Specialisation: Pros And Cons

Pros and Cons of Animal Testing

Introduction

Proponents of animal testing point to the benefits it has brought to science and medicine, while critics point to ethical issues over treating test subjects’ animals. Recently, questions have arisen about whether the advantages of animal experimentation outweigh the moral issues it brings. This article looks at the many sides of animal experimentation, from the positives to the negatives, from the ethical to the scientific to the alternatives. Drugs, vaccinations, and product safety, proponents of animal testing say; opponents stress ethical problems of animal abuse and doubt the veracity of animal test findings in predicting human reactions. The complexity and ambiguities of this controversial subject will also be explored, along with the legal and regulatory frameworks controlling animal testing techniques. This essay aims to help readers make educated decisions on the pros and cons of animal testing by critically examining different views and issues.

Pros of Animal Testing

According to Masterton, Renberg, and Kälvemark Sporrong’s (2014) research, many participants in their survey of patients said they thought animal experimentation was acceptable if it helped treat their medical conditions. Patients in the focus groups acknowledged the need for animal testing, with one saying, “To conduct research on animals is, I suppose, a necessary evil” (Masterton et al., 24). Patients took a realistic view, noting the advantages of animal research but stressing the need to focus on illnesses and outcomes that have the potential to help human health. Patients may see animal testing as a complex problem fraught with ethical issues. However, it may be permissible under specific conditions when it serves the medical research needs supported by these findings.

Scientists in the study were found to have a more favorable view of animal testing. Many participants hold that utilizing animals in various research settings, including creating novel goods and equipment, is permissible. On the other hand, many patients believe that testing is only necessary for medical disorders and if there is a positive conclusion. One survey participant said that scientists often embrace animal testing: “A clear majority of researchers were positive towards animal testing” (Masterton et al., 24). This divide between scientists’ and patients’ perspectives emphasizes the need to continue discussing and thinking about the ethical consequences of animal experimentation in medical research.

Using animals in research has led to the development of several life-saving medical interventions, including vaccinations, drugs, and surgical techniques. The author’s experience with their cousin Paul, who died of cystic fibrosis, highlights the significance of animal testing in developing novel therapeutics, vaccines, drugs, and medical procedures. Researchers have learned more about cystic fibrosis and other life-saving therapies, including insulin, anti-coagulants, antibiotics, vaccinations, and chemotherapy, thanks to the use of animals, particularly mice. Despite difficulties and ethical concerns, the author stresses the importance of animal testing in advancing human health and vents annoyance at animal activists who need help understanding the nuanced nature of medical research. The author concludes with a Robert Burns remark emphasizing the disparity between mice and humans and the unpredictability of one’s existence (Staff).

Cons of Animal Testing

Several issues have been raised by those who oppose the use of animals in medical research. In their 2009 Nature article titled “Chemical regulators have overreached,” Hartung and Rovida raised the issue that “many animal tests have been ‘validated’ based on their ability to predict the human response, but such claims are rarely supported by evidence” (1080), which is a significant cause for concern. The ethical issues of exposing animals to potentially hazardous operations, the physiological and genetic differences between animals and humans, which may restrict the use of animal test findings, and the financial and time expenditures connected with animal testing are other causes for worry. Some argue that other techniques, such as in vitro testing, computer simulations, and research on humans, are more ethical and trustworthy. Researchers and regulatory bodies must seriously consider these issues and look into potential solutions to guarantee medical studies’ reliability, efficacy, and morality.

Additionally, an increase in chemical testing has led to more animals needing to be tested, with leads to millions of dollars, and REACH needs to meet demands. Animal testing’s ethical and economic consequences have been questioned in light of the rising need for chemical testing. For example, Hartung and Rovida point out in their Nature article “Chemical regulators have overreached” that “many chemical regulators rely heavily on animal tests despite growing evidence that such tests do not predict human toxicity reliably” (Hartung and Rovida 1080). Because of this dependency, more animals are being used for testing, and the associated expenditures have risen into the millions. The article also notes the potential need for assistance from regulatory organizations like REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) to fulfill the rising need for animal testing. These issues highlight the necessity to investigate potential replacements for animal testing in chemical safety and efficacy research.

In addition, there is absolutely no basis for effective therapy between humans and animals, notably dogs. According to the article by HeraldScotland (Staff), “animal testing is necessary to save precious human lives.” Animal testing is essential for determining the safety and effectiveness of medical therapies despite the apparent differences between humans and other animals, including dogs. When information on human biology is scarce, as it often is, the essay highlights the crucial insights garnered through animal research. Because of this, it is clear that animal experimentation is crucial to improving medical science and, eventually, saving human lives.

Other Factors to be Considered

Patients’ opinions on using animals in medical research vary widely. Animal testing is controversial, yet some patients may see it as necessary for advancing medical research and developing novel remedies for human disorders (Masterton et al., 25). They can consider it an essential measure for guaranteeing the success of medical procedures. Some people may believe that using animals in research is unethical and that other techniques should be investigated instead (Masterton et al., 26). Patients with little concern about or knowledge of the ethical consequences of animal research exist. Patients’ opinions towards the use of animals in medical research are nuanced and based on several factors (Masterton et al., 26).

According to Meigs et al., animal welfare has always been at the forefront of the argument around animal experimentation versus its alternatives, but recent technological developments have altered the focus. Efforts to replace animal testing with in vitro and silico techniques are gaining traction. Many animal experiments are costly, time-consuming, and provide inaccurate findings; consequently, economic factors are increasingly being considered. Globally regulated businesses encounter considerable regional and sectorial disparities in regulation, which influence their animal usage, as shown in this updated study of the economic landscape of regulatory animal testing and alternative tests. Biotech, IT, and contract research companies may now find profitable work in the expanded markets for alternatives to animal testing. Thus, concerns over reproducibility and relevance lead to a discussion of the consequences of inaccurate findings and the preservation of antiquated animal test methods (Meigs et al., 275).

Hartung and Rovida’s (2009) article “Chemical regulators have overreached” highlights how the rising expense and complexity of chemical testing have given rise to worries about overreach on the part of chemical regulators. According to the authors, the rising price of chemical testing may be attributed to “increasing costs, longer timelines, and ever more demanding regulatory requirements” (Hartung and Rovida 1080). This demonstrates how the increasing price of conducting tests on chemicals has become a significant obstacle to the regulatory system. The authors argue for overreach by lawmakers, with excessive demands on data that may not necessarily help decision-making, who point to “the ever-increasing complexity of chemical testing” (Hartung and Rovida 1080). Concerns concerning the regulatory burden and its effect on decision-making in chemical regulation are highlighted in this article due to the rising prices and complexity of chemical testing.

Conclusion

Animal testing is still a contentious issue in the field of medicine. Despite its beneficial effects on developing new therapies, vaccines, drugs, and medical procedures, the use of animals in research raises legitimate issues and ethical considerations. Several publications and research have discussed the positive effects of animal testing on human health and safety. However, thinking about potential ethical constraints and solutions is equally important. More study, discussion, and moral reflection are required to strike a fair balance between advancing science and protecting animals and ensuring that the pursuit of medical innovation is consistent with ethical standards and the well-being of patients.

Works Cited

Akhtar, Aysha. “The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24.4 (2015): 407–419.

Hartung, T., & Rovida, C. (2009). Chemical regulators have overreached. Nature460(7259), 1080-1081.

Hartung, Thomas, and Costanza Rovida. “Chemical regulators have overreached.” Nature 460.7259 (2009): 1080-1081.

Masterton, M., Renberg, T., & Kälvemark Sporrong, S. (2014). Patients’ attitudes towards animal testing: “To conduct research on animals is, I suppose, a necessary evil.” BioSocieties9, 24-41.

Masterton, Malin, Tobias Renberg, and Sofia Kälvemark Sporrong. “Patients’ attitudes towards animal testing: “To conduct research on animals is, I suppose, a necessary evil.” BioSocieties 9 (2014): 24-41.

Meigs, Lucy, et al. “Animal testing and its alternatives–The most important omics is economics.” ALTEX-Alternatives to animal experimentation 35.3 (2018): 275–305.

Staff, HeraldScotland. “Animal Testing Is Necessary to Save Precious Human Lives.” HeraldScotland, HeraldScotland, 25 Aug. 2005, www.heraldscotland.com/news/12481052.animal-testing-is-necessary-to-save-precious-human-lives/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2023.