TheUse of Animals in Research: An Argumentative Essay
Annually,more than 115 million animals are used worldwide in scientific andmedical research (Yeatesand Reed, 504). The major purpose of using animals in research is tooffer more information that would help in the creation of new drugsand surgical procedures to promote human health. Various studies thathave been carried out in this field support the argument that animaluse in research has dramatically improved the health of the humanrace. Despite the various benefits, the use of animals in researchhas since beginning, faced serious criticism. There are few ethicalissues surrounding animal testing, which have fueled hot debatesamong animal rights activists and scientists. This essay will presentthe various arguments for and against animal testing and make aconclusion as to why the practice is justified.
Thesisstatement: Thebenefits resulting from animal use in research far outweigh thenegative impacts and hence the practice should be continued toenhance and promote human health.
Historically,animals have been used in research to offer more information on newdrugs and their efficiency in treating human diseases and condition.Theuse of animals in research was introduced by early physicians, suchas, Aristotle and Erasistratus (Damron 5). The practice continued togain support and in the 12thcentury, an Arabian physician by the name Moorish Spain initiated theuse of animals in investigating surgical procedures to assess theirefficiency on humans (Damron 12). Through history, the use of animalsin research has proved to be highly beneficial and has enabled thediscovery of many drugs and treatment for various human diseases.However, in recent years, the practice has faced severe criticism,especially from animal protection and animal rights groups. Since the17thcentury, debates on ethics have raged with some people supporting thepractice and others strongly opposing it.
Itremains irrefutable that the use of animals in research hassignificantly impacted human health. Godleepoints out through animal research, scientists have been able to testand create new drugs (3). According to a research conducted byPippin, animals such as monkeys or rabbits are similar to humans inregards to physical processes (469). Therefore, the similarity allowsscientists to use animals in testing the efficacy and side effects ofcertain drugs before using them on human patients. If a drug is foundto have adverse effects on animals, it is then deemed unfit for humanuse. To support this argument, DeGrazia and Jeff explain that, thefact that animal testing has enabled the discovery of new drugs thathave saved millions of human lives makes it morally acceptable toembrace the practice (422). Currently, many medical treatments havebeen made possible because animals have been used to test surgicalprocedures, vaccines, and drugs for major diseases such as cancer,diabetes, polio, HIV drugs, to name but a few.
Theuse of animals, particularly in health research, saves human life.Without the use of animals, it means humans have to be subjected toall the mistakes and harms that are inevitable when testing drugs andmedical procedures (Akhtar 407). It would not only be unethical butalso suicidal to test new drugs and procedures on humans. The mainpurpose for scientists coming up with a new drug or surgicalprocedure is to save human life. Therefore, the use of animals inensuring the new drugs or procedures are safe for medical treatmentsis necessary to avoid causing more harm or even death to people.Levin and William argue that animal testing has not only improvedhuman health but has saved millions of lives which call for thereformation of politics surrounding the practice (16). In herresearch, Godlee argues that many people would die if physiciansadministered new drugs and procedures without first testing andcompiling the necessary information using animals (13).
Animalresearch does not only improve the health of human race but alsoallows money and resources to be used in improving other aspects ofhuman life. Compared to all other alternatives, the use of animals inresearch is the most affordable and convenient. According to Damron,since the development of animal testing, many individuals andcompanies have taken up the commercial breeding of animals especiallyrabbits for laboratory use (17). As a result, the laboratory animalsfor this practice are plenty meaning that they are not only cheap butalso easily available allowing thorough investigations to ascertainthe effectiveness of drugs and surgical procedures.
Itis also important to point out that as the world develops, the humanrace is exposed to more risks of deadly infections. Issues such asclimate change, global warming, water and air pollution will lead tothe development of new and complex human conditions. Consequently, itmeans that each and every year, new treatments and drugs will beneeded to combat such deadly diseases. Pippin points out that, thereis the need for seeking a convergence between science, medicine, andanimal law, to ensure that the practice is not only continuous butmost importantly enhanced to handle more complicated diseases andconditions that will emerge in the future (469). Moreover, animaltesting as a medical practice is so predictive and hence not onlybeneficial to the current human generation but also a necessity forthe future generations.
Despiteits several benefits, the practice of animals testing has for yearsbeen subjected to serious criticism especially by the animal rightsactivists. The opponents argue that the use of animals is not onlycruel but also violates an animal’s right to life. Akhtar explainsthat in animal experimentation, scientists are forced to inflict painand harm on animals, which are either killed after the use or kept incaptivity for the rest of their lives (408). Many animal rightsactivists argue that the benefits that the practice provides tohumans do not validate the injury and cruelty to animals.Additionally, the opponents of this practice argue that some animalsare subjected to pain, suffering and even death while undergoingtests that will never actually receive approval for human use.Despite the fact that this is true in some cases, the fact remainsthat it would be insane and inhuman to try out new drugs and surgicalprocedures on persons. Additionally, it is wrong to let people diebecause of lack of proper and up-to-date information about a drug orsurgical procedure. Moreover, many countries have implementedlegislations that have set standards for animal treatment andlaboratories are compelled to follow such guidelines.
Opponentsof animal use in research also argue that animals and humans havesignificant differences hence the practice is irrelevant andimpractical. According to Damron, when animal use in medical researchstarted, many people believed that it was unreliable (5). Back thoseyears, some people argued that drugs react differently in animals andhumans. Later on, the opponents argued that animals in a laboratoryare under stress and hence cannot react to drugs in the same way theywould respond in their natural ecosystems. They support theirarguments by pointing out to some certain commercial drugs, whichhave been withdrawn because of their adverse effects on humansdespite having been tested on animals.
Whilethere is some dissimilarity between animal and human systems, thesimilarities are enough to allow the application of information fromanimals to humans (Yeates and Reed 504). Researchers do acknowledgethe fact that there are some differences and limitations surroundingthe practice but point out that animals remain the closest match tohumans hence appropriate for medical research. Godlee refutes thisclaim by pointing out that the similarities between animals andhumans have enabled the creation and testing of new drugs andsurgical procedures that have tremendously improved human health(11). Animal rights campaigners also argue that we do not need newtests on animals because there is more than enough information onhuman health and treatment options. However, as explained earlier, asthe world develops, new deadly infections will emerge making itnecessary to create and test new drugs and treatments.
Fromthe essay, it is clear that the use of animals in research is acontentious issue, which has historically raised contrastingarguments. Apart from the few ethical issues raised in the essay,some of which lack evidence, animal testing is not only beneficial tohumans but also a necessity for the current and the futuregenerations. Animal testing should be continued for medical researchbecause of various reasons such as it provides a safe method fortesting new drugs and procedures, allows the creation of new drugs,it is cheap and saves human lives. However, we have a responsibilityto properly take care of animals following the set standards so as tobalance between their rights and the benefits that they provide tous.
Akhtar,Aysha. "The flaws and human harms of animalexperimentation." Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics 24.04(2015): 407-419.
Damron,W. Stephen. Introductionto animal science: global, biological, social, and industry perspectives.No. SF61. D36 2013. 2013.
DeGrazia,David, and Jeff Sebo. "Necessary Conditions for MorallyResponsible Animal Research." CambridgeQuarterly of Healthcare Ethics24.04(2015): 420-430.
Levin,Lisa Hara, and William A. Reppy. "Reforming the politics ofanimal research." Journalof medical ethics (2015):medethics-2012.
Godlee,Fiona. "How predictive and productive is animal research?"(2014): g3719.
Pippin,John J. "Animal research in medical sciences: seeking aconvergence of science, medicine, and animal law." S.Tex. L. Rev. 54(2012): 469.
Yeates,J. W., and B. Reed. "Animal research through a lens:transparency on animal research." Journalof medical ethics 41.7(2015): 504-505.