Every year, the United States uses approximately 26 million animals for testing. Animals are used to test the safety of new medications designed for human use. Scientists have used animals to test their products as far back as 500 BC. Supporters of animal testing have many arguments of why they believe it is justified. I disagree with all of these arguments. I do not think there is any possible way to justify it. Medical animal testing is morally wrong. Humans make decisions about what they consider is “right” based on their internal morals and external ethics.
Morals are internal sets of guidelines that we have set for ourselves to determine what is right or wrong. They show how an individual thinks things should go, according to his or her perspective based on these guidelines. We set these internal guidelines because of our beliefs of what is right or wrong. If we do not follow these morals, we will feel uncomfortable and guilty.
Some people may choose to base their morals on ethics. Ethics are rules of conduct that we follow in respect to our culture. They define how things are according to the rules. Ethics are external; they are based on our surrounding culture and social system. We follow ethics because society says it is right.
If we do not follow these ethics, we will be faced with disapproval of our peers. Morals and ethics have two different definitions, but both determine what is right and what is wrong. An ethical person could have no morals. On the other hand, a person could violate ethics by following their morals. Both morals and ethics set guidelines of what is right and wrong. Animal testing violates both morals and ethics. Scientists who support animal testing try to justify it by making several different arguments, with all of which I disagree.
Some scientists argue that every medical advance is attributable to animal testing. Others argue that many experiments do not cause the animals any harm, so they are justified. Another popular argument from pro-animal testing scientists is that if we didn’t use animals for experiments, we would have to test new drugs on humans. Scientists also have the idea that animals help fight and work to find a cure for cancer. Archer 2 Many scientists who use animals for testing argue that experimenting on animals is responsible for every major medical advance. Obviously, this is far from true. This claim has no evidential support.
Most animal experiments are not relevant to human health, they do not contribute meaningfully to medical advances and many are undertaken simply of out curiosity and do not even pretend to hold promise for curing illnesses. The only reason people are under the misconception that animal experiments help humans is because the media, experimenters, universities and lobbying groups exaggerate the potential of animal experiments to lead to new cures and the role they have played in past medical advances. (PETA. par 3).
This statement, made by the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) organization, shows that the previous claim from animal testing supporters is false. I agree with this statement. Although some medical advances have been made with the assistance of animal testing, there are very few. For instance, scientists claim that animal testing is responsible for advances in the struggle to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. Some say that testing on animals is the only way to find a cure. This statement is, in fact, wrong. Scientists could easily use laboratory-produced stem cells rather than animals for experimentation.
They would get the same, or possibly better, results. Out of those few advances, they were only minorly aided by animal testing, rather than it being the main source. I also agree that the only reason why animals are used for testing is out of curiosity. Curiosity is often the root cause of any type of experimentation. Curiosity alone is absolutely not an ethical reason to test on animals. There is no justifiable ethical reason to use animals for medical experimentation. Another common argument from animal testing supporters is that most experiments do not harm the animals, making them ethical. I disagree with this idea too.
Just because animals aren’t hurt in an experiment does not make it ethical. The Animal Welfare Act barely does Archer 3 anything to protect animals, which is its job. This federal law does not prohibit any type of experiment at all, no matter how unethical it may be. This law also specifically excludes rodents and cold-blooded animals. “Because they are not protected by the law, experimenters don’t even have to provide mice and rats with pain relief” (PETA. par 8). That is terrible. All animals should be treated equally, whether they are dogs or rats.
It isn’t fair for the federal law to protect a dog but not a rat. That’s like an elementary school having a rule against bullying that protects every child except the disabled children. That isn’t fair, is it? Neither is the Animal Welfare Act. Any experiment on an animal is unethical, whether it harms them or not. In addition, scientists that are pro-animal testing argue that if we didn’t use animals for experimentation, then we’d have to test new drugs on people, which is “unethical. ” This argument is completely invalid because we already do test drugs on people.
People voluntarily are used in experiments to test drugs all the time. They are aware of the risks of volunteering to be experimented on and are debriefed before the experiment. Being in the experiment is a choice; no one is forced to participate. Because these experiments are voluntary only, there is no ethical issue with testing drugs on humans. Animals, on the other hand, are not capable of having morals and ethics. They do not have the ability to decide whether or not they want to volunteer for an experiment. It is not ethical to harm something that cannot make moral or ethic based decisions.
Some scientists supportive of animal testing argue that animals help in the fight against cancer. An article titled “Animal Research Means Medical Progress” by the Americans for Medical Progress organization discusses why they believe that animal testing is ethical. “Animal research was essential for the development of Herceptin and Tamoxifen, two medicines that have saved the lives of thousands of women and men with breast cancer” (AMP. par 3). I agree that these two medications have saved lives of many with breast cancer.
That’s great and all, but Archer 4 e National Cancer Institution has started taking human cancer cells by biopsy during surgery and using them for experimentation. They test these cells for new anti-cancer drugs. By doing this, millions of animals are saved from experimentation. These tests are also more accurate and more likely to produce a working cancer treatment than animal testing. Animal testing has been proven to not even be reliable for cancer experimentation.
A charity called Safer Medicines discusses animal testing to find a cure to cancer in a section on their website. They state, “The US National Cancer Institute treated mice growing 48 different ‘human’ cancers with a dozen different drugs proven successful in humans, and in 30 of the cases, the drugs were useless in mice … Animal experimentation is not scientific because it is not predictive.
” These statistics prove that mice and humans have different body structures; therefore, mouse bodies will react to cancer cells differently than human bodies. I strongly agree with the last statement. Animal experimentation isn’t predictive, so how can we test animals and expect reliable results?
PETA shares the same argument with Safer Medicines. In “Animal Testing Is Bad Science,” PETA quotes Richard Klausner, former head of the National Cancer Institute: “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse… We have cured mice of cancer for decades – and it simply didn’t work in humans” (PETA. par 7).
Klausner is exactly right. Curing cancer in mice is completely different from curing cancer in humans because our bodies are different. Richard Klausner and Safer Medicines have the same idea; -both argue that mice and humans aren’t relatable when it comes to cancer treatment experimentation. How can you expect to find a cure to cancer if you’re not even experimenting on the right body?
The Food and Drug Administration discovered that as much as 92% of all drugs that are successful in animal experiments are not successful in human experiments. When these drugs Archer 5 are tested on humans, they either do not work at all or are harmful to the human’s health. So what about the other 8% of drugs that are approved for human use? The drugs in that small percentage often are taken off the market because of side effects that weren’t previously identified in the animal tests.
Zomax, a prescription drug that tested positively on animals, killed fourteen people and did medical damage to many others. Although it seemed safe during animal testing, there were many unidentified side effects that were fatal for humans. Prescription drugs, the fourth largest killer in the United States, kill over 100,000 humans every year. All of these fatal drugs are due to faulty and unreliable animal testing. Even if animal testing was ethical and moral, it would still be pointless because it just goes to waste anyway.
In “Where is the Evidence that Animal Research Benefits Humans? ” researchers from the Yale School of Medicine discuss how valuable animal research into potential human treatments actually is. The title of the article says it all. Is there actually any evidence that animal research benefits humans? “Much animal research into potential treatments for humans is wasted because it is poorly conducted and not evaluated through systematic reviews” (Pound et al. 514). This statement suggests that the animal testing that is conducted in order to find treatments for humans just goes to waste.
I find this to be outrageous. Why experiment on animals if the results aren’t even being used? That means the animals are suffering for nothing. No reason at all. Animal testing is unethical and immoral. Under no circumstance does it become ethical or moral. There is no logical reason to use animals for medical experimentation because there are several alternatives that can be used that even produce better results, such as using human cancer cells or even just humans. Why would scientists continue to harm animals in tests when they could use alternative ways of testing that are more efficient?
Animal testing needs to stop. Archer 6 Works Cited “Animal Research Means Medical Progress. ” Americans For Medical Progress. Americans for Medical Progress, n. d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. PETA. “Animal Testing Is Bad Science: Point/Counterpoint. ”
PETA. org. N. p. , n. d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. Pound, Pandora, Shah Ebrahim, Peter Sandercock, Michael B. Bracken, and Ian Roberts. “Where Is the Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans? ” BMJ: British Medical Journal 328. 7438 (2004): 514-17. JSTOR. BMJ Publishing Group, 28 Feb. 2004. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.