Most of us can easily say that animal testing is evil, barbaric and should be banned, but when in reality, when faced with an actual choice, how many of us would honestly choose to potentially endanger a human’s life over an animal’s life? Animal testing should not be banned for several reasons. Firstly as human beings, it is in our nature to value human lives above animal lives. Whether it is wrong or right all species feel an inexplicable loyalty to their own species, making human life of greater value than animal life. Secondly animal suffering is minimised during animal testing Thirdly, animal testing concerns animals that have been specifically bred for this purpose.
Those who argue this claim human life is of greater value than animal life. In justifying this claim it is usually argued that human beings are the most intelligent, creative and adaptable creatures on the planet and that they have a level of consciousness and self-awareness that exceeds that of any other animal. Relatedly, it is claimed that human consciousness and self-awareness means that human beings have a greater capacity to suffer than any other species. This argument is used to justify the use of animals other than human beings in animal testing.
This argument has been put Dario Ringach, who, on September 12, 2012, on the Internet site Speaking of Research, argued, ‘A human mother that is contemplating death due to cancer, will suffer beyond her physical pain when thinking that her children will grow up without a her, that she will never see them marry or have children of their own, that she will leave her spouse alone to take care of the family. It is her cognitive abilities that allow her to suffer in ways other animals cannot. Thus, if we agree that suffering is morally relevant, the type of suffering this mother experiences must count too. And because such suffering is enabled to beings with the cognitive abilities that allow them to pose such questions, one must conclude that human cognitive abilities are morally relevant too. Animal suffering is minimised in animal testing
It has been claimed that there are protocols in place which ensure that animals used in testing are treated in a way that minimises their distress. The Internet site notes, ‘The people who work in laboratories – scientists, vets, animal carers – are human beings like everyone else and have no desire to mistreat animals. For many of them it is their primary responsibility to look after the animals, and they work with laboratory animals because they are animal lovers. Many are also actively involved in developing scientific methods to reduce the need for animals or replace them entirely.’ It goes on to claim, ‘Good science and good animal welfare go hand in hand. If an animal is suffering stress or pain it could affect the results of the research. So it makes good scientific sense to house animals in the best possible conditions and make sure they get the best possible care from skilled and experienced carers.
What animals need is not always the same as what people think they need, so scientists are studying which environments different animals prefer.’ In a letter published in The Age on December 9, 2012, Johannes Manning claimed, ‘I am a retired vet and am one of those who benefit from having ”electric shocks to my head” while undergoing treatment for Parkinson’s disease (a treatment developed in monkeys). From the footage I saw, the monkeys [used in tests] looked healthy, had plenty of space, were in the company of other monkeys and showed normal behaviours.’
Many of the animals killed in animal testing have been specifically bred for this purpose it is noted that many of the animals used in testing have been bred for this purpose. Those who argue in favour of animal testing further note that these creatures would not have been alive at all were they not needed for animal testing. It is also noted that they are bred and reared under humane conditions. The Australian Association for Laboratory Animal Science also states, ‘While some research requires that dogs and cats are used, the vast majority of laboratory animals are rodents specifically bred for research. Nearly half of the dogs and cats needed for research are also bred for that purpose.
Since state laws and local policies prevent many animal pounds and shelters from providing dogs and cats to research facilities, animal dealers are the primary source for the other half of the animals scientists require. Many are against animal testing mainly for the cruelty towards the animals, but in fact the animals that are tested on are minimized on harm and when faced with the facts, many more animals are slaughtered to create food. When barely anyone is against the slaughtering for food, even though they live in terrible shelters and aren’t treated with care, why are people against animal testing?