According to Biology Online, animal experimentation is defined as the use of animals in experiments and development projects usually to determine toxicity, dosing and efficacy of test drugs before proceeding to human clinical trials. Animal experimentation has been going on since ancient Greece when Aristotle and Hippocrates first made their model of the human body based on what they had observed through animal dissection. Then, Romans used animals to do more psychological tests on animals like pigs, monkeys and dogs. After that, the Renaissance period took up physiological studies. Since then, the 20th century had a huge increase in animal testing until 1980 when activists started standing up against the labs. Activists have not been very successful at protecting the animals’ rights in some cases and the past decades have seen a noticeable increase in animal testing for many reasons (Baumans). Today, despite activist’s efforts, animal testing is still commonly used. Nevertheless, animal testing is unethical and should be outlawed.
People in favor of animal testing believe that animals are needed for any sort of medical advancement. They believe that without testing on live animals, our medical field would not be able to make improvements. Scientists assume that humans would be hindered enormously if they did not test drugs on animals before they were released to the human world. They also think that animals are tested to do various behavioral and genetic testing. People in favor of animal testing are under the impression that the animals are a great help towards psychologists in finding out more about the brain and how the human brain works. They think that without the animals, nobody would be able to fully understand how the human brain works. Psychologists also feel as though no one would have an understanding of why humans have the behaviors they do. Also, people in favor of animal testing believe animals help advance the field of genetic testing. They believe animal experimentation helps scientists study the genes and DNA within humans. However, there are some flaws in their thinking.
Many believe that live animals are needed for all medical testing, but that is not true. Animals can be replaced in the lab by using software instead. Scientists have the technology today to replace animals with different types of software and computer models. This would eliminate the need for animals in the lab. The FDA, EPA, and National Institutes of Health has developed systems and robots to completely replace the need for lab rats. This software is very accurate and causes no distress to a living creature. Instead of having to pay for, feed, and house a living animal, scientists have the opportunity to use computers instead. These robots could be in labs as soon as next year (Goldman). There are several other ways an animal can be replaced in the laboratory as well, such as: using mathematical data, using biopsies from humans instead of animal autopsies, making human tissue cultures to test vaccines, and many more (“Research Alternatives”). Scientists have a wide range of alternatives available to them. Therefore, animal experimentation for medical advancement is not needed.
Quite often, animal experimentation leads to false results and causes harm to humans instead of helping them. Although scientists think that testing drugs on animals will ensure the drugs are safe for the public, there are many cases where that has proven to be false. A specific example of this was seen in the 60’s and 70’s with a drug called Thalidomide, which was supposed to be a sedative to mothers. Scientists tested this drug on thousands upon thousands of animals. However, when the drug hit the market, the mothers who had used this drug gave birth to children with severe disabilities and deformities. The testing of the drug was completely ineffective. Another case of this was in the 1970’s in Japan with a stomach medicine called Clioquinol. This drug was deemed to be safe based on the testing of animals, but when it hit the market, it harmed humans. The drug had the opposite effect on humans than it was supposed to have (Bantwal). These are just some cases of where animal experimentation has failed the pharmaceutical industry and caused harm to humans. The animals react to drugs differently and show different symptoms than humans do. Often times, scientists will use animals like rabbits or rats that have no actual similarities to the human body. In fact, nine out of ten drugs that pass animal testing, fail in the human testing. In addition, animal testing has not been helpful at all in the aid of cancer despite what many believe (“Animal Research”). Animal experimentation is not necessary or helpful towards the testing of drugs because of the different genetic makeup of animals and it often leads to false results.
There are also extreme ethical issues intertwined with the experimentation of animals. Although there are many attempts at putting restrictions on animal testing procedures, many of them are not carried out. The laboratories are not checked upon regularly and the government puts very low priority to these guidelines. Therefore, animals are treated terribly in the laboratories. The scientists often do not view the animals as living creatures; instead, they view them as test subjects. This leads to severe mistreatment of animals. Animals are often put under many stressful, harmful tests and are kept in unkempt conditions. In reality, animals are sometimes taken out of their natural habitat to be put in “shoebox environments.” The tests themselves cause psychological problems for the animal. These animals are not able to tell the scientists something hurts; they are uncomfortable or cry for help. However, they are able to feel pain. When the animals have put in their time as test subjects, they are either put to death or sent to a habitat. These animals sent to the habitats are left with severe psychological issues and are not healthy animals anymore (“Animal Research”). Experimentation on animals is unethical.
Animal testing is unethical and should be outlawed. Live animals are not necessary for testing because there are many alternatives such as computer software, robots, human tissue cultures, and mathematical data. In addition, the tests the animals are used for often come back with false, misleading results. Humans have been harmed because animals do not react the same way with drugs and treatments that humans do. Animals also do not have the same biological system that humans do, so testing on them is useless. Lastly, testing on animals has many ethical problems that go along with it. Animals can feel pain and are often kept in terrible environments. Animal testing is not necessary and needs to be outlawed.