Across the globe, new products ranging from drugs for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease to cosmetic products such as soaps, shampoos, etc., are tested on animals. There are many questions regarding the ethics of using animals for testing. Hence, several regulations have been put in place that evaluate and control animal testing in laboratories. It is believed that these regulations will ensure that research is carried out in a humane and ethical manner. However, these regulations are also under a lot of debate.
Pros of Animal Testing
A survey conducted in the American Medical Association, indicates that 99% of all active physicians in the United States, believe that animal research has given rise to medical advancements. In fact, about 97% of the physicians also supported the continuous use of animals for clinical and basic research. The main reason behind this is the fact that scientists have found that there is very little difference between animals and humans. A British organization by the name Research Defense Society (RDS) that was instituted to defend animal testing, indicates that most of the complaints made against animal testing are false and that animal testing generates invaluable information, about how new drugs would react inside a living body. The tests have to be continued in order to detect information on major health problems such as liver damage, elevated blood pressure, nerve damage, damage to the fetus, etc., that can be caused by the use of drugs.
When every member in our family is hale and hearty, it is very difficult to comprehend why innocent animals are used for testing purposes. Our heart goes out for these tiny creatures, who have no idea what's happening to them. They are being sacrificed for our sake! The hearts of animal lovers go out for these suffering animals.
However, the same person understands the significance of animal testing, when his or her loved one gets struck by a life-threatening disease. Then animal testing doesn't seem to be a large price to pay. All the person wants is for his or her loved one to live longer. This response or change of attitude is normal. Moreover, an animal lover who hasn't experienced the loss of a loved one due to a life-threatening disease is also not expected to comprehend the importance of animal testing.
Animal testing is an integral part of medical research, without which advancements and breakthroughs regarding treatment of critical diseases cannot be made. Moreover, testing on animals has helped develop vaccines for many serious diseases such as Herpes Simplex, Hepatitis B, Polio, rabies, malaria, mumps, virus-related conditions, and organ transplantation rejection.
In addition to this, animal testing has also helped in the refinement of procedures, related to measuring the blood pressure, pacemaker technology and the perfection of the heart and lung disease treatments. Even anesthesia, which is used to numb the body during surgery today, was successfully tested on animals first. It was essential to test it on animals, so as to find out the effects on the body. How else could researchers find out more about anesthesia?
If you think human beings are the only living creatures that have benefited from animal testing, then you are mistaken. Heartworm medicine was a product of animal testing and has proved to save the lives of millions of dogs across the globe. Animal research has also provided better understanding of cat nutrition and the reasons behind the long life of cats. Moreover, several other animal drugs available today are the products of animal testing itself.
According to an article published on December 15, 2011 in the New York Times, "The National Institutes of Health on Thursday suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and accepted the first uniform criteria for assessing the necessity of such research. Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health, and that there be no other way to accomplish it."
While the European Union banned research on chimpanzees a year ago, US is now mulling on the ban on chimpanzee research. Well, for decades now, animal testing has been commonly practiced to test household compounds, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. In fact, 20 million animals are believed to have been used for testing annually. Out of these, 15 million are tested for the field of medicine and 5 million are tested for other products. Reports also indicate that about 10% of these animals are not administered with adequate painkillers.
While animal testing for cosmetic reasons is not acceptable, it is inevitable for medical research. Today, one of the most important goals of the medical research industry is finding a cure for AIDS. For this animal testing is very crucial, because it helps in understanding this virus. The crux is that in order to make advances in the field of medicine, animal testing is inevitable. Restraining or putting a ban on animal testing, will prevent us from finding essential cures for deadly diseases.
Let us not forget that laws have been developed for the protection of animals, during the process of laboratory testing. However, some scientists break this law as well, just like any other law. Such cruelty has to be definitely punished and cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, it is also important for us to remember that there are several laboratories, in which animal testing is carried out in an ethical manner. Thus, animal testing is not something to be blacklisted completely. What one should be against is unethical animal testing.
It is up to us and all individuals belonging to animal organizations and medical research to work hand in hand, and prevent this injustice from happening. We should ensure that animal testing is carried out in a safe, ethical manner causing as little pain and discomfort to the animal as possible. If animal testing was to be outlawed, then there would be very little scope of obtaining vital information necessary to eliminate suffering and premature deaths in both humans and animals. So, keep your heart aside, think with your mind!