It is estimated that each year 26 million animals in the United States are used for animal testing. Animals are used to test scientific developments and commercial products. New medical treatments are tested on animals to verify the toxicity of new medications or the safety of a product that will be used on humans. The health care and commercial industries also turn to animal testing for these reasons.
While some contest the use of animals for animal testing it is not a new idea. Research tests conducted on living animals have been practiced since 500 BC. Nonetheless there are those who argue that the use of animals for testing is an inhumane and cruel practice. They argue that alternative methods should be developed to prohibit the need for animal testing. Many organizations such as PETA fight for increased research into alternative methods of testing so that testing on animals can be alleviated. They also argue that tests on animals will yield irrelevant results compared to humans and therefore there is no purpose in animal testing.
Conversely the use of animals is seen by many in the medical field as necessary. While it is not ideal to cause harm to animals it is a safer way to test new products compared to testing them on humans. Typical research and development will begin trials on rats. If those tests prove successful then another set of tests are conducted on monkeys. Once the tests are successful with monkeys then human testing begins. These tiered rounds of testing are used to reduce the amount of mistakes and negative side effects in all breakthroughs. It is argued that animal testing saves many lives and there is no alternative to testing on a living organism. In addition there are strict regulations for animal testing which prevent any mistreatment of the animals in question.
Overall the use of animals for research testing is an old concept and one that has historically been debated. Proponents claim that with regulations in place the animals are not intentionally harmed and that they are taken care of and treated as well as possible. They claim that there is no alternative and that the use of animal testing has saved many lives. And yet there are animal friendly organizations who claim that it is an unnecessary step to use animals for testing and it should be stopped due to its inhumane and cruel nature.
Animal Testing Must Be Eliminated
Testing on animals should be eliminated for various reasons. The first and main reason is that animal testing is cruel. The second reason is that there is no real advantage to animal testing because they are not homologous to humans. The third and last reason is that there are other methods widely available that do not involve cruel treatment to animals.
Animal testing is cruel and causes stress to the animals. They are put in cages and poked and prodded throughout the day. While animals are not by any means as intelligent as the human race, they are proven to have intelligence. Many animals can be trained and exhibit behavior that shows they feel emotion, pain, loneliness, fear, and stress. It should be obvious that keeping animals in lonely cages all day and forcing them to undergo painful testing would cause them stress. Animals should be allowed to run free and experience the normal animal activity that they were born to experience. They may not be able to speak and express themselves in words, but they do have intelligence and thus their rights must be protected by eliminating unnecessary animal testing.
Aside from the cruelty of animal testing, there is no real advantage to test on animals rather than alternative methods. Animal anatomy is similar but not homologous to human anatomy. Therefore, testing on animals provides no real results for human study. The human body is much more complex than that of a mouse or any other animal. As mammals, humans share the same body systems with other mammalian animals; however, this does not equate to sharing similar reactions or effects of medical testing. It could even be dangerous to assume that a human would exhibit the same reaction as another animal.
Lastly, there are other methods available to research scientists that do not involve animals. More research should be done in this area in order to eliminate animal testing completely. Other methods include in-vitro testing and testing on human volunteers. Humans can express their rights and willingly submit to testing while animals cannot. With these alternative methods, the results are 100% more conclusive and applicable than animal testing. Testing on human cells ensures the reliability of their conclusions.
In conclusion, animal testing is cruel to animals because it causes them stress, fear, and pain and is forced upon them without their consent. It is largely inconclusive because animal anatomy is different from human anatomy; results of testing cannot be said to mimic the results in humans. Finally, other methods are available that provide much more accurate and reliable results. Based on these reasons, animal testing should be eliminated altogether as inhumane and ineffective.