Why Is Animal Testing A Problem: An Ethical Perspective On Animal Experimentation

For over 2000 years, mankind has been testing on animals for the benefit of its own good. Whether it be for food, clothing, shelter, or even cosmetics, animals have been a huge part of our lives. Even though animals have played a tremendous role for keeping humanity alive, the way people treat these animals creates an essence of inhumanity rather than giving us the title of compassion and philanthropy that humanity should give. Over the years of applying animals into our daily life, it has come to point where the practices being done on animals to give humans better lives has caused huge controversy. From branding livestock to castrating young animals without any anesthesia, animals go through invasive, cruel procedures just to make the world go round.

Many groups and projects and organizations have been formed to stand up for the animal kingdom. Organizations such as Austin Pets Alive, PETA, and Voices for Pets are only a couple of the hundreds of nonprofit organizations that “promote and facilitate the health and well-being of all animals”. These groups provide shelter and treatment to the thousands of abused animals they find. With the help of our modern society, animal experimentation should be banned because the testing done on animals could have a difference response on humans, alternative methods for testing on animals is being practiced now, and if we aren’t testing cosmetic products on humans to see if they’re safe, why test them on animals? With having these reasons come into consideration, animal testing should not be permitted for experimental research and the future of mankind could be a place of peace between the different species roaming earth.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Gandhi’s morals and ethics were always pure and he always did things for the greater good using no violence. Torturing animals gives the essence of savagery and wickedness. God created man to live a worthwhile life, not to torment the species we were created alongside with. If a man as successful and legendary as Gandhi hated mistreating animals, why should mankind continue to do so if there are so many negatives to it. For example, one primary negative is that the testing done on animals could have a different response on humans. While some people believe that experimenting on animals gives the most accurate results, consequently, the testing done on animals could have a different response on humans because of the difference in cellular composition in both bodies. There are many scientifically proven experiments out there where animals have been known as poor models for humans. For example, in the 1950’s a drug called thalidomide was brought into the market as a mild sleeping pill safe for pregnant women. The pill was tested on animals and it implied no harmful effects. Once it was used on pregnant women, thousands of babies worldwide were born with malformed limbs. Some might say this is an outdated example and with our modern society, things are much different and safer now. Well, think again. Let’s look at this through a different perspective. According to the website for the Pet Poison Hotline, common household medications such as Advil, Aleve, and Motrin (just to name a few) are completely toxic when ingested by pets. Even though these pills are helpful to humans, “even one or two pills can cause serious harm to a pet”. These two examples comply with each other because it shows us that things that are consumed by humans could have harmful effects on animals and vice versa.

Cancer: the second leading cause of death in the U. S after heart disease. It’s been around since before Christ yet there is still no cure. Due to ethical concerns with not wanting to experiment on humans for such a deadly disease, animal models have been necessary for cancer research. This can be understandable when saving lives comes into consideration. But did you know that “the average rate of successful translation from animal models to clinical cancer trials is less than 8%”? Even though animals will bet the only thing scientists will ever get to test on, the chance for a clinical trial to turn out beneficial is very minuscule. You might be wondering what happens when a trial is successful regarding the less than 8%. Well, scientists move on to phase two where “only half become approved for clinical use”. With saying this, a successful clinical trial is more than one in a million. That’s why it’s so hard to find a cure for such a deadly disease that’s been around for millenniums.

With all the differences being said between animals and humans, some still might say that animals are too closely resembled to the human body. Though this is scientifically true, taking chimpanzees for example “share 99% of their DNA with humans”. However, it’s not biologically true, because “two identical stretches of DNA can work differently and be ‘turned on’ in different amounts, in different places or at different times”. This comes into major consideration when injecting animals with a dose that can be harmless to them but once injected into humans, it’s harmful. Even that 1% comes into deliberation when figuring out if a certain dose will end up working on humans or not.

Another reason to prohibit testing on animals is because alternatives to animal testing are now scientifically proven to work instead of having to experiment on them. It is already established that animal models fail to capture human diseases and important physiological responses. Thanks to the modern world that we live in, scientists can now replace animals with alternatives such as “tissue cultures, microorganisms, or computer models”. Testing on animals for biomedical research has been a traditional way aiming all the way back to Aristotle. With having a substitute come into place, researchers can now forget about the outdated, expensive, and unnecessary procedures done on animals and focus on modern ways now. Some alternatives to animal testing include: in vitro (in glass), virtual drug trials, stem cells and genetic testing methods. Researchers are even using microdosing, which is a procedure where “humans are given very low quantities of a drug to test the effects on the body on the cellular level, without affecting the whole-body system”. It looks as if humans have stepped back from self-love and have concluded that microdosing can be a technique to see if a drug is safe or not without harming themselves. Also, there is a higher predicament at play. Scientists have been studying the human body for ages so the instance in which they lack knowledge about the effects of different variables conducted in the body, would be rare. Using these different techniques produces more reliable results because in some cases, real human tissue is being used in compared to animal tissue. For example, in vitro is an experiment taken place in a test tube “using either primary cells derived from human blood or skin or different cell lines”. Testing on human tissue gives us the potential to accurately provide “physiologically relevant and robust models for basic research” that escapes the need to use animals. These alternatives give accuracy and reliability whereas testing on animals is just a sense of trial and error.

Given the new methods for experimenting on new scientific findings, some might say animals are still non-replaceable because testing on them gives us a whole-body system to work with instead of just experimenting on tissues. The human body is a complex organization made up of different organs that work together to keep you alive. Injecting a drug into the system can tell us how each organ reacts rather than how a simple tissue reacts. Even though this may be true to an extent, animals are still very different in their “anatomic, metabolic, and cellular” composition from human bodies (Animal). The immune system or circulatory system or nervous system can be different from animals to humans therefor making them a poor model for humans.

Millions of animals are used every year in painful, horrific ways just to make us look beautiful. In our society, people believe it’s morally acceptable to test cosmetic products on animals if it benefits society. No one cares if that Loreal foundation was tested on a bunny before being put on the market. Or if that Maybelline mascara was experimented on a poor, little mouse just to see if it’s safe to be used on your eyelashes. This right here draws the line for society. It officially makes us as a community a predator to poor little preys that can’t defend themselves. Back in 2002, Europe was close to finally banning the testing of animals in cosmetic products but right before the law got passed, the EU decided to reject it “fearing that it would disadvantage European exporters and violate world trade rules”. They feared they would lose money because of the “8,000 current cosmetic ingredients” that were already bought. This gives us a nature of mercilessness and bloodthirstiness for worrying about money rather than having to worry about the torture animals go through. Makeup was invented by humans to be used only on humans. Makeup gives us confidence and it only benefits us so why test them on animals to see if they’re safe enough to use? Humans are the only species that worry about how they depict themselves to the world. They were never meant for animals in the first place so what’s the point of torturing them for no reason just for a product that covers your blemishes. It’s not like we need cosmetics, it’s only a want and having to put animals in misery for something you don’t need to survive it pointless. For all those “beauty gurus” out there that can’t live without makeup, don’t worry because there are plenty of cosmetic brands that are cruelty-free. Brands such as: BareMinerals, ELF, Kat Von D, Tarte, Wet n Wild are just a few of the hundreds of brands that are 100% cruelty free. These cruelty brands are more popular in the market than brands that test on animals. Society might bring in the excuse of testing on animals because we as a community don’t want to test on ourselves. Bringing in animals does not fix anything. It makes it worse because it shows that we do not have any empathy towards the innocent animals that are losing their lives to be experimented on. The human race should show more empathy towards animals because they deserve the same rights as us. All living things deserve to be treated equally disregarding what group you’re from.

In conclusion, I believe that animal testing is an unethical excuse for keeping humanity alive when there are scientifically proven alternatives and factual reasons out there. As consumers, we can make a difference by letting our voices be heard. Publicizing our opinions to the mass media can help stop the issue of experimenting on animals. The future is envisioned as a place with no cruel interaction between the different species that roam this earth.

10 October 2020
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