Viewpoints on Animal Testing
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Scientists involved in animal testing continue to intrigue controversies globally. There is a never-ending debate between the people who are against and those who are for the researches carried out on animals. In most scenarios, people against animal testing advocate for the rights of animals in other areas. They are often against rearing animals for meat and their products, thus, they advocate for people to become vegetarians. On the other hand, scientists and other people supporting animal research emphasize that this is the most successful means of finding cure and vaccines that are beneficial to both humans and animals. The animals in question are usually pigs, guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, zebrafish, and other kinds of animals.
There are a number of positive factors that identify the need to use animals as research tools. Scientists and parties in support of animal research defend this action by stating that animal research aids in saving human lives (Cothran 25). The animal lives loss when carrying out research is worth millions of human lives saved when the research succeeds. For example, vaccines, cancer treatments, insulin for people with diabetes and HIV control among other successful researches continue to save millions of lives globally today. The other option would be to use humans. This would contribute to the loss of many lives. After all, there are no people, if any, who have an intention to sacrifice their health for the others' sake, especially if it means going through the tedious research process.
A different advantage of using animals is that they are the closest organisms that resemble humans. By using these animals, scientists identify results as similar as though they were using real humans (Cothran). Due to these experiments, they are able to identify the challenges and results they would encounter if they were working on human beings. These findings allow scientists to make the necessary remedies, thus, preparing themselves in advance before transferring the medicine to people. Carrying out these researches directly on people would mean that people would lose their lives in order to save others. In addition, it would mean that animals and humans are similar, which is not the scenario in the majority’s perception.
The above mentioned point intrigues the question on human rights and equality in matters concerning humans and animals. People in support of animal research explain that humans dominate animals. Many people eat meat, use other animal products and even depend on animal in terms of clothes provision., Therefore, there should be no reason for hindering scientists to use animals for health benefits. People started eating animals and their products thousands of years ago. It led their genes to evolve due to the nutrients found in these products. Since animals continue to serve humans needs, they can as well serve the need to find the cure for diseases.
People against animal research state that there are other alternatives to animal research. These alternatives include stem cells and technological researches. However, scientists state that they cannot use these alternatives exclusively. They have to include animal research at some point in the process, because there is no single computer/technology that can produce the human body as identified in real-life situations. As a part of their weakness, scientists fail to identify technology that they can use in substitution of animals and humans. That is why, animals are the closest species to the human race that scientists can use.
There are those who argue that animals and humans are equal. In addition, animals have the same rights as humans do. However, the parties in support of animal research explain that a person’s life is greater than an animal’s life. Although animals have rights and they are also independent, people should not protect them at the cost of humans’ lives. People should do as much as possible to make it in the same way they eat animals to survive.
Like in other institutions and organizations, costs are a crucial factor to consider. It is true that animal research is time-consuming and expensive while vitro methods are cheaper and faster as compared to the former method. However, these methods are not enough to take care of the numerous challenges globally. It also takes a while to identify the proficient vitro method to approve. For example, in the past decade, there have been only a few helpful vitro methods approved by ICCVAM (Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods).
The rights issue is the main argument coming from the people against animal research. These people argue that animals’ rights are as equal as human rights. In this manner, human costs are as significant as animal costs. People should not submit animals to torture and death in favor of saving peoples’ lives. It should be as significant to save animals’ lives as it is significant to save people’s lives. Researchers use animals to find a cure for animal diseases. Since both parties have equal rights, the people against animal research argue that scientists can use people for their own benefits.
In relation to human rights and animals’ equality to humans, people against animal research argue that animals came before humans. Humans evolved from animals, thus, they have no right to state that they have dominion over the animals or they are superior to animals. If humans dominate animals as claimed, then dominion means leading, but not destroying. Animals are sensual creatures. It proves that they feel pain, fear and other feelings felt by human beings. Furthermore, people are responsible for animals. Torturing and killing them is not an act of responsibility.
In many incidences where scientists established research success when using animals, they failed the experiment when using human beings. For example, Vioxx, an arthritis medicine from Merk, took away thousands of lives. In fact, this number is higher than the number of the Americans that died in the Vietnam. It took place even after the medicine went through test administered in eight studies that included six different animals. FDA (the food & Drug Administration) justifies that ninety two percent of the drugs that are safe when administered on animals fail when administered to human beings. Many drugs lead to lethal effects for humans even after they produce positive outcomes for animals.
Since most of the people against animal research are pro-life, they argue that scientists should use other alternatives. As suggested, animal research does not bring the most effective results as anticipated. Numerous therapeutic vaccines for cancer treatments, twenty four paralysis treatments, twenty four diabetic cures and one hundred and fifty stroke treatments failed in humans’ treatment even after succeeding in animal research. Consequently, it indicates that scientists should use other alternatives such as technology and stem cell use. In addition, vitro methods are cheaper and more time-efficient as compared to animal experiments. On the contrary, drugs such as penicillin and acetaminophen showed severe toxicities when administered to animals, yet produced successful outcomes in humans.
Some people against animal research state that animals are in danger because of both nature and human factors. Global warming, poaching, people’s cultural practices, harsh environmental conditions and other factors continue to expose animals’ existence to danger. Animals are beneficial to people even when they are not in pain or shedding blood so the world needs them. Subjecting them to these research practices contributes to their extinction. It is evident that animals’ survival rate currently is equivalent to what it was a century ago. If the researchers want these animals to be present in the future, the best step to take would be to turn to other research methods. The only way of protecting animals and dominating them is to be responsible. Scientists continue to advance technology, thus, they must advance it to substitute animals in their experiments.
The debate arising from the use of animals as the research tools will continue until people find a cure for diseases without harming animals. Unfortunately, nowadays scientists expend one at the cost of another. It is clear that there are no perfect substitutes for humans. However, animals are the best perfect substitutes. Even with the innovation of technology, scientists cannot use technological methods exclusively. In addition, only few people, if any at all, are willing to pass through the research processes for the sake of others. Yet, there are no complaints when cures and vaccines emerge from these experiments. The people against animal research argue that animals are equal to humans; therefore, humans should be willing to die as animals die. On the other hand, people supporting animal research argue that most animals have lower incubation rates as compared to humans. In addition, they are born in multiples that increase their survival rate. If a human’s death is equal to an animal’s one, many animals will continue living even after humans’ extinction. This debate will continue until researchers find a permanent solution. In the meanwhile, people will benefit from the results arising from animal researches.
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