A Case against
The use of animals in commercial and scientific testing has been acontroversial issue for many years. It is estimated that at least 26million animals are used for this purpose in the United States everyyear. They are mainly utilized for the measurement of toxicity andsafety of substances intended for human use. Therefore, the primaryapplication has been in biomedical sciences and the development ofdrugs. The controversy is based on the fact that there are anenormous number of proponents and opponents, who have launched aspirited defense of their position (Eskes & Whelan, 2016). It isimportant to highlight the fact that there are national andinternational laws that protect the rights of animals, especiallywhen they are used in scientific experiments. For example, inAmerica, the Animal Welfare Act defines the rights of animals,although it is not all inclusive. It tasks the “InstitutionalAnimal Committees” with regulating experiments within theinstitution internally. There are other organizations such as US Foodand Drug Administration, US Department of Agriculture and Animal andPlant Health Inspection Services that have a role to play in theprotection of animals (Eskes & Whelan, 2016).
Therefore, the contentious issue has been whether the use of animalsin experiments is justified or not. This paper argues that animaltesting is cruel and unjustified because it is unreliable, wastefuland is not necessarily essential.
Although animal testing is widely used in scientific and medicalstudies, they are relatively inaccurate. Proponents are animal’swelfare and rights have argued have claimed that a significant numberof experiments fail and therefore it is erratic. It is estimated thatnine out of ten tests involving animals fail in the clinical trials.This is despite promising findings when other organisms such asprimates and rats are used. Consequently, animal experiments havebeen argued to be unnecessary merely because they do not work. Forexample, the use of dogs or rabbits to determine the possible effectsof a pharmaceutical substance on humans does not provide significantinsight. This is explained the fact in the majority of dangerousdrugs that have reached clinical trials stages, prediction oftoxicity based on animal testing statistically insignificant. Thisinaccuracy makes the use of animals in medical experimentsundependable, and, therefore, redundant (Burden et al, 2015).
There are several instances which illustrate the animal testing isunreliable and, consequently, dangerous. This puts the life of humansat risk, especially when scientists are unable to accurately predictthe toxicity of the drugs based on these tests (Van der et al, 20100.For example, when Vioxx was tested using monkeys, the drug did nothave any critical side effect. However, it is responsible for manydeaths and heart attacks throughout the world. Additionally, theresults of these studies put human volunteers at risk since they relyon them to make decisions. This has been reported in severalscenarios. Another example us the fialuridine, which was used inhepatitis B, caused fatal liver damage in patients, although it wasnot predicted during animal experiments (Eskes & Whelan, 2016).
The unreliability and dangers associated with animal testing arebased on the fact that they are different from humans. Although theymay share some of the DNA and body structures, they do not sufferfrom many of the diseases affecting man. For example, illnesses suchas Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia arecritical health challenges in the modern society but have not beenreported in animals. Rat species are the most commonly used animalsin medical experiments, despite the fact that we share with them lessthan 50 percent of the DNA. Other animals such as dogs and monkeyshave body systems that are significantly different from animals. Thisexplains why they can resist drug dosages that are deadly to humans.For example, Asprin is poisonous to mice while monkeys can withstandlethal doses of paracetamol. If these drugs were rated based on theresult of animal experiments, these medicines would not havewidespread use (Eskes & Whelan, 2016). This illustrates thatthese experiments are uncalled for.
Another reason why animal experimentation, especially in thepharmaceutical industry, has been criticized is the fact that it iswasteful. This is because despite millions of animals suffering inthe hands of scientists, on a handful of new drugs is approved foruse annually. Additionally, the approval is not universallyacceptable and is not wholly dependent on the animal testing.Advancement in technologies allows scientists to forego some of theseimprovident experiments. For example, computer modeling can be usedto accurately estimate the effects of a drug in the human body (Eskes& Whelan, 2016).
Nonetheless, some people have argued that scientists have been ableto develop solutions to some of the problems facing the modernsocieties through animal testing. They have claimed that althoughthey need adequate protection, their use in experiments isinevitable. However, there are no sufficient laws to protect thewelfare of these animals. There are also alternatives which are morereliable and less wasteful (Burden et al, 2015).
In conclusion, animals are subjected to varying levels of sufferingwhen they are subjects in scientific and medical experiments. Theethics and morality of animal testing have been a controversial issuefor many years. Although there are counterarguments, these tests areuncalled for because they are unreliable, wasteful, and the fact thatthere are alternatives.
Burden, N., Sewell, F. & Chapman, K. (2015). "TestingChemical Safety: What Is Needed to Ensure the Widespread Applicationof Non-animal Approaches?" PLoS Biol. 13 (5): e1002156.
Eskes, C. & Whelan, M. (2016). Validation of alternativemethods for toxicity testing. Switzerland: Springer.
Van der W, B, et al (2010). "Can Animal Models of DiseaseReliably Inform Human Studies?" PLoS Med. 7: e1000245.