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Should Animals be Used for Research?

Should Animals be Used for Research? Let's End the Debate

The debate on whether animals should be used for scientific research seems to have become all the more intense with the pros and cons of this practice dividing the world into two groups. In our quest to find the answer to this question, we decided to evaluate these pros and cons.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
100 million is the estimated number of animals that are killed or harmed every year by humans in the name of research. Around 95 percent of these are species like guinea pigs, mice, rats, birds, and other coldblooded creatures. Even more grievous is the fact that these animals are bred specifically for the purpose of testing. While animal rights activists condemn such practices, those involved in it directly are of the opinion that testing on animals is anytime better than causing harm to humans.

Animal Testing Statistics

The figure '100 million' mentioned above is just an estimate; the actual number of animals who have to bear the brunt of this practice is expected to be a lot higher. Adding to their woes is the fact that no organization keeps a track of these animals. Similarly, most of these animals are bred specifically for this practice. It is very difficult to compile accurate data and thus, one has no option but to depend on estimates when doing a study on this topic.

What's even worse is the fact that the U.S. Animal Welfare Act falls short of measures to curb this inhumane practice. If only one sample is taken into consideration, it amounts to a case study and not a research, so a significant number of samples are required for animal research. The end result: more than a hundred million animals are killed every year.

Should Animals be Used for Research?

As far as an answer to this intricate question is concerned, the inhumane treatment of animals in this practice is one of the most prominent reasons for which the activists want it to be outlawed. It is evident that living beings, including animals, are vulnerable to pain, and by using them in product testing we are inflicting the same upon them. These people also argue that the practice is unnecessary, now that several alternatives to it are readily available. There is no doubt about the fact that animal testing has helped the medical world, but those were the times when these alternatives were not there. Today, when there is no dearth of alternatives to animal testing, we can go ahead and start phasing out this cruel practice.

On moral grounds, it is not at all right to mistreat animals for our selfish gains. While such arguments, put forth by animal rights activists, call for a ban on this practice, there also exist arguments in favor of this practice which are put forth by those who support it. Those in its favor cite that it is important for humans, especially when it comes to the field of medicine, and thus, we can't afford to ban it. If the practice is discontinued, the medicines, which are tested on these animals at present, will have to be tested on humans and that can have grave repercussions.

That the medical research starts from cells before moving on to animals, is yet another argument that you often hear when it comes to this issue. If the product is found to be harmful at any stage of testing, its use is stopped at that very stage. The animals used for testing are excellent tools of studying human ailments. The cardiovascular system of dogs, for instance, resembles that of a man to a certain extent, and therefore, we can test medicines meant for cardiovascular problems on dogs before putting it for application in humans.

While a sane person will always speak against such animal cruelty, those who have commercial interests in the same find it easier to turn a blind eye towards it. If fact, they also come up with illogical counter-arguments to debunk the arguments against this practice. In the end, it entirely depends on you whether you are a sane, responsible human being, or an individual with a blindfold of vested commercial interests.