Animal Testing Must End: The Reasons Why Animals Should Not Be Tested On

Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, is the process of using non-human animals to yield variables from a study. These studies can include injecting animals with needles and applying toxic products, all done to test a reaction from the animal. There are anywhere from 50 to 100 million animals worldwide that are being used to test products such as makeup, cleaning supplies and post-it notes. Animal testing is a practice that has been around for centuries. It dates back to the writings of the Ancient Greeks. Currently, big brand companies such as Estée Lauder, Clinique, and Avon all use animal testing. Animals such as rabbits, dogs, rats are all used for testing. These are animals people would consider pets. Animal testing is an inhumane and unnecessary practice that must end. Animal testing should be illegal because it can negatively affect/harm animals, is unreliable when being used on humans, and other more effective means of testing are available.

Animals feel the same way any human would. They are conscious enough to experience pain. One of the reasons animals like dogs and rodents are being used is because it’s believed that they have a similar infrastructure to humans. They are used because scientists can learn more about how a certain product can harm a human if ingested or if applied topically. These are risks that scientists morally cannot take with humans, but they can with animals? These experiments include eye irritancy, photo-toxicity, short term toxicity, and many other excruciating tests. These animals all put through all of these tests, but the most painful of all would be reserved for the Draize test. Heather Dubois writes, “In this test, substances are placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits to evaluate damage to sensitive eye tissues. This can be extremely painful for the rabbits, who often scream when the substances are applied and sometimes break their necks or backs trying to escape the restraints that are put on them”. These rabbits endure so much pain all for an experiment. Physical restraints are also placed on animals and this can cause physical damage when they attempt to escape while these experiments are being done, causing further harm to these animals. This practice is clearly inhumane, but it still continues to be done. There have already been attempts to stop these two tests from being done on animals. Karen Thomas states, “In 1980, animal rights activist Henry Spira had formed the Coalition to Abolish the LD 50 and Draize Tests, which included more than 400 animal welfare organizations”. Most scientists were aware of how excruciating tests like the LD 50 and Draize tests were on animals all the way back in 1980 and yet these same tests are still being used until today. These animals are put through absolute torture all for the sake of the consumers of these products. The LD 50 (Lethal Dose 50) is a test done on rats. They are given some sort of toxic substance in a range of doses, half of the rats die and the remaining rat with the highest dosage of that certain material would be considered the LD 50. Most of these animals are not even given anesthesia before they are given the toxins. This test is one of the most known and inhumane tests to be completed on animals. LD 50 is a useless test that yields no actual results for the scientist. These animals have been put through abuse. These tests leave most of the animals dead or leave them too hurt to survive.

Some animals can respond to substances differently than humans would so it’s not 100% predictable on how what happens on the animal can translate to what would happen on a human.

Animals have a different infrastructure than humans and don’t make a proper test subject for something that will eventually be given to humans. Animals have cellular, metabolic and anatomic differences from humans and those can drastically affect the outcome of a test. Most scientists will argue that there is no way the results of animal testing can correlate with effects on humans (Smith 175). The way human bodies and animal bodies model diseases in their bodies are different. This is why the results from a clinical trial cannot directly translate to the reaction in the human body. In the process of trying to create a drug for some human diseases such as cancer, scientists would artificially induce the disease in the animals and then begin their testing. Animals and humans may be similar in some ways, but not enough to the point where the same drug can be experimented on one and used by the other. Michael Bracken writes, “For example, penicillin was observed to protect both mice and humans from staphylococcal infections, and isotretinoin causes birth defects in rabbits and monkeys as well as in humans (although not in mice or rats)”.

There have been many cases of unreliable animal testing. A huge case of failed animal testing happened from 1958 to 1961. A drug called thalidomide was mass-produced in Germany in 1957. Thalidomide is a sedative drug that was prescribed to pregnant women experiencing morning sickness and migraine headaches. An NDA was submitted to the FDA for Thalidomide to be sold in the markets. The NDA was submitted by an American pharmaceutical company under license from Chemie Grünenthal, a West German company. Grüenthal was known for rushing bad drugs into the market. Thalidomide was tested on animals, and even used Polish prisoners as guinea pigs. Grüenthal had to include some animal testing research in their application to the FDA so they tried the drug on small animals which really had zero scientific value as to how accurate they were. Thalidomide was first sold over the counter in October 1957. Grüenthal gave out free samples of the drug to its own employees, resulting in the first thalidomide victim born on December 25, 1956. Due to their carelessness, 10,000 more babies were born deaf, blind or with missing limbs. This condition was known as phocomelia, a condition in which the limbs are attached close to the body or missing. These children were not expected to live very long. Some victims were able to survive and go on to live long lives. Louise Medus is one of the last thalidomide babies born. She is still alive today and still has to deal with the symptoms of thalidomide. She is also married to another thalidomide baby. Her father spearheaded a legal battle against Distillers on behalf of the other families affected. They won their settlement against the distillers. This mistake brought tragic pain upon tons of families. Thalidomide wasn’t tested on pregnant animals, so testers could not have foreseen the damage this would’ve done. This small mistake led to the deaths of at least 1,000 babies. The science wasn’t sound, but Grüenthal risked the lives of many people across many countries. On November 1961, Grüenthal discontinued its clinical trials. Grüenthal withdrew their product and began doing extensive testing on the thalidomide. With one test, Grüenthal found that “thalidomide easily crossed the placental wall” which made it so the children of women who took this drug would be born with defects. Grüenthal was being careless. An FDA investigation showed that American doctors had been given approximately 2. 5 million tablets and those were given to 20,000 patients. We must use the alternatives we have currently or history may repeat itself. The victims of this drug will forever be known as the thalidomide babies.

With the constantly evolving alternatives to animal testing, it seems almost foolish to spend resources on real animals when it could be spent on newer technology. There are constantly newer ways to test products on humans without physically harming them. Cell cultures, computer models of human body systems and organs on chips can all be used to replace animal testing. The capabilities of genetic engineering have skyrocketed. These can all provide more accurate results as to how this will effect humans. Organs on a chip is something new that scientists have been working on. Human cells on plastic chips can replace the need for an entire animal. For example, kidney chips are made by putting light exposure on a silicon wafer. “This technique transfers a geometric pattern on a photomask to alight-sensitive chemical photoresist coated on a substrate using high in-tensity light”. Human tissues donated from human volunteers can be more useful than using animals to test. It has a lower risk than using living animals. These human tissues can be taken from a living person or someone post mortem. These alternatives are not only more humane, but they’re more precise and less expensive.

Animal testing is not something that we can afford to practice anymore. Big brand companies have begun to catch on to the fact that people will not continue to support companies that animal tests. Many companies have begun to take on the slogan ‘cruelty-free’ as a sign that they’re against animal testing. Animal testing is something that we as humans have been doing since we began developing. We must use the voices we have to stop these inhumane practices from going. The tests are unsafe for humans and animals alike. As the capabilities of the technology we have increase, hopefully, we can begin to adapt and change the practices we currently do. These poor animals endure pain all for us. It’s unnecessary, is expensive, and harms animals. Animals have rights the same way any human would. Just because animals do not have a physical voice doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to be advocated for. The importance of protecting animal rights along with humans is a big one. Our world is constantly adapting and changing, and along with that our minds should be too. We need to protect animals the same way we protect humans. Animal testing is inhumane. We should begin to make animal testing illegal and change these laws for the better.

10 October 2020
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