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Pros and Cons of Animal Testing

Published by Nanni on Sunday, July 01, 2012

Photo credit by Novartis AG

Animal testing is the use of animals in scientific experiments. Animal testing is typically done by universities, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital medical centers. Most animals used for research are breed for the specific purpose of testing, and few animals used for testing are captured from the wild. Some animal testing is done for basic research such as behavioural studies and genetics while other animal testing is done for the benefit of humans. This research includes drug testing, surgical procedures, medical equipment, and somewhat inconsequential applications like; cosmetics, and other household products. Most animals that are used for research are euthanized once the experiment is finished.

Opinions about the ethics of animal testing have shifted greatly through the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century. Some people question the accuracy of animal testing, and doubt that animal testing can be done humanely. Others argue that animal testing is an invaluable tool for research and that countless lifesaving medical breakthroughs are the result of animal testing.

Many who are against animal testing claim that the treatment of the animals is inhumane. Many groups argue that animals have the same right to life as human beings, and that it is not worth euthanizing animals for the benefit of mankind. Many also argue that using animals to test the effects of cosmetics and household products is not an important enough reason to sacrifice an animal.

Animal testing is also incredibly expensive. The cost of housing, storing, and caring for animals is very high. Animals used for testing are usually obtained from specific breeding facilities, and come with a hefty price tag.

Because animals used for testing and research are in a lab and not their natural habitat, they are under a great deal of stress which can thus affect the accuracy of tests. Many drugs being tested on animals react differently when a body is under stress.

Those who argue for animal testing point out all the amazing breakthroughs that have already come from animal testing research such as organ transplant and open-heart surgery techniques; life saving drugs; effective insulin and cancer treatments; and vaccines for deadly diseases like polio, rabies, rubella, and tuberculosis. Animal testing also benefits the lives of animals such as the heartworm medicine that has saved lives of many dogs.

Many regulations and laws are put into place to ensure that animals are treated as humanly as possible. Animal abuse is rare in animal testing facilities. Researchers are looking for the best possible solutions to medical problems.

Animal testing is the most accurate way to learn the effects of substances in a living body. Using cell cultures can only reveal side effects on a molecular level and cannot unfortunately, reveal side effects like organ failure, rashes, tumors, or cardiac arrest like animal testing can. Using computer models cannot always predict unknown variables that can be discovered with animal testing. Animals may not have the exact same philology as humans but animal testing is accurate enough to test whether a substance is even safe enough for human trials.

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