The Pros and Cons of Animal Testing
Animal testing or animal experimentation is the process of using non-humans for the purpose of experimentation. For example, scientists use animal testing to determine the effectiveness and side effects of potentially new medicines to help decide if these medicines are safe for people. I think this is maybe related to why people use "guinea pig" as a term meaning experimentation and sometimes even experimentation on people.
Animal testing is extremely controversial, so letís review both the advantages and disadvantages of animal testing.
Reasons For Animal Testing
- Medical Advancement: The most obvious advantage of animal testing is for medical experimentation. Advancements in medicine help people, animals, and even plants. Unfortunately, the best way to test potentially new medicines is through animal testing, and if initially successful, then by human testing too. It is considered more humane to do medical testing on animals first, then on humans first, for the obvious reason that human life is considered more precious than animals. Additionally, new medicines can also help animals too, so this falls under the philosophy of the needs of the many (animals) outweigh the needs of the few (animals). Meaning the few animals that are sacrificed or tested upon is worth less than the many animals that are potentially saved or helped, thus helping the greater good is more morale. Of course, this opinion is subjective to each person.
- Product Safety: Another popular reason for animal testing is for determining the safety of products, such as cosmetics testing. In theory, animals used for safety testing are typically not killed and remain healthy, however they are often maltreated. Again, it is commonly considered that the safety of people outweighs the safety of animals, thus animal testing for safety is common.
- Scientific Knowledge: Animal testing and experimentation is an excellent source to increase scientific knowledge. No one knows what knowledge that will be attained through animal testing, so the value of such animal testing cannot be ascertained ahead of time or even guessed. The most common examples of animal experimentation for scientific knowledge are animal biopsies and vivisections in schools to teach children biology and medical procedures. While this type of animal testing might not yield immediate useful results, it has been helpful in the long term of helping science.
- Accuracy: Finally, the biggest reason for animal testing is because it works better than any other alternative. Why animal testing can yield results different than human testing, the similarities between animals and humans is staggering and thus helpful to mankind.
Reasons Against Animal Testing
- Torture and Suffering: Animals undergoing testing can be subjected to torture and suffering. Alternatively in some cases, some animals may be even cured of their ailments and diseases during the process of animal testing.
- Death: Animals can, and sometimes often, die in the process of animal testing.
- Ethics/Morality: The ethics and morality of testing on animals is often debated. A large number of people do not believe animal testing is ethical, however they often concede that it is necessary.
- Choice: Since animals cannot volunteer for animal testing, then some people believe animal testing is not ethical. These people believe that it is only ethical to test on subjects who willingly give their consent for self testing.
- Accuracy: As mentioned before, animals are different than people, thus their testing results are not always useful or practical for human comparisons. Therefore, if the usefulness of animal testing is in question, then animal testing should be reconsidered.
- Price: Finally, the price of keeping and disposing of animals can be quite high. That is why testing, on computer simulations, has increased recently. However, the accuracy of computer simulations is less than animal testing.
by Phil B.