A highly debated argument in today’s society is animal research and testing. There is much controversy surrounding the issue not only within biology, but general ethics as well. Some people feel that animal research is ethical because it furthers human well-being, as well as provides mechanisms to cure disease. Other people, however, believe animal research is not ethical because the treatment of the animal is inhumane, unnecessary, and non consensual. I personally feel that animal testing is very important in the world of medical research and should continue.
Many scientists and researchers are for animal testing. People throughout the world are living better lives because of the advancements made possible from the results of animal research. Researchers within many different medical and scientific organizations agree that animal testing is absolutely essential for progress. For example, over 70 percent of the Nobel Prize winners in medicine have used animals in their research. Advancements in science through animal research have brought us closer to finding cures for diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Nearly all of the scientists who do research on animals do it because they hope that, while it causes a few to experience pain now, it will help prevent many from feeling pain later.
The vast majority of researchers take much responsibility caring for the animals they use and conduct their experiments humanely and with great sensitivity. They insure that animals don't suffer needlessly and take good care of them. For example, in many research facilities, most animals that undergo surgery are given anesthesia first so they will be "asleep" during the surgery. The researchers are governed by more strict rules and regulations than any other profession that uses animals. Their practices are continually reviewed by local, state, and federal agencies. The approval process for animal experimentation is very thorough and is designed to insure the use of the fewest animals possible and that animals are only used because there is no other choice.
Yet a lot of people and groups (such as PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), are against animal research because they feel it is highly unethical. They feel that not only are the animals tortured, but that the tests they are subjected to are more about profits than results, and that the animals are being mistreated even when test are not being performed. They also claim that the same kind of research and advancements can be made with computers. This way no animals are hurt and answers can still be found. This would be good, but unfortunately, there are still many experiments that cannot be done on animal substitutes like tissue cultures or on computers. These experiments can only be done on either animals or people.
Another argument brought up by animal rights groups is where the animals for the experiments come from. Animals used in experimentation are supplied to laboratories by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed Class A and/or Class B dealers. Class A dealers sell "purpose-bred" animals. In other words, the animal was born into this world solely for experimentation. While this does sound cruel, it is much better then Class B animals. Class B dealers supply random source animals purchased at auctions, or are "adopted" from unsuspecting individuals who placed free “to a good home” ads in their local papers, or even animal shelters. However, many labs will only accept animals from the Class A category (and that’s only if they have the correct paperwork that is used to classify them). Currently, 14 states have passed laws making it illegal for animals in shelters to be sold for research, and it is illegal in all 50 states for stolen animals to be sold or used in research.
In my opinion, while I do think animal research is somewhat unethical, I do feel it is necessary. I whole-heartedly disagree with animal testing for things like cosmetics, but medical...
Citations: "Animal Research Industry." StopAnimalTests.com. February 2004. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 15 November 2006. .
"Animal Testing." Real Issues: Animal Testing. 2005. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 15 November 2006. .
Festing, Simon. “The Animal Research Debate” The Political Quarterly, October 2005, Vol. 76, Issue 4. p 568-572.
Rollin, Bernard E. “The Regulation of Animal Research and the Emergence of Animal Ethics: A Conceptual History” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, October 2006, Vol. 27, Issue 4, p 285 – 304.
Saucier, Donald A. “The Foundations of Attitudes About Animal Research” Ethics & Behavior, April 2006, Vol. 16, Issue 2, p 117-133
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