still posses the right to be treated with respect. Similarly, animals do not need to have every right that a human being possesses in order to be treated humanely. Similarly, the argument that animals are inherently, relatively less valuable than human beings is also invalid. Animals are matter as much as human beings do for various reasons.
Animals are sensitive, thoughtful living creatures, with distinct minds and personalities. It is unfortunate, that this perspective is overlooked and ignored when it comes to experimentation and testing, and animals are treated as sentient beings. The honest and disturbing truth is that living, breathing animals are “progressively transformed from holistic ‘naturalistic’ creatures into ‘analytic’ objects of technical investigation” (Lynch 266) because of being experimented on. Like human beings, animals have emotions, moods, thoughts, unique personalities ("UTexas"), they feel fear and pain (Bocco). So there could be no explanation that could possibly justify confining them and simply ‘using’ them. These living beings become nothing but tools. Even moral philosophy and religion to a great extent would not agree to cruelty, distress, pain, suffering, and torment that animals have to suffer in laboratories.
What happens to animals behind laboratory doors?
Animals are used by experimenters, scientists, and vivisectionists for the testing of cosmetics, drugs, chemicals, and a variety of household products that are used by us today. Many animals suffer distress, pain, and lasting harm during these tests, and many of these animals die during testing. Even when experiments and/or tests are not being conducted on them, animals are still under stress in laboratory settings because of being kept in arid plastic containers or wire cages. The following kinds of experiments are carried out on animals in laboratories:
▪Medical research: Scientists testing drugs and surgical techniques on animals before approving them for human beings. They cause brain damage in these animals, genetically modify them, give them cancer, infect them with viruses, and surgically mutilate them, simply to try to recreate human diseases ("Animal Aid").
▪Psychology research: To study changes in their behavior, scientists intentionally deprive animals of sleep, give them electric shocks, starve, and torment them.
▪Product testing: To test whether or not new agricultural and industrial chemicals, cosmetics, food additives, and household cleaning products are safe, scientists poison and kill animals in the process ("BUAV"). They also force-feed the animals potentially toxic substances, drip chemicals into their eyes or rub them into their skin ("PETA").
In other types of experiments for various researches, scientists even burn animals, inject or scald them with chemicals, maim them, and poison them with chemicals and gases. After going through such inhuman procedures, it is only imaginable how low the survival rate of animals used in such experiments might be. One prominent example is the Botox experiments, in which 50% of the mice die every year, before a batch of the cosmetic product is deemed safe to be used by human beings.
What animals are tested?
Many characteristics of human beings and animals tend to be similar. The organ systems and skin of an animal are similar to those of a human being, and animals project emotions and react in the same way that a human being does. Generally, birds, cats, cows, cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs, primates, rabbits, rats, and reptiles are used for experimentation, research, and testing in laboratories. Every year, more than a hundred million animals are subjected to clinical experiments ("PETA"). Most supporters of animal testing believe that these animals are merely used in hope of improving human life and to make progress in the field of medicine. However, the truth is that many of these animals are used for the testing of products. Each year, experiments are conducted on hundreds of thousands of animals in order to determine the dangers and outcomes of cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and other personal care items ("PETA").
Where do these animals come from?
There are many laboratories and special companies that specifically breed these animals for experimentation, research, and testing. They even capture other animals, such as primates, from the wild. Research companies even buy animals from licensed dealers. They even obtain animals from wretched places such as puppy mills. Some of these deals seize animals from pound. They also go as far as using sedatives to lure in animals from the streets, and sell them off to laboratories ("PETA"). The thought that the animals that are being treated harshly in laboratories might have once been pets that were adored, loved, and treated like family, is quite disturbing. Animals do not deserve to suffer as they do because of animal testing and it is rather heartbreaking to learn that many people actually support animal testing, for whatever reasons.
Arguments against animal testing
Animal testing is an antiquated and obsolete practice, yet researchers want us to believe that tests on animals were not conducted; it would be a huge setback for the medical field. However, modern research in the recent years has been suggesting that animals do not serve as good models for the human body in most cases.
Time and time again, it has been revealed by articles in reputable medical journals that by continuing with animal testing, experimenters are not only wasting animal lives but human lives as well. Normally, animals would never contract the diseases that animal experimenters try to infect them with. There are several arguments that can be made against the claims of those who support animal testing.
“Fewer major medical advances can be attributed to animal testing.”
There is barely any evidence that supports the claim that most major medical advances can be attributed to animal testing. Animal testing rarely contributes significantly to medical advances and most of these experiments are barely relevant to human health (Haylock). In fact, many experimenters undertake animal experiments just out of curiosity and most of them do not expect to make a big medical breakthrough. The presumption that animal experiments help human beings is nothing but a misconception. It is because the potential of animal testing and the role it plays in the medical field is magnified and overstated by experimenters, the media, and universities that people actually believe it (Cohen, Kaufman, and Ruttenberg).
“Results of experiments and tests carried out on animals are nothing but dubious.”
When conducting research on human diseases, scientists use animals (a completely different species), artificially induce conditions they are never likely to contact, keep them in distressful and unnatural environments. It is obviously doubtful and uncertain to expect the results to be applicable to human beings. Similarly, the physiological reaction of one species to a drug can vary from another’s. Moreover, animals that are used in laboratories for testing are usually psychologically disturbed and stressed. Researchers and scientists agree that “Results taken from a stressed animal are scientifically invalid” (Lipow).
“Animal experimentation is barely making any difference.” (Haylock)
The United States spends billions of dollars are spent on animal experimentation and testing every year. Even though the funding of animal experimentation and testing continues, life expectancy in the United States is still comparatively quite low while infant mortality rates are very high. Similarly, cancer rates are continuously rising, and the only reason there has been a slight decline in the rates of heart disease and strokes is because people made certain lifestyle changes. Moreover, health programs and organizations in the United States are finding it hard to operate due to insufficient funding. It is clear animal experimentation and testing is not making much of a major difference, and if the money spent was used fund the health care, it would actually help people.
“Most experiments cause animals to suffer and should therefore not be justified.”
Ironically and disappointingly, the Animal Welfare Act that is supposed to regulate how animals are treated in scientific experimentation and testing fails to do so. “Nothing in this Act applies to anything lawfully done under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986” ("Legislation.gov.uk"). In other words, the Act is permitting scientists to legally use animals in experiments regardless of how distressing or painful they might be. The Animal Welfare Act does not even prohibit experiments that are excruciating or trivial, and does not require that experimenters use pain-killers. Federal laws barely protect animals used in laboratories since birds, mice, rats, and reptiles are not included in the Act.
“There are several other options other than animal testing.” ("PETA")
According to human clinical and epidemiological research has proven that there are more accurate, more humane, more reliable, and less expensive alternatives to animal testing, such as human cell- and tissue-based research methods. For instance, hen’s eggs have a membrane lining that is full of blood vessels that can be used for testing the effect of chemicals on the eyes (Luepke) rather than testing them on the eyes of living animals. The physiological responses of human beings and animals to certain tests can be determined by using computer simulation and cells grown in test tubes. Animal testing is not the best science, it is an archaic tradition that has lasted so long and still continues because scientists are biased towards using animals in experimentation and testing. They now have numerous alternatives and can create many more, they just do not want to.
“Animal testing is unnecessarily cruel.”
It has been concluded that animal testing is not necessary but at the same time it is cruel as well. All living creates deserve to be respected and it is immoral to make animals suffer. Much like human beings, animals also “have beliefs and desires; perception, memory, and a sense of the future” (Regan). Similarly, animals like human beings feel fear and pain (Bocco). So from an ethical viewpoint, claiming that animal testing benefits medical research is no excuse for the cruelty that undergoes in laboratories.
“Animals are not here so that humans can use them however they wish.”
Those who support animal testing often argue that it justifiable and worth it to sacrifice as many animals as necessary if it means that it could benefit just a single child. However, the truth is that it is not justifiable because we would probably never agree to experiment on an intellectually-disabled human being even it was beneficial for a thousand children. Every living thing in this world is valuable and superseding the value of any living thing’s life, regardless of its potential for being beneficial to another living thing, is ethically unacceptable.
Why animal testing continues to persist?
It is obvious that animal testing has its flaws and is not as necessary as it is made to appear. Thus, there are quite a few shocking reasons as to why animal testing is still persistently carried out.
1. The persistence of animal testing actually protects chemical and pharmaceutical companies in legal situations. For instance, if an adverse drug or chemical reaction results in the death or disability of a human being, a responsible company can escape from being accountable (Greek, Greek, and Goodall ) by stating that legally prescribed ‘safety tests’ had already been performed on animals.
2. Publishing animal experimentation is easier. In academic science, scientists can simply take an existing well-defined animal model, and use a new species or change a variable, and acquire interesting, new results within no time. All they care about is academic success, regardless of how many animals are harmed in the process.
3. Scientists are well-aware how perseverant animal testing is, and that it is likely to never go extinct. In fact, they are glad about it because adopting alternatives to animal testing is not easy for researchers trained in animal testing, and continuing makes it easier for them to get grants that fund their professional status and salaries.
4. Animal testing is lucrative ("Uncaged"). Using animals to carry out tests ensures secure financial support. Just by carrying out animal research, medical centers are able to acquire millions of dollars in funding every year. To prevent their revenues from declining, they therefore praise animal testing to legislators and in the media.
Upon nearing the end of this research paper, the conclusion can be reached that it is a moral imperative to bring an absolute end to animal exploitation for the purpose of experimentation and testing. Animals deserve the same moral consideration as human beings because they are also thoughtful to some extent, if not as much. The mention economic and personal interests indicate the value of animal testing is blatantly magnified and overstated. Investigating human disease processes through animals is nothing but a cruel, unsound method, and the results are more often dubious. The billions of dollars that are being spent to allow this archaic practice usually go to waste. Thus, abolishing animal testing once and for all, and spending money on clinical research and public health care would be more ethical and appropriate.
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