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Even though present-day science makes no secret of the use of animals for research purposes, not many people know what deprivation, pain, and misery those animals have to experience in laboratories.
Animal testing is a regular, centuries-old practice that has been used continuously for research purposes since the times of Aristotle and Erasistratus, who conducted experiments on animals to test their scientific hypotheses. Galen, a celebrated physician from Rome, used animals in his practice as he needed them to perform a deeper investigation of physiology, anatomy, and pathology to be able to succeed in human surgery (LaCapra, 2016). In the 12th century, initiated by Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), this practice was officially required before any of the procedure could be applied to people (Garner, 2016).
However, in recent years, the topic provokes a lot of heated debate because of the activity of various animal rights movements. Proponents of the practice argue that the prohibition of animal testing may threaten human lives and well-being as potentially hazardous drugs and chemicals would have to be tested on humans (Doke & Dhawale, 2015). Furthermore, another strong argument they put forward is that the development of science as well as some industries would be considerably held back as it would be impossible to test and improve products (Hartung, 2017).
Nevertheless, already in the 17th century, some humanists insisted on banning the practice. Unfortunately, they did not receive any considerable support. Nowadays, there emerged a lot of animal protection groups, claiming that if atrocities committed for the sake of science went beyond research institutions, they would be regarded as violations of law (LaCapra, 2016). Yet, torturing and killing animals are regular practices for a vivisector. They receive no protection from violence.
Thus, the paper at hand will attempt to prove that the practice of animal testing is brutal, too large in scope, and in most cases ineffective, which means that it must be outlawed in all countries where such experiments are still legalized.
Reasons to Ban Animal Testing
The major argument supporting the idea of banning the experiments on animals is the overwhelming scope. The point is that it is allowed by law to isolate, burn, poison, starve, strangle, or drown animals used for experiments. They can be also made addicted to drugs and inflicted brain damage (Doke & Dhawale, 2015). Hardly anyone stopped to think that no matter how outrageously cruel and painful a testing can be, it is not prohibited to perform it even without the use of painkillers. Even though there are already a lot of alternatives available, the law in most countries does not require using them. Thus, outdated brutal methods keep their position because of being cheap and well-established (Badyal & Desai, 2014).
Such acts of violence could be partially excused by the necessity to test medications that are developed to save human lives–however, this kind of testing is even more inhumane as it is ineffective in most cases (Hartung, 2017). Despite showing quite promising results in animal experiments, more than 95% of all drugs created annually in laboratories fail trials on humans, with only 19% of life-threatening side effects predicted.
This implies that app. 120 million animals must be subjected to prolonged, intense suffering globally every year for 25 new drugs to be approved (Badyal & Desai, 2014). Furthermore, in particular cases, even those medicines that can be found among those 25, may present a threat to human lives since not allergies that may be discovered in humans are present in animals. For instance, Vioxx–a medicine used for arthritis treatment–was tested on primates and other animals and proved to be completely safe. Nevertheless, its implementation resulted in about 150,000 death cases globally and caused more than 300,000 heart strokes. Thus, animal deaths turned out to be in vain as the results achieved were inadequate to the sacrifices made (LaCapra, 2016).
Besides being forced to suffer from medications, animals are artificially induced signs of diseases that they do not normally get (e.g. schizophrenia, cancer, AIDS, all main types of heart diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.) for investigating the symptoms. The major cruelty arises from the abnormality of such experiments as animals have to develop symptoms that they cannot have under any natural conditions (LaCapra, 2016). For instance, researchers can make a rat grow a tumor twice as large as its body, blind puppies, kittens, or rabbits, force mice to suffer from strokes, insert electrodes into the brain of monkeys or break their spinal cords (Garner, 2016).
Protecting these violent procedures, many people believe that they are used exclusively for medical purposes; therefore, they remain unaware that the practice is now mostly applied in industries such as perfume or cosmetics. When a new product is ready for manufacturing after numerous tests, animals are simply thrown back into their cages without any attempt to release their pain. They are severely damaged not only physically but also psychologically as they stay in their cages in constant fear to be tortured or killed. It is hard to imagine that such treatment can be justified by the necessity to test a new kind of mascara or a liner (Garner, 2016).
People, who believe that only unhealthy, naturally dying animals are used for experiments, are also deluded–all the animals are healthy and strong (since scientists need to check the reaction of a healthy body to new drugs). All of them can become victims: researchers use monkeys, cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, sheep, pigs, birds, fish, and others (Hartung, 2017).
In the modern world of developing medicine, people tend to protect all practices leading to discoveries that could relieve human suffering and help us eliminate dangerous diseases. That is why those who side with the animal testing state that this practice is an inevitable sacrifice that would allow us to save a lot of human lives. Moreover, they believe that developing unknown or rare diseases in animals would allow scientists to investigate such conditions thoroughly and discover new methods of addressing them (LaCapra, 2016).
However, all these arguments do not stand up to criticism. First and foremost, tests on animals prove to be ineffective as even those drugs that are approved may be unsuitable to humans (Hartung, 2017). Besides, inducing diseases that animals do not normally have does not give any demonstrative indicators of how these conditions will develop in humans (LaCapra, 2016).
It is logical to conclude that such experiments must be banned if we want to have the right to call ourselves humans. Unlike many other cruelties that we commit, this one is not killing for fur, food, or for saving lives. It is killing in its pure form–for the sake of killing as it is fruitless in terms of results. This is what makes such experiments so atrocious and unacceptable.
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Badyal, D. K., & Desai, C. (2014). Animal use in pharmacology education and research: The changing scenario. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 46(3), 257-265.
Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C. (2015). Alternatives to animal testing: A review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 23(3), 223-229.
Garner, R. (2016). Political animals: Animal protection politics in Britain and the United States. New York, NY: Springer.
Hartung, T. (2017). Opinion versus evidence for the need to move away from animal testing. ALTEX, 34(2), 193-200.
LaCapra, D. (2016). History and its limits: Human, animal, violence. New York, NY: Cornell University Press.