Why Animals are Necessary: An argument in Support of Animal Testing
There have been numerous detestations against the use of animals for research. A number of animal rights activists have in fact waged protests against companies and individuals who make use of laboratory animals to conduct scientific studies and to develop new products like cosmetics, household products and medicines. Those who are against animal testing argue that the use of animals for research and experiment characterizes an unnecessary and pitiless form of cruelty to animals.
It is, however, herein argued that animal testing is necessary and it is, in fact, not as savage as its detractors claim it to be. This paper will show and justify these claims by enumerating the several reasons why man must continue to make use of animals to alleviate physical sufferings and to be able to come up and develop effective, safe and better products for human and animal use.
Animal testing is necessary to find cure to man’s illnesses and other health problems.
The answer to many of man’s health problems is dependent on the use of animals for research. This is so because the physical make-up and structure of animals have significant resemblance to that of the human body which makes animals good substitutes for humans in testing the efficacy and safety of many medicines and pharmaceutical products. The contribution that animal testing has contributed to the world of medicine cannot be ignored such that many, if not almost all of the medical treatments humans use and are available today have been tested on animals (“Animal Experiments”, 2004). Immunizations against such devastating diseases as rubella, diphtheria and polio, for example, have become available because of animal tests that were conducted to find cure for these diseases (Trull, 2002, p. 45). Without animal tests, it would also be difficult to find cure to many of the diseases that continue to inflict man and even cost many lives. Victims of Alzheimer’s diseases which now number to millions will not be able to find cure to their disease if animal testing is not continued. Recent developments in researches that seek to develop a cure for devastating diseases such as the Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome (AIDS) and cancer that cause the loss of thousands of lives will be halted if animal testing is not pursued. Without animal testing, victims of many diseases will become hopeless.
Animal testing is necessary because alternative methods are currently not as reliable. The reason why animals are used in testing products that will be used by humans is the physical make-up of animals that has a great degree of resemblance to that of the human body. This physical resemblance enables scientists and researchers to gather biological data and information that are needed for developing medicines. This biological information also happens to be unavailable in plants and while there have been recent development in the use of non-animal methods such as computer modeling, and in vitro and genetic research, these methods were not developed to replace animal research but simply to supplement it (Trull, 2002, p. 45). Moreover, these non- animal methods are still being developed which necessitates that testings must continue to be done to an intact living system which is an animal (Guither, 1998, p. 80). In addition to this, there has been difficulty in the scientific community as to finding competent, safe and reliable alternatives to animal tests. This is because it takes several years to validate alternative methods and those methods that are currently available were developed without using the latest technology (Daston & Mcnamee, 2005). Thus, the use of animals to determine the effectiveness, toxic level and possible side effects of drugs, cosmetics and other products remains to be the primary and most reliable method that is available today.
Animal testing is necessary to secure humans from unsafe and dangerous medications and products. Animals are not only used to test the effectiveness of new medications and products. They are also used to check the safety of products so no human users will be harmed when using them. If products are sold in the market without being tested on animals, users of these products which range from medicines, cosmetics and household products are put in danger. Products that have not undergone animal testing are generally considered as unsafe and may imperil the lives of their users. This is demonstrated by several medical tragedies that have
occurred because humans have used products and substances that were not used first or experimented on animals. In the 1930’s, for example, a number of women lost their vision and at least one was reported to have died for using an eye mascara that contains a substance that can cause corneal ulceration in the eyes of its users (“The Care of Use”, 2002). The substance called p-phenylenediamine was not tested on animals. Another tragedy which happened because no animal testing was conducted was the case of an antibacterial medicine that was dissolved in an antifreeze. The medicine was marketed without prior animal tests and since antifreeze is toxic, the medicine has resulted in the death of 107 people (“The Care of Use”, 2002). Animal testing therefore guarantees the safety of using drugs and similar products.
Animal testing is necessary because it is unethical and dangerous to experiment with untested substances using humans. The welfare of humans and human life are more important and valuable than that of any animal. This is the reason why it is unethical and dangerous to use humans to test new drugs and substances. By using animals in research and experiments, medical researchers will be able to determine the safety and effectiveness of medicines and other products without risking the lives and safety of human subjects. This explains why animal test results on new drugs have to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to determine whether the drug is safe enough to test in humans and, if so–after all human testing is completed –to decide whether the drug can be sold to the public” (Cohn, 1987). By trying on potential substances and formula on animals, researchers will also be able to determine the harmful side effects of medicines and similar products they are experimenting on. If tested products were found safe and effective, they can be used by humans. If animals are not used to determine the safety and effectiveness of products, humans will be obliged to try them which may have disastrous and dangerous consequences. Government regulations therefore necessitates that substances should be tested on animals first before trying them on humans. The importance in the use of animals in preliminary experiments and research is currently evident in
the development of medicines for AIDS. A substances that is suspected of being potential in curing the disease is tested first on animals “to find out how it works in the body, what unwanted side effects it can cause, and if it is effective against the illness” (Segal, 1987).
Animal testing is necessary to improve the welfare of animals. While detractors of animal testing can consider it an irony to conduct animal tests to improve the health and living conditions of animals, it is indeed true that some animals have to be used in studies and experiments for the benefit of more animals. Animal testing and research, for example, are necessary for veterinary institutions to come up with ways to prevent animal diseases. Animal tests are conducted to learn about animal health, breeding, welfare, stress and management so as for researchers to come up with vaccines and standardization of veterinary medicines (Swabe, 1999, p. 145). For this reason, many animals become healthier because of research and tests that were conducted on some animals. As such, animal tests that were done for the purpose of improving the conditions of animals have resulted in life saving and life -extending treatments for many animals. Reproductive techniques learned from studying the breeding and reproductive characteristics of animals, for example, have been resulted bringing promise in preserving animal species that are in danger of extinction. In addition to this, vaccines for rabies, distemper, parvo virus, infectious hepatitis, anthrax, tetanus and feline leukemia have become available through the aid of animal testing. (Trull, 2002, p. 45). These breakthroughs in veterinary medicine can contribute for longer and healthier lives of pets and many other animals
The downside of animal testing is what animal testing opponents claim as the cruelty inflicted on animals during research but this too is already being taken care of. Government- imposed rules and regulations in handling laboratory animals are already being observed. These protocols assure that the use of animals in research is humane as much as possible and that the use of animals for any given research is necessary and potentially beneficial to sufficiently warrant the use of animals (Degregori, 2002, p. 50). As such, it is important to note that the use
of animals in laboratory for research and experiment purposes is not as cruel, unnecessary and savage as what many of the method’s detractors and opponents claim it to be.
It has been herein argued that despite the many criticisms and detestations of animal rights activists on the use of animals for research and experiment, animal testing is still necessary. The necessity of animal testing is evident in the quest to find cure to man’s illnesses and other health problems; in securing humans from unsafe and dangerous medications and products; and as well as in improving the welfare and conditions of animals. Animal testing is also necessary because alternative non-animal methods are currently not as reliable. It is also unethical and dangerous to experiment with untested substances on humans. Recent developments in government regulations have also dealt with the problem on issues of cruelty on laboratory animals. These justifications have invalidated the claims of animal testing opponents that the use of animals in research and experiments is cruel and unnecessary.
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