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Arguments For and Against Animal Testing in the US

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2267 words Published: 10th Aug 2021

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1.0 Introduction

The Greeks believed that animals were a lesser form of life because animals could not think like humans did. Furthermore, this thought was continued by Christians who claimed that animals were less significant because they had no soul (Vivisection, 2002). Animal testing is the use of live animals for research in order to better understand the effect of certain substances towards human health. This application has been widely carried out in many industries. Numerous animals have been used for animal testing, such as guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs and mice. The issue of animal testing has become a worldwide focus these days due to arguments brought up by those who are against animal experimentation.

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Unquestionably, the practice of animal experimentation has increased tremendously compared to the past. According to Shandilya (2008), it is estimated that 20 million animals are used for animal experimentation yearly for the purpose of medicine and for testing other products. Findings from studies indicate that less than 10 percent of pure psychological researches use animals as test subjects, which do not include animal subjects used for cross-over medical experimentation (American Psychological Association, n.d., cited in Harding, L. , 2001). However, there are some who state that animal experiments are cruel and immoral, besides violating an animal’s rights. This has caused many individuals to agree with the movements of anti-vivisection organisations due to brutal treatment towards animals.

Although there are laws regarding animal testing enforcing the reduction in the use of animals for vivisection, opponents of animal experimenting are still debating about the subject of legalizing it.

If we view this subject from a broader perspective, it can be seen that animal testing should be legalized as it aids scientist in the discoveries of new drugs and treatments to make health and medicine better, an animal’s life does not hold as much value as a human’s, and it is the most precise way to find out the effects of substances on a living organism.

This research paper will explain why animal testing should be legalized. Research findings are confined to the United States of America, since the subject of animal testing is highly debated there and the progress of this issue in the US is relative to other countries. 

2.1 Animal testing helps in the development of drugs and treatments.

Currently, humans are often exposed to various diseases which are life threatening, which includes existing diseases or new forms of diseases due to mutations and changes in the environment. Hence, researchers are working hard in finding cures for all these illnesses. From here, it can be seen that animal testing is essential in the sustenance of human health. Animals will be used to study the effect of newly invented drugs, whether it will help in curing the disease.

Speaking of the positive outcomes of animal testing, this includes the development of new medicine and treatments. Derbyshire (2004) mentioned that many medical advances used animal testing; dogs were used to develop the production of insulin, whereas primates were utilized in the manufacture of a powerful anti-rejection drug, cyclosporine. Besides this, discoveries of various vaccines have evolved through animal experimentation. From here, it can be seen that animal testing can guide us to discoveries of new knowledge about living organisms.

Many drugs have been invented to fulfill the aim of remedying diseases. However, the side effects of newly invented drugs remain unknown. Therefore, animal testing allows the evaluation of the danger of drugs before being used upon humans which will greatly reduce the risk before any human based trials are carried out (About Animal Testing, n.d.). Drugs that are tested safe can then be used to save millions of valuable human lives. The future of medical science still relies on animal testing, and this clearly shows a need in legalizing animal testing.

There are some people who claim that the effects of drugs tested on animals may not be the same to humans. Arthritis drug Vioxx, which caused 140 000 heart attacks and strokes in United States of America, was withdrawn from the global market even though it appeared to be safe when tested in animals (Archibald, 2004). However, scientists have proven that animals are extremely alike to humans and experiments done on them would produce similar results obtained through future human experiments (About Animal Testing, n.d.). Hence, carrying out animal testing on drugs would improve the quality of human life indirectly.

Therefore, to sum it all up, animal testing should be legalized because it assists researchers in medical treatments besides drugs discovery, improves health and medicine and is able to test the safety of drugs. Alternatives of animal testing are not as plausible as they are not as accurate as the results obtained from tests conducted upon animals. Hence, animal testing should be encouraged instead of being suppressed.

2.2 The importance of human lives is given priority over animal lives.

Differences existing between humans and animals cause animals to receive treatments which are different and unequal although both of them are alive. As animals differ from humans as they do not have conscience, they are considered inferior to humans when it comes to the value of life. Seeing that the lives of humans are viewed as more valuable than animal lives, animals will have to be sacrificed in animal experimentation.

The pros and cons of animal testing were debated with both sides being able to produce solid reasons for their stands. From the view of sentiency, it is mentioned that all living things are morally equivalent. However, the lives of humans are superior over the lives of animals (Garner, 2005). Authorities have to make a choice between the welfare of humans and the welfare of animals. Which one is more important, the life of a human or the life of an animal? As Archibald (2004) points out, most people are willing to sacrifice the lives of animal in animal testing to save human lives.

Even though human welfare is the main concern, the welfare of an animal is still taken into account by minimizing the suffering of animals when conducting animal experimentations. The Animal Welfare Act had been formed and reviewed constantly to protect animals and decrease the number of vivisections carried out (Monamy, 2000). Every experiment involving the usage of animals is normally administered with anesthesia. In conjunction with this, the experiments will not be repeated or animals used will be euthanized when brutal treatment is involved. Animal testing can be accepted as it allows the improvement of human life quality without the suffering of animals (Garner, 2005).

Those who are against animal testing argued that animals have the right to live peacefully. Animal testing is regarded as unkind treatment towards animals as it violates animal rights as their lives are valuable as well (Le Fanu, 2003). Nevertheless, their arguments are weak because animals lack the sense of judgment, and therefore are not subjected to moral claims and animal rights (Cohen, 1986). Hence, they cannot be compared with human life. As long as the animal is experimented upon without pain, the welfare of the animal is not violated. Therefore, it is acceptable to legalize the activity of animal testing as human life should be prioritized.

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Although there are many who are against animal experimentation, the points asserted are not h3 enough to discontinue the activity of animal testing. Supporters of animal testing affirm that animals should not have equal rights with humans as both of these cannot be compared. Animals lack the sense of judgment, thus human lives always come first before animal lives. Animals are considered to be protected as long as animals receive minimum amount of suffering. So animal testing should be legalized in order to save more human lives.

2.3 Animal testing is helpful for studying the effects of substances.

Many new chemical substances are produced every year to meet the demand of the global market such as in agriculture, medicine and cosmetic products. The credits should be given to animal testing. The effect of that particular substance has been studied to produce countless helpful products. This can increase the longevity of humans besides improving the human standard of living.

By conducting experiments on animals, the researcher can gain invaluable information from the living specimen. Winston (2006) mentioned that 70% of the Nobel prizes for physiology or medicine are contributed from animal testing. Hence, it is clearly shown that by performing researches on animals by studying the effects of a substance can bring a huge impact upon the world. The discovery of knowledge will be delayed or remain undiscovered if animal testing is not carried out.

As stated by Le Fanu (2003), primates offer the best experimental models as they have 99% similarity in genes with humans. Animal testing can be carried out on primates to ensure the safety of some drugs before being tested on humans. The chance for both organisms exhibiting the same effect is high due to the similarity of their genes. This in turn can reduce the risks faced by humans when commencing the trials. Hence, animals are good tools for learning the effects of various substances.

In spite of this, people who are in opposition to animal testing argue that it must not be legalized just because animal experimentation leads to medical breakthroughs and the outcome is more rewarding. This statement is insufficient to justify the drawbacks of animal testing (Derbyshire, 2004). On the other hand, it is proven that the beneficial outcome outweighs its drawbacks, so it is rational to legalize the activity of animal testing. Without studying the effects of substances using animal testing, most of the major vaccines against disease like polio, rubella and hepatitis B used today would not exist (Derbyshire, 2004). New drugs undergo in vitro research, computer modeling and animal testing before being tested on humans. Thus, every step is vital in this process of studying the effects before a drug is introduced into the market.

In short, the effects of a substance can be study by carrying out animal testing which can provide invaluable information besides the anatomy of some animals are similar to humans. Even though animal experimentation its disadvantages, there are still many benefits that can gain by carrying out animal testing. Thus, legalization of animal testing must be accepted. Moreover, it can be a good tool for education and research purposes.

3.0 Recommendation

Normally, the usage of animals for animal testing delineated as cruelty towards animals and should not be legalized. However, it is impossible to ban the practice of animal experimentation due to the benefits brought by animal research towards mankind. Animal testing is a noble action to sustain the welfare of humans. Since the practice of animal testing cannot be stopped, the welfare of animals can only be protected by another approach.

The principle of “Three Rs”, that is “refinement”, “reduction” and “replacement” can be practiced. The researchers are pledged to reduce the number of animals used when performing a research. To use the least number of resources to obtain the fastest results, researchers have the tendency of using a smaller number of animals during their research. This is an act that showed the willingness of mankind to reduce the cruelty towards the animals. Besides this, scientists were asked to lessen the degree of suffering of the animal. This can be attained by exclude some needless harmful actions involving the animals. Lastly, alternative methods should be used whenever possible to replace the usage of animal testing (Derbyshire, 2006).

For instance, the welfare of animals can be secured by doing so. The practice of animal experimentation should compromise between the welfare of humans and animals so that harmony can be achieved. Animal experimentation still can be practiced, and the laws should be strictly enforced so that it is not violated by irresponsible people.

4.0 Conclusion

Due to the increased usage of animal testing, the issue of animal experimentation is getting highly debated and remains relentless. After examining several points, it has revealed that animal testing should be legalized as it helps in the progress of medicine and health, human life is more valuable than animal life, and helps to learn the outcome of a substance on a living organism. Day by day, anti-vivisectionists try to rule out animal testing by looking at this issue from the animal’s point of view. Concurrently, supporters of animal experimentation were able to refute their arguments, by claiming the welfare of humans should always come first before animals. They viewed the subject of animal testing from a broader perspective and the long term advantages that come from animal experimentation. Life is never perfect, some sacrifices have to make to achieve success for a better future. Nonetheless, animal research should be carried out as its advantages are more significant than the disadvantages.


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