Medical Testing on Animals: Used to Develop New Medicines

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Medical Testing on Animals
Animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Many of these experiments cause pain to the animals involved or reduce their quality of life in other ways. If it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer, then experimenting on animals produces serious moral problems. Animal experimenters are very aware of this ethical problem and acknowledge that experiments should be made as humane as possible. It is also known that it is wrong to use animals if alternative testing methods would produce equally valid results. Experimenting on animals is always unacceptable because it causes suffering to animals, and the benefits to human beings are not proven. The case against animal testing is that the level of suffering and the number of animals involved are both so high that the benefits to humanity do not provide moral justification. The equivalent case for animal experiments is that they will produce such great benefits for humanity that it is morally acceptable to harm a few animals. Animal experiments are not used to show that drugs are safe and effective in human beings, as they cannot do that. Instead, they are used to help decide whether a particular drug should be tested on people. Animal experiments eliminate some potential drugs as either ineffective or too dangerous to use on human beings. If a drug passes the animal test it is then tested on a small group of humans before larger trials are done. Animal experiments only benefit human beings if their results are valid and can be applied to human beings. Another problem with animal testing is that results can be misleading. Drugs that have negative effects on animals could potentially be highly beneficial to humans and vice versa. Those in favor of animal experiments say that the benefits to human beings outweigh the harm done to the animals being tested. This is a consequentialist argument, because it looks at the consequences of...
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