Is it ethical to test on animals, even if the testing helps save human lives?
Animal testing is a contentious issue that inspires debate between scientists, government representatives and citizens. Scientists carry out research on animal subjects to build up medical treatments, ensure drug safety and test the quality of drugs. They use animals in their research because they are comparable to humans and they assist in predicting how humans will respond to a substance. To understand the ethical and moral issues associated with animal testing, we need to examine its effects on the humanity as a whole.
The greatest benefit of animal testing for the humanity is development of better technology to advance the condition of the people. This technology can be advanced through carrying out animal experiments because no human being can appreciate to be tested on medical research. Researchers argue that animal testing is accurate if done humanely. They suggest that animal testing is an invaluable tool for research and the numberless lifesaving medical breakthroughs are through the results of animal testing. Animal testing is considered as the most accurate way of learning the effects of substances in a living body. Animals may not have the same philosophy as humans but testing animals is accurately enough to check whether they are safe for human trials.
However, there are many costs to humanity associated with the testing of animals thus seen unethical. The greatest negative impact of testing animals is that it tends to instill unkindness in human beings. In general, individuals do not value the lives of animals so much. As a mater of fact, people frequently kill animals for food. Nevertheless, this ignorance for animal life can change very easily into ignorance for human life (Birke 689).
Animal testing causes pain and suffering to animals thus many people argue that killing and causing harm to animals is morally wrong. They suggest that even those animals that are not killed through research must live in confinement and are often upset or else experiencing pain and agony. In addition, animals cannot sanction to testing as informed human subjects can consent (Hayhurst 34). Those against animal testing claim that animal testing is inhuman. They argue that animals have similar rights just like human beings and it is not commendable euthanizing animals for the benefits of human beings.
Opponents suggest that animal testing is not always effective because the benefits of human beings are not verified. Although some animals are related to humans, significant variations exist limiting the value of testing animals. In addition, biological processes of the animals are affected through the constant worry that captive animals undergo. That is why in most cases, drugs tested on animals usually react differently when a body is under stress (Grayson 54).
Animal testing is also a crime against humans. Many products such as arsenic, benzene, HIV infected blood and cigarettes all pass through animal tests. Animal testing causes the illness in human beings in two main ways. First, everything passes through the animal experimentation irrespective of what damage it causes to human beings and the environment. This does not provide physical protection to consumers but only to manufacturers or polluters. Because of this animal testing, humans now get many different diseases. Secondly, once this new and old diseases increase, the research of animal testing therefore looses the meaning and rather increases the deaths of people thus unethical (Pojman 28).
Animal suffering by testing various products is just a link in the chain of pain. Protecting animals, clean air, water and food means caring for all living things. Humanity is not different from other living things thus human disconnection from other life hurts the mental, emotional, physical and global earth. Humans should care about their fellow humans and respect their reactions. Humans should not focus on themselves as being superior to other life forms created by God thus should consider animal pain and suffering (Grayson 47).
There are various animal testing justifications. This is because there are clear cases for restricting it only for the purposes that are crucial and cannot be served in any other way. In addition, there is need to carry out such test in ways that reduce the pain and suffering to the animals. According to Singer, there is no reason not to apply utilitarian ideas to other animals. Singer refused on the use of the theoretical framework of rights when it comes to humans and non-humans. He concludes that the interest of animals should be taken seriously because of their ability to feel pain (Singer 74).
In addition to the above, Singer rejects rights as a moral idea based on his utilitarianism interests that animal rights are not the same as human rights. There are essential differences between human beings and animals and these differences give rise to certain differences in the rights of each other. He argues that animals should have rights based on their ability to feel pain more than their superiors do. In particular, he argues that while animals indicate lower intelligence than human beings do, it then does not mean that they should not be given their rights (Singer 125).
In conclusion, the questions raised against animal testing to save human lives are many. Therefore, it is unethical to use animals to test for drugs because they have rights and experience pain just like any other human beings. Individuals should weigh the potential benefits of knowledge produced by the research of animals against the cost of subjecting animals to pain and suffering. Some individuals propose animal testing for medical reasons but find cosmetic testing unethical issue. The debate over animal research will continue until scientists find better alternatives to animal testing.
Birke, Lynda. “Supporting the Underdog: Feminism, Animal Rights and Citizenship in the Work
of Alice Morgan Wright and Edith Goode.” Women’s History Review. 9.4 (2000): 693-719. Print.
Grayson, Lesley. Animals in Research: For and against. London, UK: British Library, 2000. Print.
Hayhurst, Chris. Animal Testing: The Animal Rights Debate. New York, NY: Rosen Pub. Group,
Pojman, Louis. Environmental Ethics: Readings in Theory and Application. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth, 2001. Print.
Singer, Peter. In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2006.