Animal Testing: Barbaric Scientific Practice or Absolute Necessity?

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Animal Testing, also referred to as Vivisection, is an extremely controversial ethical issue. An issue that tends to stir up a lot of emotion in the people who are advocating or opposing it, and understandable so as there is a fine line between helpful scientific research, and barbaric practices that wreak torture. I personally am opposed to animals being used in medical research studies for a number of reasons.

To begin, we must first have mutual understanding of what exactly animal testing is, and how it specifically is defined. Animal testing by definition is, “the use of non-human animals in research and development projects, especially for purposes of determining the safety of substances such as foods or drugs” (Dictionary.com, 2003-2010). More specifically, it is testing conducted with the intention to determine toxicity, dosing, and effectiveness of test drugs before going on to conduct human experimental assessments (biology online, 2008). Likewise, animal testing has also been referred to as Vivisection, and though this ultimately boils down to experimental medical animal research, vivisection focuses more on the “practice of subjecting living animals to cutting operations, especially in order to advance physiological and pathological knowledge” (Dictionary.com, 2010). When put in those terms, it sounds a little cruel and unusual, does it not? I certainly think so. Part I:

Having said this, I am a self proclaimed oppositionist of animal testing in medical research as a whole for a number of reasons. The biggest of these reasons being the fact that I believe it to be inhumane to conduct testing on animals as we as a society rarely, if ever, apply the same scientific exploration/experimentation to human beings. Why might you ask? The answer is simple; we rarely if ever conduct such testing on human beings because it is thought to be inhumane. So, why is it humane to inflict such sufferings on animal’s lives when we refuse to do the same of our own? To be perfectly honest, I cannot think of a single reason for such justification. What’s more is that this sort of mentality certainly questions the true nature of ethics, and I for one cannot help but take the utilitarian view that pain and suffering is pain and suffering regardless of human or animal (Waller, 2008, p.276). Should we be treated differently in terms of suffering? I certainly do not think so, but the truth of the matter is we are.

Additionally, I oppose animal testing in medical research, because I believe that there is little if any regard for animal rights. The test subjects involved are not only treated as a means to an end, but also are unable to give proper consent for such testing. Consider for a moment if the shoe were on the other foot, what if you were being used as a test subject for medical research and had not given consent? What if the results were detrimental to your wellbeing or worse, resulted in certain death? Can you honestly tell me that you or your loved ones would not seek justice as your rights were so obviously disregarded? I believe that you would, and believe your loved ones would as well. So why is it that non-human animals, which live and breathe just as “we” do, are considered differently? Again, I seriously do not believe such a distinction should be made. Perhaps this is because I cannot decipher the difference here. What, may I ask, is the difference? Do animals not have the same right to life as human beings? I certainly think so.

Furthermore, such testing results are not absolute. While it is true that some animals bare certain similar physiology to human beings, they are not identical. In fact some of the animals that are used for testing, do not even come close to “our” physiology (rabbits, mice & rats), yet are still tested upon (Lalwani, 2010). What’s more is the fact that there have been several cases where the benefits of the medical breakthrough were drastically outweighed by the consequences of the...
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