Animal TestingIt happens every day. A patient suffering from a painful skincondition feels more comfortable with a drug that was once tested on rats.
Another patient who has been given only months to live gets a reprieve througha procedure considered safe after initials experiments in pigs. Since thebeginning of medical history, scientists have relied on the use of animals totest new substances and procedures to determine their safety and effectiveness.Because many medical practices that are currently used were tested in thisfashion, may believe that it is the most effective and practical way to obtainthe desired information. However, those opposed to use animals for suchexperiments argue that the data obtained from them is often ambiguous, and thecruelty inflicted on these creatures does not justify any positive outcome thatmay result, in addition, the fact that other more accurate and cost-effectivemethods are available to test new medications and procedures further bolstersthe argument that the continuation of this practice is not justified.Therefore, animal experimentation should be abolished because it isunreasonably cruel, the findings it produces may be invalid, and since othertesting methods are available it is completely unnecessary.The fact that many medical practices that are currently in use,such as antibiotics, insulin, and some vaccines were deemed safe and effectivethrough animal testing cannot be denied (Boyd 1991).
However, the validity ofresults gleaned from animal experimentation is often dubious, and frequentlyhas little relevance to actual conditions that cause disease, each animalspecies is different biochemically and biomechanically; therefore, each onereacts differently when chemical substances are introduced into its system.Hence, testing drugs intended for humans by feeding or injecting animals withthem will not necessarily provide information regarding how well humans willtolerate them. For example, penicillin kills guinea pigs, yet they can safelyconsume strychnine- one of the deadliest poisons for humans. Monkeys, which areoften used for medical testing because their genetic similarity to humans,tolerate strychnine with little or no repercussions.
Aspirin, considered astaple in human medicine cabinets, is deadly for cats (Dutt 2016).Consequently, the FDA is forced to pull drugs that have been tested as “safe”on animals when it was later learned that humans could not tolerate them (Chatham2016). Additionally, because the conditions in which animal experimentsconducted are artificial, these conditions are not necessarily conducive torelevant findings. Because human disease cannot be recreated in animals, theymust be “mimicked” and the results will no longer resemble the original diseasethat an organism produced on its own (Dutt 2016), although it is sometimespossible to recreate symptoms of a disease, the actual disease itself is notpresent, so conducting experiments in this fashion often has virtually nopertinence.Proponents of animal experimentation claim that the practice ismorally acceptable because they believe that animals’ lives and experience havelesser value than those of humans (Chatham 2016). Yet, if the purpose of studyinganimals is to use their reactions to drugs “stimuli” or surgery as anindication of what these same procedures might do to humans, then animals areindeed comparable creatures, making experimentation on them immoral. BernardRollin, Professor and Director of Bioethical Planning at Colorado StateUniversity, provides a sound argument for this premise with an analogycomparing humans to rats in the psychological testing arena.
He states, “Eitherthe rats are relevantly analogous to human beings in terms of their ability tolearn by positive and negative reinforcement, in which case it is difficult tosee what right you have to do things to rats that you would not do to humanbeings, or the rats are not relevantly analogous to human beings in thesemorally relevant ways, in which case it is difficult to see the value instudying them” (Rollin 1996). Rollin makes an excellent point: if the object ofthis type of experimentation is to find the similarities between animals andhumans, then there is no justification for inflicting a kind of suffering onthem that would be considered immoral if administered to humans.Another concept Peter Singer cites as a reason to justify animaltesting is the claim that animals do not feel pain the same way that humans do(Singer 1990). Ironically, animal research conducted to prove this pointdetermined only that it is impossible to detect whether animals can or cannotexperience the same level of pain as humans (Langley 2016). What is known isthat is difficult to measure the level of pain in animals, this is becausetheir natural protective instincts are to hide its discomfort, for instance:wild animal is in pain it will remain quiet and in silent and those are signsof distress, but different animal species have different pain-relatedbehaviors, as well animals that will be used for food and animals that are ourpets or companions will have a unique way to express their pain. Disruptivebehaviors can show us pain in animals, but there is a tool that was invented in2007 “The Glasgow Composite Pain Scale” which is able to measure the pain indogs (Nolan 2015).It is true that animal experimentation has sometimes been aneffective method to find cure or even reproduce organs, some people may arguethat it is the best and safe method for testing new drugs and procedures. Butusing animals for research is unnecessary because many of the experiments haveno useful outcome, and other effective methods are available that do not useanimals.
For instance, during the space race between Russia and United States,both countries did animal research using monkeys, dogs, rodents, etc. Many ofthe animals had low fat body and they were forced to live in high gravitationalareas, to be sit in the centrifuge to simulate the launch and landing, as wellsit for long hours period (some monkeys were tied to a chair) (Burgess 2007).All these experiments where repetitive for many years using the same animalstill get the desire data.
The unnecessary cruelty inflicted on these animal isnot acceptable, the fact that an astronaut will be sitting in one place only,being centrifuge in the training for many hours, and live in gravitationalareas for extended periods is irrational. Also, a survey of scientificliterature conducted by the Animal Welfare Institute detailed a case ofpsychological pain-producing aggression testing inflicted on dogs. Afterfrequently mistreating the animals, experts found that aggressiveness hadincreased (Rollin 2012). In addition, pain, stress and death provoke to animalsduring experiments having in debate for long time. In our days with technologybeing improved every day and more knowledge of our DNA chain there are otheralternatives that can be used, such as: computer software (Computer Aided DrugDesign -CADD). Software generates reproductions and they are used to foreseethe several likely biological and lethal effects of a chemical or possible druglive sample without a dissection, used of in vitro cells and tissue culturesare another alternative that involves the growth of cell outside the body of ananimal (for instance a rat with a human adult ear on his back which was createdin a lab on 2013), and alternative organisms (bacteria/virus, invertebrates,fungus, and microorganisms) (Doke 2015).Finally,animal experimentation is unreasonably cruel and subject animals to painfultests, even though the desire data has often already been documented.
Forinstance, the Tobacco Institute and the American Cancer Society have beentrying to prove each other wrong about the dangers of cigarettes smoking bytorturing dogs. The tobacco proponents tried to prove that the dogs would notget lunch cancer after connecting them to a machine that force the to inhalesmoke with every breath. To disprove this The Cancer Society researches cut thethroats of dogs and insert smoke-emitting tubes directly to the animal’s lungs.In this case, the dogs that manage to survive were killed anyway, so theirlungs could be examined microscopically (Dutt 2013). These experiments not onlywent on for months but also continued although was proven that smoke tobaccocaused cancer, therefore the experiments were unnecessary.
And other similarexperiments had been used to get enough data on toxicity of lead, rat poison,etc. To determine the lethal doses of these substances the researchers forceanimal to inhale or to eat them these toxics substances till the half or 75% ofthe group died. Survivors had several sequels in their skins, brain, muscles,etc (Boyd 1991). The cruelty inflictedon these animal is real and barbaric and there is no justification forperforming them. Animal experimentation is one way to determine the safety andeffectiveness of new drugs; yet is not the only way. Animal testing should beabolished because its cruelty makes it immoral, because the availability ofother effective ways of experimentation makes animal testing unnecessary.