Thesis Statement: Animal testing is a debatable issue in modern society. Some people argue that animal testing should be kept due to medical benefits and research study conveniences. However, I think animal experimentation should be banned by refuting supporters’ arguments.
A. Opposing argument 1
Animal experimentations are conducted for human health.
Rebuttal to this argument:
Animal testing can cause serious problems regarding to human health. a. The results of animal experimentation are often inconclusive and cannot be accurately applied to human. b. Animal drug testing causes a lot of dangerous side effects.
B. Opposing argument 2
Animal experimentation is vital for research purposes.
Rebuttal to this argument:
Ethnics problems: Are humans too selfish?
a. Animal testing can be extremely cruel and inhumane.
b. Examples to illustrate the cruelly experiments conducted on animals.
c. Animals deserve the equal rights as humans.
C. Opposing argument 3
There are no effective alternatives to animal experimentation.
Rebuttal to this argument:
The facts of efficient non-animal methods and relevant benefits.
a. Examples of successful alternative methods.
b. Lists of possible technology as alternative methods.
c. The benefits of non-animal methods.
Animal Testing should be banned due to its cruelness, moral issues and the existence of effective alternative methods.
Should Animal Experimentation Be Abandon?
Animal Experimentation, also known as animal testing, is the use of animals to conduct experiments or do research in the laboratory. The number of animals used in experiments increased dramatically after World War II. Nowadays, animal experimentation is widely used in many areas such as medical research, behavior study, and drug tests. It is estimated that scientists in America utilize more than 15 million animals each year in their research. Also, animal research and testing is used in almost 10% of all biomedical research. (“Animal experimentation”, 2011, para.4 ) While some people insist animal experimentation is necessary for social progress due to its unique contributions to human health and scientific researches, opponents of animal research argue that it is cruel, immoral, and unnecessary.
As a matter of fact, animal experimentation has been a controversy issue for a very long time. At the same time, there are an increasing number of regulations which restrict animal testing to some extent in order to protect animals’ rights. From my perspective, animal experimentation should be abandoned because of its inhuman cruelness, moral issues, and the existence of possible alternatives. The most common arguments supporting animal experimentation can be refuted and shown to be unnecessary harm to animals. There are many arguments to support animal experimentation. Supporters of animal testing assert animal experimentations are beneficial for human health and vital for research purposes. Also, supporters tend to believe that there are no effective alternatives for animal experimentation.
One of the most common opinions supporters of animal experimentation hold is that a lot of animal experimentations are conducted for human health. They assert animal testing is critical for drug development, the safety of cosmetic products, and treatment for diseases. For instance, Carl Cohen (2005), a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, argues that vaccines for diseases such as polio and malaria could not have been developed without animal testing (para.1). There is no denying that humans did benefit a lot from animal experimentations. People practice on dogs first to learn how to perform surgery successfully, test the toxicity of ingredients of shampoo on mice to ensure the safety of cosmetic products, and study the infected chimpanzees to study the virus effects.
These actions seem to be reasonable. However, there are also plenty of problems of animal experimentation associated with human health are ignored by supporters. The results of animal testing are often inconclusive and cannot be accurately applied to human. “Many of the drugs approved through animal experimentation have proven dangerous to humans” (Thomas, 2008, para.3). The inner structure of human body is quite different from animals’. In fact, animal experimentation results cannot predict many common life threatening side effects of new products like drugs and cosmetics. Animal testing could be the reason that many so called “safety products” drugs which work perfectly on animals would cause so many dangerous side effects on human body. More seriously, it is possible for humans to suffer from allergic reactions, some blood disorders, skin lesions and many central nervous system effects that cannot be demonstrated by animal models (Singer, 2006). Most medications are derived from one big contradiction: Our government demands that we test all medications on animals prior to continuing to human trials, and it admits that applying animal data to humans is a “leap of faith.”
However, animal drug testing cannot guarantee all the medications would apply to humans. Still, many human diseases go uncured. Besides human health perspective, supporters argue it is necessary to conduct research through animal experimentation. The history of animal experimentation can be traced back a very early time. The earliest references to animal testing are found in the writings of the Greeks in the 2nd and 4th centuries BCE (“History of nonhuman animal research,” 1984). The achievements of animal testing research cannot be ignored. For example, the Roman physician Galen dissected pigs and apes to demonstrate that veins carry blood, not air as people previously thought.
In the early 1600’s English doctor William Harvey dissected numerous types of animals, including frogs and fish, to show how blood circulates the body. During the 1800s, scientists used animals to examine the role of microorganisms in causing disease (Gilland, 2002).Scientists take advantage of the animals’ biological similarity to humans to gain advanced biology and behavior knowledge. Furthermore, scientists can create controlled environments for animals (regulating their diet, temperature, and other factors) in a way that would be difficult for human research subjects. Evidence shows the research progress benefits from animal experimentation. It cannot be denied that the animal experimentation plays a crucial role in research.
However, as the scale of animal experimentations increasing drastically over years, there are more animal-rights movements and more ethics questions have come to the top. Opponents of animal experimentation consider it is unethical due to reasons such as it is cruel and inhuman, and it violates animals’ rights. Firstly, animal testing is always merciless. The condition of where animals are kept within laboratory could be poor, and animals are often exposed to harmful chemicals to see the results. In 1997, people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filmed staff inside Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) in the UK. The staff was hitting puppies, shouting at them, and taking blood samples from the dogs. (“It’s A Dog’s Life,”2005). Another example is the primate experiments conducted at the University of Cambridge in 2002.
The monkeys in laboratory had undergone surgery to induce a stroke, and were left alone after the procedure for 15 hours overnight. They were only given food and water for two hours a day so that researchers can better observe their reactions in different situations (Sandra, 2005). The extremely pain and suffering caused by animal testing has become a serious ethics issue. The second debatable ethics issue is regarding to animals’ rights. People have started to ask whether animals deserve the same rights as humans. According to human’s basic rights, a person may not be killed, cruelly treated, intimidated, or imprisoned for no good reason. Put another way, people should be able to live in their own needs and preferences. What about animals? Do they deserve the basic respects like humans? There is no doubt that animals experience life as humans do. Animals can feel pain and fear, and they would be desperate in difficult situations.
It is true that animals do not have the same abilities as humans. They cannot speak, write or invent things, but neither can some humans. Can we deprive the rights of those humans who lack these abilities? Do we say disabled humans have no inherent value and rights? Certainly not, because their lives still has value to them. As philosopher Tom Regan (1985) has said in his argument for animal rights: we are each of us the experiencing subject of a life, a conscious creature having an individual welfare that has importance to us whatever our usefulness to others… animals too must be viewed as the experiencing subjects of a life, with inherent value of their own(p.13).
It is not justifiable to harm animals’ lives for the benefits of humans. Humans tend to regard themselves as the most important and valuable species on earth. However, this opinion is too self-centered and unmoral. Millions of species are all living on this planet, and they all deserve the dignity to live. Even though there is no doubt that better research progress would be gained from animal testing, we human cannot take the benefits from the misfortune of other species.
We are part of this planet, and we have the obligation to protect ecological balance, not to harm it. Supporters of animal experimentation are also aware of the defects and ethical problems of animal experimentation, but they assert there are no effective alternatives to animal testing. As a matter of fact, with the development of technology, there are many more possibilities to conduct experimentations without animals. Thanks to modern technology, more and more non-animal research is being used now all over the world. For example, Pharmagene Laboratories is the first company to use only human tissues and sophisticated computer technology for the purpose of drug development and testing. People in Pharmagene use sophisticated scanning devices to analyze inner structure of human.
With tools from biochemistry, analytical pharmacology, and molecular biology, Pharmagene is able to study human genes and drug effects on the proteins they make. They have made great achievements in the field of non-animal experimentation. Besides, the scientists in Pharmagene believe that the study process would be much more efficient with human tissues instead of animals’. They also state there would be lower risk associated with non-animal experimentation. (Coghlan,1996). As I pointed out before, animal testing can be inconclusive and inaccurate. Also, it is usually expensive to do experiments on animals. On the contrary, non-animal methods often take less time and cost less to conduct. Effective, affordable, and humane research methods include sophisticated in vitro, genomic, and computer-modeling techniques as well as studies of human populations, volunteers, and patients. Why do we have to conduct the cruel, immoral animal testing which cost us money and effort? People can use these effective alternatives instead.
Today, animal experimentations are still used widespread in areas of biology, behavior study, medical research, and drug testing. Although supporters of animal experimentations argue that animal testing is beneficial for human health, critical for research purposes, there are strong evidence showing that animal experimentation might not be necessary. Animal experimentation can cause a lot of dangerous side effects in drug testing. Moreover, People’s diseases cannot be accurately treated through animal experimentation. Also, there are serious moral issues associated with animal testing, and we should not take the benefits from the misfortune of other species. People need to be aware of the disadvantages of animal testing and seek for better alternatives. Non-animal methods often take less time and cost less to conduct. With the development of technology, there would be more and more effective alternatives to animal testing. Due to the various disadvantages of animal experimentation, we ought to abandon animal testing and focus on better solutions. I believe humans can benefit more from non-animal experimentations
Animal Experimentation.(2011). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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