Around twenty-five million animals are tested every year in the world for commercial and scientific testing. It is done to develop medical treatments, and medicines, determination of the toxic level of medicines, checking the product safety for the use of human, and kinds of commercial, health care and biomedical uses. Animal testing has been a major subject of debate. Let us look at the arguments in favor and against of animal testing.
What do proponents say about Animal Testing?
- People who favors animal testing says that animal testing facilitates the development of various life-saving drugs and treatments for the use of animals, and humans. It has led to the discovery of a polio vaccine, insulin, and hepatitis B vaccine. Animal testing is beneficial in the treatment of acute health conditions like breast cancer, childhood leukemia, brain injury, malaria, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, cardiac valve alternative, development of pacers, and anesthetic agents.
- There is no alternative measure to research a whole living creature. Stringent regulations against animal testing prevent the maltreatment of animals in labs.
- Animals are suitable research subjects as they share the same structure as that of human beings. 99% of DNA of Chimpanzees resembles like that of humans. 98% of genetics of mice is similar to genetics of humans. As humans and animals are a lot similar on biological grounds, they are prone to several illnesses, that includes cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
- Not just humans, but also animals are benefited from the outcome of animal testing. Testing vaccines on animals have saved a lot of them from rabies, feline leukemia, distemper, infectious hepatitis virus, anthrax, canine parvo virus and tetanus. Animal testing is also beneficial for saving the life of endangered species from getting extinct. Some of the examples being the black-footed ferret, Brazil’s tamarins, the California condor.
- Animal research is extremely regulated. There are laws to safeguard animals from mistreatment. Along with the state laws and local guidelines, animal research is controlled by the Animal Welfare Act.
- As per researchers, animals are treated humanely, for the sake of animals. Also, they provide reliable test outcome. “Research animals” are properly taken care by veterinarians, animal health technicians and husbandry specialists to ensure their overall well-being.
- Animal testing has been endorsed and advocated by various biologists and medical associations like American Cancer Society, American Physiological Society, American Heart Association, the Society of Toxicology and National Association for Biomedical Research.
What do opponents say about Animal Testing?
- There are majority of people who are against of performing animal testing. They believe animal testing is inhumane and a cruel act to use animals for experimentation. Locking millions of rats, dogs, mice, rabbits, cats, primates, and other animals in secluded cages in labs for performing experiments is illegal. They suffer in pain, extreme frustration, and loneliness, with an intense urge to get freed. Performing painful experimental procedures is heinous act done by human beings. Using animals for testing deprives them from environmental enrichment. The buildup of stress in them cause development of neurotic disorders. After withstanding pain, terror and loneliness, most of them dies.
- According to them there is no similarity in the biological structure of animals. Animals differ from humans on the basis of the anatomic, cellular and metabolic aspects. So, the research on animals doesn’t produce appropriate results.
- There are alternative ways available for researchers to replace the prevalent animal testing. Some of these methods are:
- studying cells in a petri dish
- Micro Dosing
- Artificial human skin
- Microfluidic chips or “organs present on a chip”
- Computer models, like virtual restorations of molecular structure of a human being.
- Some of the drugs that passes through animal tests are not safe. The sleeping pill “thalidomide”, that was tested on animals before releasing it for the commercial use caused severe deformities in 10,000 babies.
- 99% of animals that were used for testing are not safeguarded by the” Animal Welfare Act”. This law doesn’t cover mice, rats, birds, and fish that comprise almost 95% of the creatures used in testing.
- Most of the animals that are used for research dies as a result of the test procedures.
- No religion encourages people to cause suffering, pain and harm to animals by performing experiments on them.
Looking at the cruelty of animal testing procedures, government have come up with measures to reduce sufferings related to animal suffering. The non-animal tests procedures are more humane. They are more appropriate to humans and also have the ability to be affordable and quicker.
It is the responsibility of every person to prevent animal suffering. We should raise our voice against vivisection by purchasing cruelty-free products, opting for alternatives in place of animal dissection, donating to charities that do not perform animal testing, and demanding the instant operation of effective and humane non-animal tests through support of government corporations and agencies.