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Animal Testing for Pharmaceuticals: Ethical or Unethical?

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a foundation that has been described as “by far the most successful radical organization in America” (Carlton). The keyword “radical” is a perfect adjective used to describe PETA. According to the co-founder and president, Ingrid Newkirk, they pursue total animal liberation from serving humans which clearly means no meat and dairy, but also means no medical research using animals. PETA and other protesters of animal testing may not realize it, but, at one point, they have most likely received vaccines and antibiotics in order to treat infections.

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Protesters need to make a wise decision: is it wise to protect a laboratory mouse that may end up dying in a short time span, or to protect the life of a loved one, or even themselves? An example of this includes the vice president of PETA, Mary Beth Sweetland, who is a Type I diabetic, and is only alive to this day because of daily injections of insulin, which has been developed by medical testing using dogs.

Animal testing for medical research is necessary in order to improve life for humans (Murray).

Because animals are biologically similar to human beings, they are susceptible to many of the same health problems and share similar metabolisms and genotypes which make them good candidates for research. Another question to consider is this: should a new vaccine’s side effects be tested on a sample population of 1,000 human beings or on 1,000 animals? Clearly, sacrificing an animal’s life in order to create advancements in medical research is much nobler than watching thousands or even millions of humans suffer and die from diseases that can be easily prevented by animal testing.

Animal testing is defined as “the use of animals in experiments and development projects usually to determine toxicity, dosing and efficacy of test drugs before proceeding to human clinical trials” (www. biology-online. org). Many believe that animal testing seems unfair and harsh for the animal due to the fact that they do not have the option of voicing their opinions and personally volunteering for the various procedures. Many also believe that the animals possess emotions, because if they did not have emotions, there would be no chances of becoming attached to their owner.

They are also capable of feeling pain when they are hurt, which is confirmed by their whimpers, moans, cries, etc. Animals also endure much stress while they are not in their natural habitat, which can cause inaccurate results (Ernst). Typically, the critics of animal testing mainly focus their attention on the grounds of morality, whether one deserves the authority to perform such tests, and whether those tests are truly needed and if the results truly provide legitimate information. The supporters of animal rights also say that scientists are not allowed to intervene with animals just because they can.

Deaths through research are considered unnecessary and technically no different than murder, while animal dissection is considered misleading (Derbyshire). The major disadvantage of animal testing, stated by Alan Goldberg and John Frazier of the John Hopkins Center for the Alternatives to Animal testing, CAAT, are “animal discomfort and death, species-extrapolation problems and excessive time and expense” (Murray). Supporters discredit this statement by putting emphasis on the fact that treatment of animals in tests is mostly administered with anesthesia.

Animal testing is also quite costly; animals must be fed and housed and scientists must repeat the experiment a number of times to assure accuracy, which causes many additional costs and deaths. Critics still argue that animals not kept in ideal habitats and animals in distress cause inconsistent and inaccurate results anyways. Accordingly, those against animal testing argue that animal testing should be banned completely (Galaitsis). Between the general public and those directly involved, both the arguments for and against animal testing are going to continue for quite some time.

Those who are completely against animal testing believe that any type of testing associated with the use of laboratory animals should be completely banned and done immediately, such as PETA. Nevertheless, it is easy for one to argue that an absolute ban on the use of animals will slow medical processes and the possible production of various vaccines which would, as a result, put the health of many at stake. While thoroughly considering both sides of the argument, the only successful way of creating new cures and medicines is to continue animal testing until a legitimate alternative is found.

One is not able to argue that all animal testing is useful in every case, but at the same time, all animal testing cannot be banned. Continuing to test on animals until a truly effective alternative is achieved is essential, but until that time comes, testing on a reduced number of animals is necessary. Animal testing may be morally questionable, but devising an alternate route to be taken in the near future is near impossible and will take much more time to figure out. Studies are currently taking place in order to develop alternate methods of testing, but they are not developed enough.

Many scientists hope to decrease the number of laboratory animals used. The concept of alternatives has been suggested by the famous concept of the three R’s. The three R’s include the following: reduction, refinement and replacement. Refinement stands for the decrease of severity or inhumane procedures that animals have to endure, replacement stands for the substitution of animals for methods such as in-vitro techniques and computer softwares (www. english. iup. edu). The animal rights movement does not recognize that if animal testing were banned, conditions would be quite different.

For example, an achievement of animal testing includes the effectiveness of penicillin and other antibiotics that were established through research involving mice. Scientists simply use animals in order to decide which antibiotics are effective against certain organisms, their level of toxicity, and the possible side effects. Another controversial aspect of animal testing that protestors fail to consider is the fact that animal testing not only helps human life, but also the life of the animals themselves.

Clearly, PETA completely resents life-saving medical research. The organization has repeatedly attacked medical groups including the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, March of Dimes, and the American Cancer Society for administering animal tests to look for cures for birth defects and diseases. Newkirk was asked if she would oppose an experiment on five thousand rats if it would result in a cure for aids and she responded by saying “Would you be opposed to experiments on your daughter if you knew it would save fifty million people? Newkirk believes that “There’s no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all animals. ”

She believes that animals should have the same kinds of protection as humans, because PETA sees no difference between animals and humans (ethically). Newkirk also mentions that “We are asking kids to get hooked on kindness, not killing” (Carlton). She clearly implies that killing is not acceptable, although that statement completely ontradicts what PETA does. From July 1998 through December 2009, PETA killed over 23,000 dogs, cats and other companion animals because they believe that the animals should be put out of their misery (Ernst). The animals being killed daily could easily be tested on. The world as a whole has advanced in the past century due to animal experimentation. Animals should be seen as heroes that have improved almost every aspect of today’s society, and not as poor helpless creatures.

Michael Fox, a professor at Queen’s University of Kingston Ontario, opposes animal experimentation and has based his theory on “the principle of malfeasance. ” This principle states that it is simply wrong to harm creatures that do not want to hurt you. The problem with this statement is that it contradicts to majority beliefs. Humans value the life of an animal much lower than a human life. For example, some experiments can only be done on animals. We could not subject a human to a potential toxin or other harmful chemicals.

Some other experiments measure life expectancy and would be impossible to perform with humans. Still, other tests require numerous samples from a population similar in various physical conditions such as weight or genetic make-up . The findings of such experiments could be very important towards the benefit of human beings. It has been recorded that “54 of 76 Nobel prizes awarded in physiology or medicine since 1901 have been for discoveries and advances made through the use of animal experimentation ” (O’Donnell). Consequently, it is evident just how important animal testing really is.

There are some animal rights activists that are under the impression that the animals being tested are put into inappropriate and unacceptable situations, but there are many organizations such as the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, and the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, that are under specific lab rules and regulations that make certain that the animals are being tested in the most humane manner possible (Galaitsis)

Clearly, it is not possible to simultaneously give animals untested drugs, diseases and vaccines, and advocate animal rights. Not considering the beliefs regarding animal rights, if one involves themselves in any activity that is lethal to animals or even controls their reproduction, living space, etc. , it is clear that they believe there is a distinction between animals and humans in order to make those activities reasonable. Performing more animal research is necessary in order to increase and advance human understanding. The words “animal experimentation” should be linked to a positive connotation and should be seen as a procedure that simply advances the world’s appreciation of nature and disease.

Works Cited

“Alternatives to Animal Testing. ” IUP English Department. Apr. 1998. Web. 09 May 2010. <http://www. english. iup. edu/eaware/animaltesting2000/alternatives. html>. Animal Testing – Definition from Biology-Online. org. ” Life Science Reference – Biology Online. 3 Aug. 2008. Web. 28 Mar. 010. <http://www. biology-online. org/dictionary/Animal_testing>. Carlton, Danny. “Quotes From The Animal Rights Movement. ” Right Wing News. 2009. Web. 09 May 2010. <http://www. rightwingnews. com/quotes/animal. php>. Derbyshire, Stuart. “Animal Experimentation. ” Animal Experimentation Is Ethical. (2009). Web. 14 Mar 2010. Ernst, Stephanie. “PETA’s Euthanasia/Killing Record: Ingrid Newkirk Responds. ” Animals Change. org. 30 Mar. 2009. Web. 02 May 2010. <http://animals. change. rg/blog/view/petas_euthanasiakilling_record_ingrid_newkirk_responds>. Galaitsis, Alex. “The Oberlin Review Online. ” College of Arts and Sciences & Conservatory of Music – Oberlin College. 11 May 2001. Web. 02 May 2010. <http://www. oberlin. edu/stupub/ocreview/archives/2001. 05. 11/perspectives/article16. htm>. Murray, Joseph. “Animals Hold the Key to Saving Human Lives. ” Los Angeles Times. 05 Feb 2000 early ed. : 5-6. Print. O’Donnell, Denise. “PETA Employees Face New Charges. ” American Veterinary

Cite this Animal Testing for Pharmaceuticals: Ethical or Unethical?

Animal Testing for Pharmaceuticals: Ethical or Unethical?. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/animal-testing-for-pharmaceuticals-ethical-or-unethical/

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