The Cruelty in Animal Testing
Every year in the United States, it is estimated that tens of millions of animals are used for research and testing purposes (Animal Experimentation 50).These animals are usually mice, rats, rabbits, fish, guinea pigs, non-human primates, and other farm animals. Test animals undergo testing for cosmetics and household products, trials for new medicines, and scientific experiments. These tests and experiments are uncomfortable and often painful for the animals. The United States has laws to help protect animals, but there are no bans on animals tests and experiments, while places like Britain have stricter laws (“Alas, Animal Experiments Are Still Needed”). Moreover, funding for animal research in the United States has increased, but it still ranks 49th in the world in life expectancy and second worst in infant mortality (“Animal Testing Is Bad Science”). However, more companies are choosing not to test on animals. Products with the leaping bunny logo are from companies that use cruelty-free methods and ingredients. Unfortunately, many companies still use inhumane practices on animals. Ultimately, the use of animals for testing and experimenting must be limited because it is unregulated, it is done in a cruel manner, and it is not always successful. While the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was enacted in the United States to protect research animals, the rules are not strictly enforced, animal tests are not required by law, and researchers can easily receive exemptions. To begin, laws under the AWA, created in the 1960s, are not respected by many scientists. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regularly documents serious violations of the AWA (Animal Experimentation 76). For example, in 2010 and 2011, the USDA repeatedly cited Vanderbilt University for having unqualified surgeons perform multiple illegal, unapproved, and highly invasive brain surgeries on primates (Animal Experimentation 79).
Additionally, it is not necessary to test on animals. Animal testing is cruel, as it is not mandatory to develop or sell products in the United States; that decision to test cosmetics or household products on animals is up to the company (Corazza). Furthermore, research animals are not completely protected by the AWA. The Humane Society, an animal protection organization in the United States, reported that “A large percentage of animals used in such testing are not counted in official statistics and do not receive protection under the Animal Welfare Act.” The AWA allows animals to be exempted from basic standards for treatment and care if they are being used for scientific purposes (Animal Experimentation 80). Ultimately, the AWA is not a sufficient law to protect research animals because it is not respected by scientists, animal tests are not mandatory, and it allows for exemptions.
While it is true that the use of animals in experiments has improved knowledge of medicine and body systems, animals are still being tested and experimented on in inhumane ways that cause emotional trauma, physical suffering, and even death, with companies failing to admit the harm they do. One serious effect of experimentation on animals is the psychological symptoms they experience. Research animals are frequently subjected to emotional stress and exhibit symptoms of stress such as elevations in pulse, elevations in blood pressure, and elevations in steroid hormone release that last an hour or more after a procedure (Animal Experimentation 50). Primates are also more susceptible to cognitive damage because of their advanced social and psychological characteristics (Animal Experimentation 35-36). Consumers are generally more concerned by the physical pain of animal experimentation, but the emotional trauma is just as severe. Furthermore, tests on animals are painful and relentless. Cosmetic tests on mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs includes rubbing chemicals onto shaved skin or into their eyes to observe irritation with no pain relief provided, and force-feeding studies that last weeks or months to look for signs of illness (Corazza). In addition, research animals are killed, both accidentally and on purpose. In 2011, the USDA reported Mclean Hospital in Boston for an incident where a research primate was found dead after only ten minutes in the experimental chamber. The death was a result of insufficient housing and environment for primates (Animal Experimentation 77). Cosmetic test animals are also exposed to lethal dose tests, where animals are force-fed large amounts of ingredients to determine the amount that causes death (Corazza). When non-lethal tests are done, the animals are killed by neck-breaking, asphyxiation, or decapitation; they are not given pain relief (Corazza). The companies and institutions that treat animals in this horrific manner should be held accountable for their actions (Boyd). In brief, animal testing should be limited because it is cruel to the animals in many ways and companies are not being held responsible. Moreover, animal tests are a waste because they are unreliable to predict results in humans, they frequently fail, and there are more efficient alternatives. In the first place, experiments in animals rarely predict accurate responses that a human would. “No matter how many animal tests are undertaken, someone will always be the first human to be tested on. Because animal tests are so unreliable, they make those human trials all the more risky,” stated PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), an animal rights organization based in the United States (“Animal Testing Is Bad Science”). This means that relying on animal tests is a bigger risk because that means giving someone a product that might have been fine in animals, but not in humans. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) reported that 92% of drugs that were found effective and safe in animal research failed in human trials because they were dangerous or did not work. Medical discoveries are actually delayed as researchers try to create an animal model of the human disease. An example is the discovery that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. The finding was first reported in 1954.
However, the report was dismissed because lung cancer due to inhalation of cigarette smoke could not be induced in animal models. It was not until 30 years later that the US Surgeon General issued the warning about cigarettes (Animal Experimentation 23). This cost many people their lives. Similarly, animal tests are often unsuccessful and provide no useful results. Studies have shown that animal experimenters are wasting both animal and human lives by trying to infect animals with diseases that they would never normally never contract (“Animal Testing Is Bad Science”). This is also a waste of time and resources, not to mention cruel to the test animals. It is wrong to treat animals as objects of scientific research and cause them pain and suffering, while not being able to use animal outcomes to predict results in humans. PETA expressed that, “The only reason people are under the misconception that animal experiments help humans is because the media, experimenters, universities and lobbying groups exaggerate the potential of animal experiments to lead to new cures and the role they have played in past medical advances.” These companies and groups care more about politics, money, and publicity than the welfare of innocent animals. Additionally, there are cruel-free alternative options to animal tests. There are ingredients that have already been proven safe; these can be used in place of new ingredients being tested on animals (Corazza). New drugs can also be tested on living cells and human tissue grown in laboratories instead of using animals (“Alas, Animal Experiments…”). According to the Humane Society, there are nearly 50 non-animal tests that have been approved (Corazza). Some of these alternatives are human clinical trials and epidemiological studies, human tissue and cell research, human patient simulators, cadavers, and computer models. These options are less expensive, more precise, more reliable, and more humane than animal tests (“Animal Testing Is Bad Science”).
Undoubtedly, companies and research facilities should switch to animal test alternatives because animal tests are inaccurate and misleading.Overall, it is necessary to limit testing on animals, as the tests are unregulated, cruel to the animals, and irrelevant, therefore inhumane to the animals. To aid in ending animal cruelty through testing, consumers can choose to only buy products from companies that do not test and urge companies that do test to stop.There is still much progress to make in giving animals rights, but enforcing stricter laws on experimentation will help these animals. No more animal lives will be wasted on testing and and results from alternative tests will be more precise and relevant. Ultimately, ending cruel tests on animals will benefit both animals and consumers.
“Alas, Animal Experiments Are Still Needed.” The Independent, Global Issues In Context , 21 June, 2011,ic.galegroup.com/ic/gic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&docIndex=&source=&prodId=GIC&search_within_results=&p=GIC%3AOVIC&mode=view&catId=&u=wausauehs&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CA259328121&windowstate=normal&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary=.
Animal Experimentation. At Issue, Susan Hunnicutt, Editor, Greenhaven press, 2013.”Animal Testing Is Bad Science.” Animal Rights, Opposing Viewpoints In Context, Noah Berlatsky, Editor, Greenhaven Press, 2015, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=true&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&docIndex=&source=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC%3AGIC&mode=view&catId=&u=wausauehs&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010954207&windowstate=normal&activityType=DocumentWithCommentary&failOverType=&commentary=true.
Boyd, Lyz. “Animal Research and Torture Are Not the Same Thing.” University Wire, 24 May, 2017, SIRS Issues Researcher, sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000395747&type=ART.Corazza, Josette. “Stop Cosmetic Testing on Animals.” University Wire, 02 May, 2017, SIRS Issue Researcher, sks.sirs.com/webapp/article?artno=0000393180&type=ART.