Should Animal Testing Continue or Not?


In every year, more than 100 million animals are forced to the experiment or killed in U.S. laboratories for different medical training, chemical, food and cosmetics testing. In this essay, utilitarianism and principle of utility will be introduced and discuss the three ethical issues that related to animal testing, which is animal rights, human rights and the equal consideration theory. And to see whether the use of animal testing matched to the principle of utility. This essay will also introduce the view of supporting the use of animal testing, and point out the reason that why animal testing is supported by different people. It will then conclude that the use of animal testing should be continue as this will bring more pleasure and happiness to the greatest number of people.

1. Introduction

This essay seeks to discuss whether the use of animal testing should be continue or not in all around the world. Under the rules of utilitarianism, the use of animal testing can be considered as a moral action which can bring the greatest pleasure or happiness to the greatest number of people. In order to establish the argument, it start to introduce why animal testing will be a controversial issue. The first part of the essay will introduce what is animal testing and the usage of it. Then it will move on to the utilitarianism and the principle of utility. Next part is the ethical issues that brought by animal testing. After that, it will discuss the reasons the animal testing are supported by the society.

2. Background information

2.1 What is animal testing

Animal testing is different experiments, researches that carried out on the animals. Different animals are used in different test, e.g., mice, rabbits, pigs. Those animals are used to check the safety and assess the effectiveness of the products that for human use, e.g. medicine, food, cosmetics. It’s also used to understand how well the product works on human body. However, all of those tests may harm to animals and cause them physical and psychological distress, or even die during the test. Most of the animals will be killed at the end of the test, and some of them will be re-use in another test.

2.2 Current usage of animal testing

Animal tests are carried out for develop medical treatments, determine the toxicity of medications, check the safety of products destined for human use. Toxicity tests are carried out on the animals e.g. mice, to estimate the safety of products. Irritation tests of different cosmetic products on the face or skin are carried on the rabbit. Each test is based on a human health endpoint and assume the body condition of the animal are same as the human. All of those human health endpoints assess in different types of tests, like eye irritation, skin irritation, skin sensitization, carcinogenicity, genetic toxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity and acute oral systemic toxicity.

3. Utilitarianism

3.1 What is utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that determines rights from wrong by focusing on outcomes. Utilitarianism holds that an act is right if it can produce the greatest good (pleasure or happiness) for the greatest number of people, and think that pleasure or happiness is the only intrinsic good. It also can classify as a consequentialism which claims that the rightness or badness act is based on the goodness or badness of the results. Utilitarians believe that the purpose of morality is to increase the amount of pleasure and happiness in the world and decrease the amount of pain and unhappiness to make a better life. Utilitarianism is the most commonly used method of moral reasoning in business because it can explain costs and benefits.

3.2 What is the principle of Utility

The principle of utility introduced by the Philosopher Jeremy Bentham and Philosopher John Stuart Mill built upon it. The principle of utility holds that the most moral action is the action that can provide the greatest pleasure or happiness for the greatest number of people. The action will be considered wrong if they produce more pain than pleasure to greatest number of people. According to this principle, the pleasure and pain are objective. The level of good is measured by the intensity, duration, certainty or uncertainty, propinquity or remoteness, fecundity or unfruitfulness, purity, extent.

4. What ethical issues brought by animal testing

4.1 Animal Rights

One ethical issue concerned is animal rights, it is based on the ethical and moral philosophy and it is an idea that is the non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives, and prevent suffering from different ills. Animal rights means that no experiments on animals, no breeding or killing animals for food or clothes or medicine, no hunting and no zoos or use of animals in entertainment.??Animal testing are something that hurts the animals, or even depriving their lives. A question raised by Jeremy Bentham The question is not ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ”Can they suffer?”. During the test, animals can feel pain, fear, frustration, loneliness, and all of these things they may not need to suffer original if they live in the nature. Since animals are conscious, they can make conscious choice and they know what is happening to them. Therefore, the animals have their own rights.

Animal testing are depriving animal rights because some test may kill them in an unjustified way or the test may make the them uncomfortable.

4.2 Human rights

Another ethical issue related to animal testing is human rights. Human rights are rights that inherent to all human beings, no matter what nationality, language, religions, sex or other status. However, people can’t deprive animal rights, people can’t take control animal’s life and kill the animal to fulfill their needs.

During animal testing, animals are forced to do different test, e.g., eye irritation, skin irritation, skin sensitization, carcinogenicity, genetic toxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity and acute oral systemic toxicity.

4.3 The Equal Consideration Theory

The Equal Consideration Theory holds that although animals do not have equal worth to humans, they are just like human beings in basic morally relevant ways and they are deserved to have our moral regards.

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