Even as several animal rights groups continue to raise their voice against the practice of using animals in experiments, there exists a group of people who believe that this practice is necessary for our own well-being. These people bank on numerous positives of animal experimentation when supporting this allegedly inhumane practice. If you take a closer look at the arguments put forth by them, you realize that there is some sense in what they have to say.
Statistics reveal that more than a hundred million animals - right from small rodents to large mammals, are used for testing in the United States alone every single year. Some of the most prominent names in this list of animals include fruit flies, mice, rats, guinea pigs, cats, rabbits, dogs, non-human primates, etc. All these species are subjected to intense procedures in the name of research, at the end of which they either die or end up with some injury. Those species which have some similarity with humans are the ones which are most often used for medical research. Other than research, some animals are specifically bred for product testing wherein the newly developed products are tested by applying on their skin. Rabbits are quite popular when it comes to animal testing in cosmetic industry, as their low tear flow and lack of eye pigment makes the changes in their eyes quite noticeable.
The Raging Debate
The use of animals for scientific research can be traced back to the 4th Century, wherein eminent philosopher - Aristotle, used living animals for the purpose of research. The entire debate surrounding this practice only began in the 16th century. During this period, those in its support argued that humans are superior race and this superiority gave them the right to control the inferior species which lack stimuli and rationality. These pro-animal research arguments were opposed by various animal rights groups of that era on ethical grounds. Since then, the ethics of animal testing have changed drastically - and that shows in the arguments put forth by those in support of this practice today.
Pro-Animal Experimentation Arguments
Today, those in support of this practice argue that the practice has become an important component of our lives, and therefore we can't afford to outlaw it. It helps researchers find drugs and treatments for various diseases, and history has quite a few examples of the same. If it were not for this so-called inhumane practice, ailments like measles and pertussis would have killed thousands of individuals across the world every single year even today. (It is not just used to develop medicine for humans, but also used to develop medicine for animals.)
The use of animals in research also helps in ensuring that the drugs we use are safe. More importantly, it is anytime better than human testing. If drugs and treatments are directly tested on humans, they can adversely affect our health. At the same time, we cannot afford to ignore the fact that nobody would readily volunteer for such testing process. And this, in turn, will make the people from lower strata of our society vulnerable to exploitation in the name of research.
Even though the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966 - which states that animals can be used for the purpose of research as long as the procedure is scientifically justified, encompasses all the research procedures that are being carried out today, most of the people who are pro-animal testing argue that using animals for medicinal research is fine but using them for cosmetic products testing is not justified at all. These people further argue that animals are used for testing even after knowing that the results of these studies may not be cent percent accurate, as they are our closest possible match.
Not many people are aware of the fact that a particular drug has to go through various preliminary tests before it is used on animals. On taking into consideration all these arguments, it becomes more than obvious that outlawing this practice won't help, but will only cause more chaos.
With a lengthy list of pros and cons to take into consideration, everything comes down to your personal stand on this practice. Many people oppose animal experimentation without giving it a serious thought. Only when you take a serious note of the fact that it is this practice which has helped us treat/eradicate several diseases, do you realize how important it is for our well-being.
Tag : Animal Testing