Animal Testing

For and Against

By Valerie Molino (Contributor)


Cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, and mice, these are animals that most of us own as pets in our homes, yet these same animals and many others can sometimes also call a lab their home. According to PETA.org (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) there are more than 100 million animals that are imprisoned for medical purposes, suffering large amounts of excruciating pain only to die soon after, each year. “Debates on the ethics of animal testing have raged since the seventeenth century” explains the U.S National Library of Medicine.
People who are for animal testing, such as some scientists and researchers, argue that it is required to use animals if we want to enrich our understanding of medicine and biology. Without this, it would be impossible to develop medical science. According to Pro-Test.org, an organization for animal testing, “Animal research has enabled us to find treatments for cancer, antibiotics for infections, vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly and debilitating viruses and surgery for injuries, illnesses and deformities”.

As for drug testing, in the 1900s, the use of animals to test pharmaceutical companies’ drugs became a necessity when a sleeping pill called Thalidomide was put on the market. This medicine was found not only to help you sleep but also stop the morning sickness of pregnant women. What people were unaware of at the time was that it had not been tested on pregnant animals; if it had, it could have prevented many cases in which children were born with serious birth defects. Laws were then put into place, that reinforced the testing of drugs on animals.

Source: Natacha Pisarenko/AP, the Guardian
Source: Natacha Pisarenko/AP, the Guardian

Animal rights groups, such as PETA, believe that what can help humans should not harm animals as a consequence. They also deem that the life of one human is not more important than the life of animals. We would not imprison our own self for medical purposes. So why should we imprison animals for these same reasons? PETA also argues that the use of animals as smaller versions of humans is absolutely useless since they are not perfect representations of the human body. In the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, they make it clear that using animals does not serve to confirm evidence. For example, using animals to verify that certain drugs work is not true evidence and requires further in depth research anyway.

Thankfully today, this practice has become much more civilized. However, some animal rights organizations would argue that this is not enough and that this practice should be completely prohibited. Another way for testing would be on computational models, which means that you stimulate a reaction by a computer. This alternative testing practice is a lot more reliable than animal testing, according to PETA.org.

After all, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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