Animal experimentation is the process by which live animals are put through various tests. They are introduced to certain conditions that cannot be exposed to human beings for fear of the complications that are unknown and may result to death in the end.
The experiments are run on various animals such as guinea pigs, rats and even monkeys. They are used in the place of human beings because they display genomes almost similar to that of the human beings. There is still another reason why animal experiment is carried out and this is to find out about various characteristics of the animals themselves and how they may react to various circumstances (Smart &William 19). Some people may find the procedure of animal experimentation as being right and fine and others may be wholly against it. There are indeed advantages that may come along with trying out animal experimentation in the end to the human beings. Taking a quick reference from the act utilitarianism, an act or activity is judged morally right depending on the number of individuals it will benefit in the end.
What this theory leaves out is that there is a party that may suffer especially the weaker or the minority group. The act utilitarianism looks better in theory than in practice because in many instances, we cannot carefully analyze a situation and even have the ability to predict the future of that particular act. However, this theory is considered superior since its main goal is acquiring the multitude happiness of the highest number of people. Using the act utilitarianism animal experimentation is necessary since it can be used to reduce human suffering in the medical field. It is more important to sacrifice the suffering of several animals to carry out investigations and tests that may result into the breakthrough of a certain cure or vaccine that may help thousands of people or even the humanity at large for many generations. In such a situation, it is not noble to let people continue dying just because some researchers were discontinued from using animals for their experiment.
In the long run if a cure is found or a vaccine there are more people who will benefit and this translates to a higher number of people who are happy. The suffering of animals is what may be the reason why some people oppose the act utilitarianism in this context. However, it can be seen that the suffering of the animals can be reduced to a minimum with the use of anesthesia when carrying out procedures that may be uncomfortable or even painful. The conditions in the laboratory can be brought to suit the animal under experiment so that they may not undergo the suffering and can hence continue with the tests without raising much alarm for the activists (Fox 36). In most countries such as the United States of America or even in the United Kingdom, most prescription drugs before they are exposed or released to the human beings for consumption have to be tested on the animals to ensure that they have negligible or no toxicity at all. This is indeed important since it seeks to protect very many people from harm or suffering if they consume toxic medication. Sample animals for the experiment are used to test in this case to ensure the safety of thousands or even millions of people. Act utilitarianism point out that some animals such as the chimpanzees share about ninety-nine percent of the genes with the human beings and the latter shares slightly less with other animals.
It can be immoral to carry out a test of a medicine or a chemical on a human being for the first time, exposing them to all sorts of complications or even death. This could have been tried out on a non-human animal that is not greatly dependable by other animals. For example, if a child is used and they die or are incapacitated for life they run the loss of not being helpful around the house or even growing up to bring up a family and taking care of their aging parents. Animals on the other hand are greatly prolific and learn to take care of themselves the moment they are born and hence are not dependable on one another (Ellen and Jeffery 43).
As mentioned before the act utilitarianism is theoretical, carrying out the actual procedure may be rather tasking, and so many other parties may be compromised in the process. For instance, some animals may be exposed to various types of bacteria and virus and if the researches are done, carrying out experiments on them may release them to the wild, having not carefully gone through the prognosis of the previous treatment. The animal may hence transmit the condition they developed from the laboratory and may end up in a pandemic in the forest or jungle and this may even make a particular species extinct. The animal experiment in this case had started to serve the larger good to a highest number of people but it ended up destroying generations’ ecological set-up and animal history.
The actual analysis of the facts shows that very few medical breakthroughs have been made through human experimentation. Almost half of the prescription drugs approved in the United States of America and the United Kingdom for human consumption through the animal experiments have been withdrawn because they manifested into the side effects that were harmful to human beings. This also results into millions of animals dying in experimentation leading to a niche in the ecological balance of the animal kingdom (Francione 24). With the wake of technology animal experiment have advanced to the cloning of the animals that has seen the value of life discarded.
This does not lead to the happiness of a greater number as the scientists will have the attitude of creating and destroying animal lives at their disposal. The animal experiments give human beings the mentality that animals are objects and this raises moral questions; is there a degree of morality when it comes to handling different living beings. The chimpanzee with one percent less of genes as the human is exposed to the animal testing and yet human beings are not.
To test a certain drug on a human being, their consent is necessary but in the case of animals, they are just forced to go ahead with the procedure. There are alternatives in testing drugs such as tissue culture of human cells and hence this is bound to be more accurate in the findings. However, this does not cross out animal testing as in the case of veterinary medicine, which requires only animals to be used for the accurate findings.
Ellen, Paul and Jeffery, Paul. Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research. Chicago: Transaction Publishers, 2001. Print Fox, Michael. The Case for Animal Experimentation: An Evolutionary and Ethical Perspective. London: University of California Press, 1986.
Print Francione, Gary. Animals, Property and the Law. New York: Temple University, 1995. Print Smart, John and William, Bernard. Utilitarianism: For and Against. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.