Humanbeings have historically used animals for different purposes(including transportation, food, recreation, and sports), but animaltesting is currently considered as one of the most extended uses.Scientists use different animals (such as hamsters, mice, pigs, andrabbits) to conduct laboratory experiments, with the objective oftesting the efficacy of potential drugs, cosmetic, and thetherapeutic procedures. Developed countries exploit the largestnumber of animals, where the U.S. exploits about 1.13 million, U.K.utilizes approximately 3.71 million, and Germany exploits 2.113million animals in laboratory tests (Doke 224). Although these testsare supported by the facts that they allow scientists to utilizecomplete systems, provide results within a short duration, and complywith ethical considerations, they lead to cruel treatment, providemisleading results, and cost more than the benefits that they bring.
Argumentsagainst animal testing
Animaltesting is inhumane and cruel
Animalsthat are used in scientific experiments are deprived of foods andsubjected to cruel conditions, such as forced inhalation, physicalrestraint, and burns. In some cases, these animals are killed by neckbreaking, exposure to carbon dioxide asphyxiation, and decapitation(Doke 224). Keeping subjects in certain conditions is one of the keyaspects that are considered during animal testing. Scientistsmaintain the required environmental conditions by confining animalsin laboratory or in special cages. Confined animals are at a higherrisk of suffering from stress and other psychological disorders. Someanimals are deliberately injected with disease-causing pathogens inorder to study the development of diseases that affect human beings.Animal testing is an example of self-centeredness, where human beingssubject animals to cruel treatment in order to solve their ownproblems. These painful processes demonstrate the lack of care on thepart of the scientists, who rely on animals or their body parts toassess the effectiveness of different therapeutic and cosmeticproducts.
Animaltesting may produce misleading and harmful results
Animalsand human beings have a different genetic composition. The resultsobtained from these tests may not be applied in human beings, whichrender most of the animal experiments irrelevant. It is estimatedthat the failure rate of animal tests ranges between 92 and 94 %(Mark 115). These results indicate that it is only 6% – 8 % of allanimal tests that help scientists come up with products ortherapeutic products that can be used to address issues (such asdiseases) that affect human beings. The high failure rate isattributed to the fact that some experiments pass the animal tests,but result in adverse effects on human bodies during clinical trials.Alternatively, scientists discard products and therapeutic proceduresthat could work in human bodies on the grounds that they failed toproduce desirable results during animal tests. Therefore, animaltests are wasteful and ineffective.
Animaltesting is quite expensive
Themonetary value of any scientific procedure should be considered inorder to ensure that the anticipated benefits exceed the cost. In thecase of animal research, scientists exploit millions of animals eachyear, but only 8 % of their experiments succeed (Mark 115). The needto house, feed, and give specialized attention to animals reared forscientific experiments makes the tests costly. Most importantly, theapplication of the word “test” implies that scientists engagethemselves in trial experiments that can be performed more than onetime. Scientists may be required to perform more than one trial inorder to verify the results and correct errors that were made in theprevious experiments. The need to repeat experiments increase thecost incurred during animal tests to an extent that the final resultmay not cover all expenses. From a broader perspective, the 8 % ofsuccessful animal tests may not cover the expenses incurred duringthe 92 % trials that are either unsuccessful or lead to adverse sideeffects (Mark 114).
Thestakeholders who support the use of animals in laboratory experimentshold that human life comes first, which implies that a claim of crueltreatment is invalid. Subscribers of this school of thought believethat scientists are able to follow rules that regulate scientificstudies to ensure that they only subject animals to pain that cannotbe avoided in any way (Ranganatha 29). In addition, supporters of theanimal testing argue that almost every medical breakthrough in thelast one century is directly attributed to animal testing (Doke 224).Consequently, a claim that the results of animal testing aremisleading is baseless. Moreover, it has been argued that alternativescientific procedures (such as computer models, cell cultures, andtissues) replace animal models and produce equally viable results.The invitrocell culture is cheaper and can save the life of millions of animals(Doke 224).
Argumentsfor animal testing
Animaltesting is the most viable option for testing drugs on a whole system
Animalshave complex biological systems that resemble those of human beingsin many ways. Animals provide scientists with the opportunity to testtherapeutic procedures and drugs using interrelated systems thatinclude the immune, central nervous and endocrine systems (Doke 225).For an instant, the process of evaluating the side effects ofdifferent drugs requires the existence of a complete circulatorysystem that can deliver the pharmaceutics product to differentorgans. It is easier to study the transfer of drugs and their effectwhen using animal subjects. The opponents of the idea of usinganimals claim that there are alternative methods and models that canbe exploited in the place of animals. The application of tissueculture or computer-based models can help scientists get quickerresults without killing animals or subject them to unfair treatment(Mark 116).
Animalshave a shorter life cycle that leads to quick results
Theprimary objective of engaging in scientific studies is to findsolutions to pressing challenges, such as killer diseases. Theseverity of the challenges makes it necessary to apply the optionsthat will yield results within the shortest time possible. Animalsare preferred because they have a shorter life cycle as compared tohuman beings. The short life cycle allows scientists to study theeffectiveness of drugs, therapeutic processes, and cosmetic productsover the entire lifespan of the animal models (Doke 227). However,the difference in the size of the life cycle suggests that animalsand human beings have biological systems that develop at differentrates. This suggests that the biological systems of animals and humanbeings are likely to function and react to drugs in different ways.These differences result in high failure rates, where successfulanimal trials produce adverse outcomes during clinical trials.
Ethicalconsiderations require animal testing to be performed before clinicaltrials
Itis considered to be more unethical to conduct invasive and lethaltrials on human beings than performing the same trials with animals.This argument is based on ethical considerations that preventscientists from putting the life of human volunteers in danger beforetesting their products on animals (Ranganatha 29). Human life isprioritized over animals because they lack the moral judgment as wellas cognitive ability to discover that they are treated differentlyfrom their human counterparts. The opponents of the ethicalconsideration hold that animals have rights and should be protectedfrom cruel treatment. However, animal testing in scientific studiesis a highly regulated practice, where standard operating proceduresand laws (such as the Animal Welfare Act) are set to ensure thatscientists do not subject animals to unnecessary mistreatment(Ranganatha 29). Therefore, the pain that most of the animals feel iswithin the reasonable levels.
Animaltesting is widely supported by the facts that it allows scientists tocarry out their tests in the complex systems, provide quickerresults, and comply with ethical guidelines, but it subjects animalsto cruel treatment, provide misleading results, and costs more thanthe financial returns associated with its outcomes. The crueltreatment of animals, the high risk of adverse effects from drugsthat have been proven to be effective through laboratory experiments,and the high cost incurred during animal testing indicates thatscientists should consider alternative procedures. Although animalmodels provide complex biological systems and more rapid results dueto their short life cycle, well designed computer models can providesimilar outcomes without raising any ethical suspicion. Animals maynot have the capacity to make judgments, but they can feel pain,which justifies the need to protect them from unnecessaryexploitation. Therefore, animal testing should be prohibited in orderto protect the rights of animals.
Doke,K., and Dhawale, C. “Alternatives to animal testing: A review”.SaudiPharmaceutical Journal23 (2015): 223-229.
Mark,W., Evaniew, N., and Ghert, M. “Lost in translation: Animal modelsand clinical trials in cancer treatment”. AmericanJournal of Translational Research6.2 (2014): 114-118.
Ranganatha,N. and Kuppast, J. “A review on alternatives to animal testingmethods in drug development”. InternationalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences4.5 (2012): 28-32.