Is Animal Testing Really Necessary?

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Animal testing is a phrase that most people have heard but are perhaps still unsure of exactly what is involved. Whether it is referred to as animal testing, animal experimentation or animal research, it means the experimentation carried out on animals. Experimental animal testing has been one of the highest debated issues for many years. Animal testing is used for numerous products and applications. Everything from toiletries to medications has likely been tested on animals at some point prior to their distribution (Murnaghan). Animal testing can be conducted anywhere from a university to a military defense establishment, wherever there is a need for testing a product. Products to be tested will range from cosmetics to pesticides and anything in-between. Animal testing has been around for over 500 years, since the early 17th century, though testing for cosmetic purposes did not start until the 1930s. Animal testing has been highly debated for many years for whether it is moral, ethical, humane, right, wrong, just, fair, etcetera. Many people stand against animal testing because they feel that it is unfair treatment to animals since animals do not have a say in the matter. On the other side of the argument, people fight for animal testing because it allows for prescription drugs and medicines to be tested. Both sides have their valid points, animal testing can be seen as cruel, especially when there are alternatives that can be used, but also, even with alternatives, testing on animals is still sometimes necessary in order to get the needed results. In a debate between Laurie Pycroft, one of the founders of Pro-Test, and Helen Marston, head of Humane Research Australia, the two go back and forth about animal testing and its potential alternatives. Pycroft starts out the debate by explaining the complexity of the human body and how no investigative tool can “fully replicate the intricacy of a living organism” (Pycroft). Marston returns fire by talking about why animals are not good models for human medicine. She makes the point that animals are “anatomically, genetically, and metabolically” different from humans (Pycroft). Pycroft continues to bring up different examples of how using animals for research has helped make medical advances for humans, while Marston seems to continue to revolve around the same idea of there being alternatives, but she does not really expand on any one topic, just that there are alternatives. Thomas Hartung talks about the alternatives to animal testing. One of the things Hartung mentions is an experiment done in 2006, “when the TeGenero anti-CD28 antibody, after testing safe at 500-times higher concentrations in monkeys, [it still] led to multiple organ failure within hours in six human volunteers” (Hartung). Thus, providing an argument against animal testing because sometimes, even when animal testing provides positive results, it does not mean that the same result will be present when human trials are done. Many people believe that animal testing is only about testing cosmetics or new drug therapies, however, there are many different uses for animal testing, and Timothy Musch et al discuss some of those uses. “Animal studies play a part in the initial development of candidate drugs, and the development and testing of medical devices and surgical procedures. Even more crucial, animal research informs clinical research by building the foundation of biological knowledge” (Musch et al). There are so many things that the testing of animals can help to improve. Some things, such as the development of insulin, antibiotics, vaccines, and drugs with high mortality rates, are all because of high contribution from animal testing (Murnaghan). On the flip side though, Alison Abbott points out, “Every time you reach for an eye drop or reapply a lip salve, you do so confident that the chemicals they contain are safe to use. But the toxicology test on which regulators rely to gather this information are...
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