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Pros and Cons of Animal Testing: The Conflicting Debate

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Animal testing is a worldwide controversy that is constantly battling between the benefits and drawbacks of using animals for scientific and commercial testing. They have been used for many things like testing make-up products, developing medical treatments, checking the safety of products intended for human use and many more. Before the 19th century, there was an insubstantial amount of public objection to the testing of animals until more pets were being adopted into families and it is estimated that 26 million animals are used for testing every year in America: it has been said that animal testing started as early as 500BC. With this in mind, there are an endless amount of pros and cons that have been argued throughout the years.

The first argument that is a popular advantage to using animals, is testing for medical treatments: this has lead to various life-saving cures and treatments. California Biomedical Research Association (2013) found that a vast majority of medical breakthroughs within the last 100 years is due to using animals for research. The associations research was on their website and written in 2013, providing insight to the benefits of animal testing. An example of this is the Polio vaccine. When testing on animals to further understand this disease, a cure was eventually found; this then lead to a decrease in it’s manifestation globally from 350,000 cases in 1988 to then only 27 cases in 2016, a long 28 years later. Alongside this, various researchers came across information that animal testing was beneficial due to it giving a larger insight and understanding in things such as brain injuries, childhood leukaemia, cystic fibrosis and countless other conditions. A drawback to testing on animals is mainly due to the fact that in my personal opinion, it is both barbaric and inhumane. The Humane Society International (2013) made public that the animals being used in experiments are subjected to force feeding, both food and water deprivation, potentially days of physical restraint and also killing via carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck breaking, decapitation or various other means. The argument that it is morally wrong can be supported with what is called “The Draize Eye Test”. This is commonly used by cosmetic companies to analyse irritation that is caused by shampoos and other cosmetic products: rabbits are forced to be immobilised in restraining stocks with their eyelids held open by clips for multiple days on end; the clips are used in order to prevent them from blinking the products away that are being tested.

The US department of Agriculture (2016) reported that there was a total of 71,370 animals which suffered pain during these experiments due to not being given any anaesthesia for relief.

An additional benefit to animal testing is the fact that they are similar to humans in several ways. An example of this is chimpanzees sharing almost all (99%) of their DNA with humans alongside mice being 98% genetically similar to humans. Understanding Animal Research (2013) discovered that all mammals (including humans) are all descended from multiple common ancestors, as well as also having the same organs in the body (heart, lungs etc) that all correctly function in the same way. This has then been portrayed to the public that animals are essentially identical to humans allowing people to believe that due to them being so biologically similar, they can be used as test subjects as they are in a way, like humans. It has also been reported that animals can obtain some of the same conditions or illnesses like diabetes or heart disease which therefore further conveys reasons for them to be used. Due to them being different via their metabolic, anatomic and cellular functions (contrast to popular belief they’re biologically different) it is able to show the downsides to testing on animals. It has also been proven that 94% of drugs that pass animal testing, do not pass when trying them in human clinical trials.

To reinforce the previous drawbacks to animal testing, a lot of experiments that are tested on animals don’t always work and so it can be seen as a waste of life. There is an unnamed peer-reviewed study that found significant flaws in a rather large portion of publicly funded studies in both the UK and US. Similar to humans, animals feel pain; Singer (2009) and Dawkins (2011) conveyed that by discriminating against animals due to them not having things such as the “cognitive ability, language or moral judgement that humans do”, it isn’t equally as justifiable than discriminating against humans that suffer with severe mental impairments. This is a strong point from both researchers concluding that animal testing is wrong. However, it has been said that animals are used in particular cases due to ethical considerations that prevent human participants from being used. It is believed that when testing new medicines for any potential toxicity, human participants should not be put in harms way for no reason (procon.org). Speaking of Research (2013) remarked that it would be unethical to humans to do invasive experimental procedures on them before it has been done on the likes of animals beforehand due to it involving genetic manipulation.

This is a global controversy that is constantly in the media due to the benefits and drawbacks it has. Where each point makes up the argument, animal testing shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary, despite the fact it has developed various drugs for severe illnesses or conditions like polio. Despite this notable event, animals are loving creatures who instead of being tortured by cosmetics (like the rabbits eyes being held open by clips), should be in loving families or back in their own environment. As previously mentioned, animals should only be used when absolutely necessary in the case of it not working in human trials and it needing to be further developed.

Reference List:

  • procon.org. (2019) Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing? Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues. Available from https://animal-testing.procon.org [accessed 11 November 2019].
  • California Biomedical Research Association. CBRA Fact Sheet: Why Are Animals Necessary in Biomedical Research? California Biomedical Research Association. Available from https://ca-biomed.org/CSBR/pdf/fs-whynecessary.pdf [accessed 11 November 2019].
  • World Health Organisation, (2019) Poliomyelitis. World Health Organisation. Available from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/poliomyelitis [accessed 11 November 2019].
  • Bass, P (2013), Email to ProCon.org.
  • Global Polio Eradication Initiative, (2017) Polio This Week. Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Available from http://polioeradication.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/polio-eradication-gpei-annual-report-2017-DRAFT.pdf [accessed 11 November 2019].
  • animalresearch.info (2014) Diseases & Research. Animal research.info. Available from http://www.animalresearch.info/en/medical-advances/diseases-research/ [accessed on 11 November 2019].
  • Fisher, E., (2013) Why We Should Accept Animal Testing. HuffPost. Available from https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/professor-elizabeth-fisher/why-we-should-accept-anim_b_3608923.html? [accessed 11 November 2019].
  • Speaking of Research, (2013). Do “Alternatives” Exist? Speaking of Research. Available from https://speakingofresearch.com/extremism-undone/alternatives/ [accessed 12 November 2019].
  • American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. Animal Research FAQ, aalas.org. Available from https://www.aalas.org/public-outreach/animal-research-faq [accessed 12 November 2019].
  • Humane Society International, (2012) About Animal Testing, Humane Society International. Available from https://www.hsi.org/news-media/about/ [accessed 12 November 2019].
  • Bridgeport, J.M, (2009) Do Cosmetic Companies Still Test on Live Animals?. Scientific American. Available from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cosmetics-animal-testing/ [accessed 12 November 2019].
  • Costa, R.N., Abreu, C., Presgrave, R.F., Alves, E.N., Presgrave, O., Delgado, I.F. (2011) A reassessment of the in Vitro Total Protein Content Determination (TPC) with SIRC and 3T3 Cells for the Evaluation of the Ocular Irritation Potential of Shampoos: Comparison with the In Vivo Draize Rabbit Test. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. Available from http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-89132011000600008 [accessed 14 November 2019].
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (2017) Annual Report Animal Usage by Fiscal Year: 2016. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Available from https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/reports/Annual-Report-Animal-Usage-by-FY2016.pdf [accessed 14 November 2019].
  • Understanding Animal Research (2018) Myths and Facts. Understanding Animal Research. Available from http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/animals/how/myths-and-facts/ [accessed 14 November 2019].
  • Wright, D., Kazdin, C., Effron, L. (2012) ‘Zoobiquity’: 7 Diseases Animals Share with Humans. AbcNews. Available from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/zoobiquity-diseases-animals-share-humans/story?id=16549555 [accessed 15 November 2019].
  • Understanding Animal research (2013) Nine Out of Ten Statistics Are Taken Out of Context. Understanding Animal Research. Available from http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/news/communications-media/nine-out-of-ten-statistics-are-taken-out-of-context/ [accessed 15 November 2019].
  • Singer, P. (2009) Animal Liberation, Harper Collins
  • Dawkins, R. (2011) But Can They Suffer? BoingBoing. Available from https://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html [accessed 15 November 2019].
  • Speaking of Research (2017) Animal Research Is Not “Animal Testing” Speaking of Research. Available from https://speakingofresearch.com/2013/01/17/animal-research-is-not-animal-testing/ [accessed 16 November 2019].

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Pros And Cons Of Animal Testing: The Conflicting Debate. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing-the-conflicting-debate/
“Pros And Cons Of Animal Testing: The Conflicting Debate.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing-the-conflicting-debate/
Pros And Cons Of Animal Testing: The Conflicting Debate. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing-the-conflicting-debate/> [Accessed 7 Oct. 2022].
Pros And Cons Of Animal Testing: The Conflicting Debate [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2022 Oct 7]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing-the-conflicting-debate/
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