Animal testing or animal research is the use of any non-human animals in conducting a laboratory research. Some researches result in the ultimate death of animals, and others are just concerned with the observation of natural behaviors. From time immemorial, animal testing has been used to study the effectiveness and safety of drugs produces for human use. While supporters of animal testing believe that it is a necessary practice, opponents believe that it involves suffering and torture of animals. The aims of animal testing have always been the advancement of science and human health. However, more and more research institutes have embarked on animal testing (Haugen 64).
The total numbers of animals involved in laboratory testing have increased significantly. The fast increase in animal testing led to the emergence of organizations and agencies that were aiming at stopping animal testing. These agencies also shared their views with the public. Abuses of animals during testing were circulated in large numbers. These publications made the public frenzy and fury towards animal testing. Since then, animal testing has become a contentious and regularly debated topic across the world. To some people, animal testing is a violation of animal rights. However, it has aided mankind in the development of preventive and curative drugs. Therefore, animal testing can be said to play a pivotal role in leading to new discoveries for the goodness of mankind (Haugen 89).
However, those, who are against animal testing, think that animal suffering is about subjecting animals to suffering and pain. People opposing animal testing say that it is erroneous, unscientific and dangerous to the health of animals. Therefore, people opposing animal testing claim that it can be misleading. An animal’s response or reaction to a drug can be so different to that of a human. The stress that animals go through in the labs can affect the medical experiments to a considerable extent. This renders such results meaningless. Animal testing does not guarantee that drugs sold to consumers are reliable. This is so because even the researchers are not in a position to predict the effects of such drugs. Furthermore, people opposing animal testing believe that animals can never be equated to human beings. Additionally, animal testing is exceptionally vicious and horrible. Human beings torture animals for their selfish reasons. People talk of having a just society, but torturing animals is not being just (Haugen 102).
During a critical examination on issues raised by those opposing animal testing, several weaknesses and strengths can be noted. Some of the notable strengths from the opposing side can be justified to a certain level. It is true that animal testing subject animals to suffering and pain. Animals have to undergo the pain of being injected with drugs, the effects of which are unknown. It is also true that results obtained from animal testing may not work well with human beings. Most of the drugs used in animal testing only aim at testing the side effects of such drugs. This is a strong point by those opposing animal testing. Additionally, animal testing is an expensive endeavor. Animals must be fed foods and put in special shelters. This is a costly affair and financially unsound. This is also another notable point by those opposing animal testing. However, in case of a closer scrutiny, there are some apparent weaknesses in the opposing side arguments. Animal testing is only done for the goodness of mankind. Subjecting animals to pain and suffering is a noble course. It is through this testing that many human lives are saved. Animals are also slaughtered to provide food to mankind. Killing animals for food has never received any opposition. Therefore, if the main reason for animal testing is to save a human life, then those opposing animal testing have no point to argue (Hayhurst 73).
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Animal testing has proved to be helpful to human beings from time immemorial. It is reasonably clear that animal testing benefits humans. When one analyzes the history of medical discovery and scientific literature, it is notable that researches involving animals were beneficial to a substantial degree. History says that men developed from apes. In terms of the research, human and Chimpanzees show a considerable similarity of approximately 99.4%. Additionally, humans and mice genes are 99 % similar and over 90 % with those of cows. Therefore, using such animals in a research can give almost an accurate inference of how a certain drug or medicine will work in human beings. Furthermore, nothing in this world can be said to be 100 %. It can, thus, be concluded that being biologically similar and having similar health problems, animal testing forms a vital element in the life of mankind. Animal testing can serve both human and animal interests. Heart worm medication was discovered through a research on animals. It has up to date saved the lives of many dogs. It is human and ethical to conduct such a research with animals, rather than with humans. Naturally, a human life is more respected than that of an animal (Hayhurst 67).
Therefore, I feel that if correct standards are used, and there is no alternative, then animal testing is a justified action that can help in the discovery of advanced medicines. It is apparent that humans and animals share certain biological similarities. Most people have confidence in the drugs they get from chemists, because they know that such drugs have been verified and approved by the relevant bodies. The majority of those drugs were tested using animals, before ending up on the chemist’s shelves. Testing drugs on human beings is unethical and may result in harmful effects on humans. Although those against animal testing have a justifiable argument, animal testing aims at providing humans with the most effective drugs. In case better and reliable alternatives are developed, animals testing will stop. This is because human beings are faced with new diseases on a daily basis, and researches on such diseases have to be done. It would be so unethical to use untested drugs on humans. Therefore, it can be concluded that animal testing is controversial, but it can only stop if other reliable and effective methods of testing are available (Hayhurst 97).