Animal testing in medicine has been carried out since a really long time. There are three groups of people formed due to this scientific research using animals. The first group is for animal testing, the second against and lastly a group of neutral people, who show no interest. The following paragraphs will cover some facts and put forth the pros and cons of animal testing.
Animal Testing Pros
Animal testing is basically making use of animals in experiments carried out for the betterment of human lives. These animal experiments are carried out by universities, pharmaceutical companies and even by students and researchers at medical schools. These animals are either bred specifically for carrying out experiments or are caught from their wild habitat and locked up in cages. There are some pros that motivate scientists to carry out experiments on these animals. So, what are some of the good things that support the torturing of these poor animals? Let's see some of these animal testing pros that makes proponents of animal experimentation argue for use of animals in research.
Animal testing helps in finding ways to help save lives of animals and humans by testing lifesaving drugs and processes. A few animals tend to react the same way like humans in response to certain diseases and allergies. This helps the scientists find a cure for certain diseases by studying these animals. Open heart surgeries, coronary bypass surgery and heart transplantation are some of the procedures that came into existence by carrying out experimentation on dogs. Insulin for diabetes, lifesaving antibiotics, etc. have been made by experimenting on animals. Contagious diseases like smallpox, measles, chickenpox, rubella, polio, rabies, mumps, etc. were brought into control due to vaccines made by carrying out experiments on animals.
About 99% of the human genes are similar to that of the chimpanzees as well as a few other monkeys. Thus, experimenting with these animals gives scientists an idea about their possible reaction in the human body. As it is immoral to experiment on humans, chimpanzees and other monkeys remain the only option.
Treatment for scarlet fever, tuberculosis, complex surgical procedures for humans were tested OK for humans through animal testing. Tests for vaccines for diseases like AIDS is being carried out on animals. The common animals used for these tests include rats, mice, rabbits, monkeys, dogs, goats, horses, etc. Chimpanzees share about 90% of their genetic make up with humans. These animals have similar reactions and somewhat similar inner organs to humans that help in determining the effects of drugs and procedures on humans. Many transplantation operations were first carried out on animals, that helped determine and save lives for humans.
Animals are not only tested for making lives of humans better, but for the betterment of animals themselves as well. People often overlook the fact, that may breakthroughs in veterinary medicine has occurred due to this experimemntation. Animal surgeries, animal antibiotics, etc. have all come into existence, due to testing. Thus, animal testing pros prove it is very vital in saving not only the lives of humans, but those of animals as well.
Cell cultures are useful only when one needs to see the side effects at molecular level. In order to see other physical side effects such as rashes, acne, wheezing, cardiac problems, etc. one needs to use animals. Although, animal physiology is not similar to human physiology, the results acquired after animal testing, help gauge their effects on humans.
Animal testing helps in figuring out the safety of drugs on humans, before scientists begin the human trail. You don't want people getting adverse reactions to these drugs and adding more woes to their misery. The animal trials help minimize the chances of human death during clinical trials, saving pharmaceutical and medical organizations millions of dollars in compensation. Also, animals, like mice and rabbits, reproduce very quickly. This gives the researchers a chance to see the effects of the experiments on the progeny too. Now, let us see some of the arguments against animal testing.
Animal Testing Cons
When we speak about animal testing cons, there are plenty of emotional and ethical issues staring in our faces. The first con is the issue of pain the animal must be going through. Although, it is claimed none of the animals were hurt in the test, but how can one be 100% sure? Not all handlers are alike and some just jab the needles through their body, keep them in cramped up spaces, with little or no food sometimes. Animals cannot speak, so how can we determine whether or not and the level of pain the poor creature is going through?
Animal testing statistics show many creatures lose their lives during the course of experiments. Some lose their limbs, eyesight, hearing ability, etc. All in the name of saving human lives. Agreed, when people say millions of animals are killed worldwide for food. But, you can't compare that with the months of torture the animals go through while the experiments are on. Wouldn't you prefer being killed in one shot, rather than enduring poking needles, cuts and poisonous chemicals being injected into your system and being kept caged in a really small space for what seems like all eternity? You may wish to escape the dreaded place that smells of disinfectants, chemicals and may be sure death, but cannot.
There are many animal rights group that claim killing animals is inhumane. Animal testing in cosmetic industry as well as a household products is not worth the life of a poor animal. Experimenting using animals also proves to be a bit expensive. This is because the cost of housing, feeding caring for the animals is quite high. Animals are in a great deal of stress as they are not living in their natural habitat and the controlled environment may take a toll on their minds. Also, some claim animal experiments can be misleading as an animal's response to a drug cannot be absolutely similar to a humans.
People are now suggesting use of tissue culture, statistics and even computer models for carrying out the test. Animal rights also exist and abusing someone weaker than us is not right. The death of animals due to an experiment gone wrong is similar to murder of a human who was tested against his will. In human tests, at least humans are asked whether they would like to sign up legally for being tested. There are legal papers and documents that safeguard the rights of the human subject and compensate him for any kind of loss. Animals however, are never asked for their opinion and have never had their rights safeguarded. The obvious explanation being they do not have the understanding capabilities of humans. This does not give us the right to use another life for our benefits.
To find a cure for cancer, the animal cells are forced to grow abnormally, so that experiments can be carried out to find a remedy. With stem cell research and genetics getting a push, animals are subjected to further animal cruelty. Hybrid animals and cloning is carried out on the poor animals who are injected with genes of other animals within an embryo of another species. The resultant being a cross, that is either malformed or dead before being born. Do we have the right to reduce the dignity of animals by forcing mutations on them?
You can see both the sides of animal testing facts tilt the scales of the balance equally. Animal testing helps saves lives of millions of humans, but in turn, thousands of these animals lose their lives. It is an open fact, not all handlers and researchers handle the animals with care. Computers cannot predict an outcome, just the possibility and tissue culture cannot predict the physical implications of a drug like rashes, cardiac failure, etc. Similarly, testing cannot accurately prove the implications of drugs and procedures on humans. Pulling away babies from their mothers before they even get a chance to open their eyes, is not being human. Breeding animals only because you want to check the outcome of your drug on hapless babies is wrong. Till an experiment is a success, torturing hundreds of animals, be it a mice or monkey is rather totally unethical.
It has been proven that over 92% of drugs that claim to pass the animal trials fail when tested on humans by the Humane Society of the United States. This debate on animal testing pros and cons will continue till scientists do not find an alternative to this cruel process of animal experimentation. You can decide for yourself, whether you are for, against or just a mute spectator to animal testing. Every coin has two sides, so does animal testing. It is now up to each one of us to decide, which side do we choose.