Before human beings utilize a substance as either a cosmetic or a drug, its effectiveness and efficiency is first tested. Such tests are usually performed in animals mainly because of their inferiority in society. Animals end up with permanent damages or prolonged sufferings due to effects of chemicals.
Proponents of animal testing argue that it is better to use animals because human life is more valuable than anything in the world could be. Opponents have stood firm to challenge the position by claiming that human beings should come up with other alternatives instead of using living creatures.
Hartung is one of the staunch opponents of animal testing who has overseen reduction of animal testing in Europe. Hartung argues that abolition of animal testing will probably lead to better science since the method was developed out of a crisis (Abbott, 2005).
This means that it is not accurate and can lead to more complications in human beings. Indeed, several tragedies have been reported in various parts of the world including the 1930s incident where a woman lost sight after using Lash-Lure to color her eyes.
Animal tests should be evaluated carefully because of a number of reasons. One reason is that chemicals can have diverse effects that cannot be determined by animal testing alone. For instance, animal skin is different from that of human beings hence the difference in effects.
Again, the policy should be reviewed to conform to environmental demands since some chemicals have been proved to have acute consequences to the environment. This paper analyzes the effects of animal testing and gives some alternatives that can be employed in testing chemicals. It further looks at the activities of animal rights groups and their achievements.
Validity of Animal Tests
In many tests, only rats are used in studies implying that the sample size for researches is usually limited. Researchers cannot apprehend the full effects of a chemical since more advanced or higher animals are not used.
Scholars attempt to research on primates using young animals, which make interpretation of data very hard. Chemicals manufactured after undergoing tests using juvenile primates are usually dangerous to human beings since their effects have no enough literature.
Furthermore, there is usually incongruity as regards to the age of species. Researchers approximate the age of animals and equate them to those of human beings.
This normally results to serious problems when not carefully considered because days are equated to years of human beings, for instance; a drug that is effective in rats at day two is believed to be functional to human beings at the age of two years (Baldrick, 2010). Chemicals and drugs do not apply uniformly in animals and human beings because environments are different.
Before a genuine study is ascertained, many animals are to be used. In the study involving rodents, various species are easily obtained and utilized in research but the case is different for higher animals.
It would take researchers a very long time to get species of the same offspring hence they use available ones, which result to insufficient evidence causing major problems afterwards. Scholars supporting this idea claim that getting monkeys with suitable gender is near to impossibility.
Another challenge to the proponents of animal testing is related to dosage and the time line for a study. A human being is not exactly equivalent to an animal that is why the quantity of a drug to be utilized is an issue. Researchers have not actually determined the exact dose for human beings in some chemicals, which have led to deaths or harms. Many individuals misuse chemicals since there are no clear guidelines on their usage.
Creton (2010) gives various methods that scientists need to employ in their studies to avoid calamities. Such methods are necessary since they are ethically based and more effective. In fact, Creton argues that animal testing should be applied as a last resort and need to be highly controlled to produce accurate results.
The scholar further claims that a number of reasons are to be evaluated first before employing a testing method. One of the simplest ways of validating a chemical is calculating its toxicity in a mixture. This method evaluates the effects of mixtures of chemicals basing on the characteristics of each chemical element hence avoiding animal testing.
Environmental hazards of a chemical can determine its effects instead of exposing it to a living organism. This method is mostly recommended in determining the effectiveness or effects of a pesticide. The method employs a formula that calculates the lethal dose in an element.
The EU has already incorporated the method in its administrative system to determine the effects of industrial products, biocides and pesticides. Furthermore, the EU explains clearly to users that no further tests are to be conducted using animals because the substance is efficient.
Moreover, the internationally recognized body charged with the responsibility of classifying and labeling chemicals has integrated the method in its plans and further suggests that only methods that do not use animal tests are allowed. The global body (GHS) promises to avail data for complex elements, which would aid in their classification without using animal tests.
Another technique for identifying an element or testing its superiority is the read-across method. The method permits scholars to come up with structural, chemical and toxicological features of elements that further allow prediction of chemicals without relevant/enough data.
The technique definitely trims down the need for animal testing. The international regime (IRP) incorporated the method in its programs long time ago. Before utilizing the read-across method, the UK authorities have established a number of factors to be considered in order to attain good results.
These include comparison of the purity and impurity summary of substances, their physicochemical features, their expected lethal kinetics and finally the importance of reading across the outcomes acquired from obsolete test techniques.
QSAR is another non-animal testing method that can be employed in establishing the effects of elements, offering data for use in primacy situation, guiding the plan of a testing approach and offering first hand data.
To fasten the utilization of QSAR, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has formulated the QSAR utility toolbox-software that offers a translucent and reproducible technique for assembling and assessing elements, as well as employing read-across.
The original version of the software has been availed as a free download from the OECD’s Web site. Besides, the OECD has formulated values and regulations on legalization of QSARs to augment the dogmatic recognition of QSAR sculpt for evaluating chemical wellbeing.
Effects of Animal Testing
The circumstances under which animals are exposed to human testing have led to cancer in rats, although animal experiment outcomes were acknowledged as of little significance to humans. The only justification being presented for this pronouncement is that there are anatomical and physiological disparities between people and animals.
It is essential to note that even though animals are usually employed in cancer study, they do not contract the human type of cancer, which attacks membranes such as lungs. Approximately 9% of the sedated animals in the experiments pass on.
It is exciting to know that animals and people metabolize 83% of materials separately (Speit, 2008). Majority health specialists concur that information from animal experiments cannot be extrapolated securely to human beings.
In animal experimentation, poisonous chemicals to humans are safe whereas friendly chemicals to humans such as lemon juice are harmful. Genetically modified animals (GMA) will never be replicas for human sickness. In reality, drugs that are approved as harmless in animal experiments cause 88% of stillbirths in human beings.
Animal Rights Movements
The idea of animal rights is not new in the world because it can be attributed to the earliest animal activists in the 6th century such as Pythagoras. The coming of scholars such as Aristotle and Plato relegated animals by placing them in a low status in society. Aristotle wrote much about politics while insisting that man was above everything in society and every creature belonged to man.
It was therefore upon man to decide what to do with such creatures. The works of Aristotle inspired the first Greek scientists to use animals for experiments. However, Aristotle’s writings were evaluated in the 19th century when British nationals questioned the rationale behind animal testing.
The opponents of animal testing quickly formed an organization and spread their ideas to other places such as the United States. Within no time, the organization had lobbied governments of various states to come up with legislative laws that would protect animals (Hills, 1993).
In 1890s, animal rights organizations seemed to progress well when Henry Salt published his first book. Even though Salt’s works were influential, it never attracted huge groups than the 1970s publications did. Scholars in 1970s questioned scientists about why they used living organisms in performing deadly experiments.
They claimed that animals are living things, which can feel pain just like human beings. Scholars observed that human beings are accorded fair treatment because of their reasoning capacities (Viren, Funrnham, & Andrew 2008).
Therefore, animals are supposed to be treated with morality since they too have mental capacity and can feel pain. The scholars at the time called for immediate abolition of animal diet and adoption of vegan diet to reduce animal suffering.
Animal rights groups took advantage of the then developments that were going on in the world. There were various social groups fighting for several rights. Women wanted to be involved in political processes and be treated equally in society while people of color demanded for recognition and abolition of slavery.
Animal rights organizations took this advantage to question about why nature was being destroyed by attacking its components-animals. The formation of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) enhanced the rights of animals in 1980.
PETA has seen people pay heavy fines for violating animal rights in various parts of the world. The organization has a well-developed financial base that can deal properly with animal rights violators. It has funded other local organizations in various states that assist it in protecting the rights of animals.
Many animal activists are concerned about the basic equality between people and animals. They have a perspective that all living creatures are equal regardless of their mental capacities.
Animal rights organizations advocate for the most fundamental rights that all conscious beings wish, such as the liberty to live a normal life liberated from human mistreatment, superfluous pain, misery, and sudden death. These are the concerns of the animal rights groups.
They do not demand for exact egalitarianism between people and animals. Advocates of animal safety try to ease the suffering of animals. They never try to inquiry whether it is suitable to abuse animals in the first place. Animal rights values rebuff the notion that animals should have an importance to human beings in order to be justified for rights.
From the above analysis, it is noted that human beings have a responsibility to undertake as far as animals are concerned. There are a number of alternatives provided by researchers, which can reduce animal suffering. Therefore, animals must not be used for testing since there are other techniques.
Animal rights activists have succeeded in instituting legal frameworks that will protect animals, although much needs to be done. Animal testing is not a perfect way of ascertaining a chemical hence scientists must step up and find other effective techniques instead of abusing animals.
PETA should step up its efforts by devising techniques that are more coercive for punishing offenders. Animal protection does not mean that human beings should not eat animals. Animal safety implies that non-human creatures must be treated with dignity they deserve.
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Hills, A. (1993). “The motivational bases of attitudes toward animals”. Society and Animals, Vol.1, Issue 7. Online
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