Animal Testing is Unethical, Unreliable and Unnecessary
Every year, 100 million animals sit in U.S laboratories caged and waiting to be burned, abused, and infected (Madhusree 1). The test subjects have few rights, protective services, or liberties. The pictures of restrained tormented animals are hidden in a veil of secrecy amongst red lipsticks, sweetener packets, and paints. What the world desires carries a secret pain, and comes at a cost that often goes unnoticed. Despite the scientific advancements achieved through animal testing, scientists should resort to alternative experimentation methods because Animal testing is unethical, unreliable, and unnecessary. Furthermore, there are more efficient and moral technological advancements that allow products to be tested without the endangering of animals.
Animal testing is often overshadowed by the advancements in the medical field. During the early ages of society animal testing was the only viable way to learn about the human body. According to the NCBI, Early Greek physician-scientists, such as Aristotle, and Erasistratus performed experiments on living animalsGalen a Greek physician who practiced in Rome and was a giant figure in the history of medicine, conducted animal experiments to advance the understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology (Hajar, 1). Therefore, animal testing was a necessary action taken in order to advance the world’s technological advancements in many scientific areas. However, since 400 B.C the world has also advanced in experimentation technology. For example, human volunteers, sophisticated computational methods, and in vitro studies based on human cells and tissues are critical to the advancement of medicine. There are now advanced non-animal techniques that can prove products safe for human consumption.
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The treatment and cruelty elicited by experimentation in U.S laboratories exhibits ethically concerning questions of justice. For example, many rabbits undergo a treatment called the Draize test which [drops] concentrated amounts of a test substance into an animal’s eye (while their lids are clipped open) or placing a chemical onto an area where the animal’s skin has been shaved. The results are irritation, which may include ulceration, inflamed/bleeding skin, swollen eyes, and blindness (Neaves 1). Lab Animals are pulled from the wild or bred specifically for experimentation purposes. They are forced to inhale toxic fumes, immobilized in restraint devices, have holes drilled into their skulls, or have their skin burned off. In addition to the torment induced in the actual experiments, animals in laboratories are deprived of everything that is natural and important to themthey are confined to barren cages, socially isolated, and psychologically traumatized (Peta 10). Furthermore, A large percentage of animals in U.S laboratories present the same reactions of torment as a human would exhibit (Goodman 1). Many animals cry, scream, break their backs in writhing pain, wrap their arms around their own bodies for comfort, or rock in psychological discomfort. These experiments are performed in the name of technological advancement or pure curiosity at the expense of an animals right to live free of torment. Many of these pain inducing tests result in products that were never meant to reach public consumption or never will end up in the hands of consumers.
Not only is animal testing unethical, it is unreliable as well. Food and drug admin reports that 92 out of every 100 drugs that pass in animal tests fail in humans (Akhtar 1). Considering Over 100 million animals every year are involved in Vitro tests, the data fails to argue the morality of animal experimentation in the name of saving human lives (Peta 6). Furthermore, many animal tests have directly hurt humans since there is more than 90 percent chance that the drug that tested safe and effective in animals will be ineffective or unsafe in humans. For example, Aisha Akhtar, M.D, reflects on a previous experiment on Alzheimer’s when she says, In 2003, ?‰lan Pharmaceuticals had to stop trials of an Alzheimer’s vaccine that had cured the disease in Alzheimer’s mice, after the substance caused brain inflammation in humans (Akhtar 1). Therefore, it is often found that the experience of the animal experiment may not even reflect how a human will react to a product. Animal experimentation is less reliable than other new methods of testing new products. For example, EpiDerm, an in vitro test derived from cultured human skin cells, was found to be more accurate in identifying chemical skin irritants than traditional animal testsEpiDerm correctly detected all of the test chemicals that irritate human skin, while tests on rabbits misclassified 10 out of 25 test chemicals (Neavs 1). Many tests have shown that not only can methods such as in vitro, the cultivation of human cells, provide equivalent results to animal testing, but often times more accurate results. While many believe that no test can predict the complex interactions that occur within an entire living system besides animal experimentation, there are many feasible solutions.
Upon the moralization of animal testing, people tend to draw attention to the many medical advancements the world has achieved though animal subjects, and away from the injustice committed to animals. According to the California Biomedical Research Association nearly every medical breakthrough in the last 100 years has resulted directly from research using animals. (California Biomedical Research Association 1). Everything from polio to everyday vaccines were made in the name of animal testing. Without animal testing scientists would not have the advancements on breast cancer, brain injury, childhood leukemia, cystic fibrosis, malaria, multiple sclerosis and tuberculosis that they do now. Furthermore, animal experimentation activists argue how incredibly complex the human body is, and that animals like chimpanzees share up to 99% of human DNA. However, animals have largely different metabolic, anatomic, and cellular makeup than humans do, which makes them poor subjects for human examinations. Thomas Hartung, Professor of evidence-based toxicology at Johns Hopkins University, argues for alternatives to animal testing because “”we are not 70 kg rats.”” (Perkel 1). The truth is that the complexity of the human body challenges any format of product safety experimentation, which is why it is important to challenge non-animal testing techniques. According to the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane research, founded by the former president of the Anti-vivisection society, It is a myth that animals are indispensable to medical research modern research techniques offer superior replacements to animal testing (Perkel 2). In summary, when considering the scientific percentage of error in animal testing, new advancements and less pain inducing tests are viable options.
Animal testing continues to become increasingly more wasteful and unnecessary. The experimentation industry is economically taxing and ultimately not productive enough to rationalize the abuse of millions of animals. Not only are time, money and animals’ lives wasted, but effective treatments are being mistakenly discarded and harmful treatments are getting approved. The support for animal testing is based largely on data secrecy and misconceptions that are not backed up by the scientific progression. According to the international cruelty free society, The US drug industry invests $50 billion per year in research, but the approval rate of new drugs is the same as it was 50 years ago. Only 6% of 4,300 international companies involved in drug development have registered a new drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1950 (Geoff 1). Moreover, despite the use of over 115 million animals in experiments globally each year, only 46 new medicines were approved in 2017 by the leading drug regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Geoff 1). A significant amount of money, time, and scientific resources are put into animal testing, and while many major advancements in medical history have been made through non-human subjects, the reality is experimentation and science is evolving in a way that outgrows the use of animals as test subjects. Furthermore, according to The U.S. National Institutes of Health, who donates more than 40 percent of their funds to animal experimentation, the NIH admits that experiments on animals often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money (Peta 6). In conclusion, the industry of animal experimentation is wasteful and unnecessary in money, time, resources, and animals’ lives.
The problem that results from the statistics of animal experimentation and the useful results that have previously been achieved through animal subjects is that there are new, more reliable and purposeful techniques cultivated to advance experimentation methods in the world’s stem fields. For example, epidemiological studies, clinical intervention trials, astute clinical observation aided by laboratory testing, human tissue and cell cultures, autopsy studies, endoscopic examination and biopsy, as well as the emerging science of molecular epidemiology, which relates genetic, metabolic and biochemical factors with epidemiological data on disease incidence. These methods offer significant promise for identifying the causes of human disease Reliable, economical non-animal methods are readily available for a wide variety of testing applications, including antibody production, skin irritation and sensitization, eye irritation, endocrine disruption, and tobacco product development and testing. As progressive scientists begin to except the regressive results elicited by archaic testing methods, and technology evolves to welcome in new tests in the product safety industry, it is time to rethink the induced torment of animal experimentation and what it brings.
In other words, there are many new technologies in the product safety world that can help make the transition into a more cruelty free industry. Many basic science and disease animal studies, which don’t translate to humans, can be replaced with new organ-on-chip technology, sophisticated computer simulations, 3-D cultures of human cells, epidemiological studies, and other more modern methods. Furthermore, Harvard’s Wyss Institute created an organ on chip method, that virtually mimics the structure of the human organ system. These tissues have been proven to exude more accurate and precise results than an experiment on an animal would elicit. In fact, many companies have already switched over to the use of organ on chip methods. However, this is not the only example of a positive transition to alternative testing methods. In the United Kingdom, laboratories are now banned from testing cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals. This means that it is illegal to sell or market a cosmetic product if animal testing has taken place on the finished cosmetic or its ingredients before being sold in the EU (Hajar 2). Furthermore, researchers at the European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing developed five different tests that use human blood cells to detect contaminants in drugs that cause a potentially dangerous fever response when they enter the body. In fact, studies predict that the newest model of computer testing, in cilico, can accurately stimulate the human body’s reaction to any drug, and in the future possibly replace animal test subjects all together. More specifically, Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships (QSARs) are computer-based techniques that can replace animal tests by making sophisticated estimates of a substance’s likelihood of being hazardous, based on its similarity to existing substances and our knowledge of human biology. Companies and governments are increasingly using QSAR tools to avoid animal testing of chemicals. Seemingly, another option is examination through human volunteers through a process of small dosages of product and extreme watch over the volunteers. This method is called micro dosing and it provides vital information on the safety of an experimental drug and how it is metabolized in humans prior to large-scale human trials. Volunteers are given an extremely small one-time drug dose, and sophisticated imaging techniques are used to monitor how the drug behaves in the body. Micro dosing can replace certain tests on animals and help screen out drug compounds that won’t work in humans so that they won’t needlessly advance to government-required animal testing. Advanced brain imaging and recording techniquessuch as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)with human volunteers can be used to replace archaic experiments in which rats, cats, and monkeys have their brains damaged. These modern techniques allow the human brain to be safely studied down to the level of a single neuron. Therefore, there are an abundance of healthy alternatives to animal cruelty that reap equally accurate results while sometimes eliciting even more specific test results. In conclusion, it is unnecessary to continue the tradition of animal experimentation when there are numerous progressive options that can replace or at the very least mitigate animal cruelty.
In conclusion, while animal experimentation has been fairly valuable in the history of medical achievements, the advancements of testing technology has increased exponentially. When there are multiple alternatives to animal cruelty, the question is no longer how can were place animal testing subjects, but when will you? What is stopping the world from transitioning to a more cruelty free society? The testing industry should transition to a system like organ on chip testing to mitigate the amount of animals used in testing systems, and then begin the transition into a complete cruelty free experimentation industry. In summary, animal testing is unreliable, unnecessary and unethical.