Animal Testing




Animal Testing

For centuries, animals have been used in medical research. Since 1875, animal experimentation has been an on going heated debate on whether experiments on animals are ethical. At the very start, the movement against animal testing focused mainly on the "inhumanity of hurting and killing living beings for experimental discovery" (Achor 95). However, in these few decades, scientific invalidity was one of the focusing claims to object to vivisection, which is an "injurious use of animals in laboratories and classrooms, whether for experimentation, product testing, training, or demonstration" (Achor 94-95). Animals are innocent and they are not able to fight back for any means of suffering. Therefore, animal testing should be banned due to the fact that animal experimentation does not benefit human health and it diverts attention away from reliable research methods.
The abolition of vivisection is supported not only by animal activists but also by "scientists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, veterinarians, and other medical professionals" (Achor 95), who discredit the scientific merits of animal experimentation. In contrast, some conservative physicians advocate the use of animal research because they believe that "accidental discoveries will lead us [them] to the advances" (qtd. in Achor 95) and "they are reluctant to adopt alternative methodologies, such as tissue cultures, which would require extensive re-training" (Bender 75). They believe that science cannot advance without animal experimentation. Other than some "old-fashioned" physicians, animal breeders, animal dealers, and animal food suppliers also oppose the termination of animal research because they will lose millions of dollars, which is supposed to be their profits.
Animal research cannot guarantee the effects of drugs on human beings. Every living system differs from each other. Predicting the reaction of one species by studying another species is not accurate at all. LaFoullette and Shanks depicted the truth that "even the most common drug given to humans does not have uniform effects in non-human animals" (26). Although mice and rats look very similar, their reaction upon certain drugs can be totally distinctive (Achor 104).
Roy Kupsinel, M.D. once announced that "animal experimentation produces [produced] a lot of misleading and confusing data which poses [posed] hazards to human health. For example, 4 million patients per year are hospitalized for side effects caused by ¡¥thoroughly tested\' drugs, and of those 50,000 die of the ¡¥cures,\' not the disease" (Achor 104). According to Davis, "aspirin causes birth defects in rats and mice, poisons cats, but does not affect horses" (qtd. in LaFoullette and Shanks 26). A well-known example of the misleading animal testing which harms human health is the thalidomide disaster. The box accompanying the thalidomide stated that after substantial animal tests, this drug was confirmed to be safe. However, birth defects were eventually caused if pregnant women had prescribed. This resulted in missing limbs in thousands of babies (Achor 104). In addition, there are many factors affecting the results obtained by animal experimentation, such as stress, age, diet, gender, isolation, and crowding (Dickinson 32). Thus, cases can be false positive or false negative. Some drugs are toxic for humans but healthy for animals; some are useful for human health but not in terms of animals (LaFoullette and Shanks 26). As a result, animal experimentation does not totally benefit for human health. Instead, they may harm human beings.
Focus on animal research eliminates choices on other reliable research methods. With the recent objection of animal testing, more scientists started to pursue other research methods. As we expected, the non-animal researches are superior to animal research (Achor 102). One significant example is the Ames test, which examines if materials are to be carcinogens or not. This test is performed by "introducing a suspected carcinogen to salmonella bacteria. If the substance causes genetic changes in salmonella bacteria, then the substance is very likely carcinogenic" (Achor 102). This test takes a few days to complete.
Mobil Oil Company adopted the Ames test to examine petroleum-based products, and this only took them 48 hours and cost $600. Comparing with animal tests that they previously used, Mobil Oil Company has saved up to $50,000, two and a half years of time, and 30,000 animals which are supposed to be using in animal testing (Achor 102). Instead of animal experimentation, some other successful alternatives without killing animals include