New medications, treatments and therapies are of great importance to most people in the world today. Nevertheless, none of those therapies can be implemented unless they are properly and clinically tested. This is done by testing the various products with animals. Small animals such as dogs, pigs, rats, chimpanzees and monkeys are used as subjects in clinical trials of these drugs and treatments. Once the outcome and benefits are seen and if the subject manages to survive and show the promised benefits of the product, the product is then passed off and sold. Animals have been used repeatedly throughout the history of biomedical research. Early Greek physician-scientists performed experiments on living animals. Some people believe that animal testing should not be banned, while others believe that animal testing should be allowed. Even though animal testing can help researcher to find drugs and treatments, there are a number of reasons why animal testing should be banned. In the following paragraphs I will talk about why animal testing should be banned.
One advantage of animal testing is that it can improve human health. It is true that animal testing can help researcher to find drugs and treatments. Humans can find out which treatments can successfully improve their health. However, animal testing is inhumane. It is very often reported that animals have been injured or killed by animal testing. For example, animals might be exposed to drugs, chemicals or infectious disease at levels that cause illness, pain and distress, or death. At the end, the only way to cut their pain is to put them down. Michael O. Leavitt, former secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states, “Currently, nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.” (Leavitt, 2018). This shows that animal testing always fail and it will hurt animals. Therefore, animal testing should be banned.
Opponents of animal testing also claim that animal testing can help human to make sure safety of drugs. However, animals do not get many of the diseases we do, such as Parkinson’s disease, major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV or schizophrenia. Humans are not mice, cats, dogs or any of the other animals that are used to mimic us in the lab. Each kind of animal has a different genetic background that make them unique and ill-suited to serve as predictive models for people. Although researchers have discovered an animal model which appears to mirror what occurs in humans, the response result in animals can occur via different mechanisms because of the intrinsic differences between species. Dr Elias Zerhouni, former director of the National Institutes of Health, states, “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans. We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included. … The problem is that [testing on animal] hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem. … We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.” (Zerhouni, 2018). Thus, humans are different with nonhuman animals, which is another strong reason that why animal testing should be banned.
On the other hand, one of the main reasons why animal testing should be banned is that drugs that pass animal testing are not necessarily safe. The sleeping pill thalidomide in 1950s, which caused ten thousand babies to born with severe deformities, was tested on animals earlier before its commercial release. Later tests on pregnant chicks, rats, pigs, dogs, and monkeys did not result in birth defects unless the drug was administered at extremely high doses. Animal testing on the arthritis drug showed that it had a protective effect on the hearts of animals, yet the drug went on to cause more than twenty seven thousand heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being turned down from the market. Therefore, drugs that pass animal testing does not mean it is necessarily safe is another strong reason against animal testing.
Another argument against animal testing is that animal testing is more expensive than alternative ways and is a waste of research dollars. For example, researchers need to spend a lot of money to bring up and feed those animals. Nowadays, many biotechnology companies are using synthetic organs which can predict the animals’ metabolic reactions to drug in a process that is quicker, cheaper, and more accurately than animal testing; in one trial it provided benefits of specificity which previously could have required testing on one thousand pigs and monkeys. Time and money are more effective than animal testing. Dr Christopher Austin, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Chemical Genomics Centre, status, “Traditional animal testing is expensive, time-consuming, uses a lot of animals and from a scientific perspective the results do not necessarily translate to humans.” (Austin, 2018). Therefore, expensive and time-consuming is one of the reasons of why animal testing should be banned.
One last argument against animal testing is that animal testing is cruel and inhumane. Researchers usually hurt animals during the experiment. For example, The Draize eye test, which used by cosmetics companies to check irritation caused by shampoos. Mice being incapacitated in stocks with their eyelids held open by clips, sometimes for multiple days. Sometimes, mice may become blinded after these inhumanly experiments. Animals also have rights to alive and well. Human should not destroy others’ rights for their own benefits. Therefore, animal testing is cruel and inhumane is one strong reasons of why animal testing should be banned.
In conclusion, animal testing is a controversial issue that has divided public opinion over the past century. It is clear that although animal testing has benefits for humans, I believe that it is extremely inhumane. It is often reported that drugs are not safe for human even passed animal testing. And it is also wasting money and time-consuming. It is hoped that animal testing will be banned as soon as possible.
...(download the rest of the essay above)