Testing methods on animals is a terrible practice, causing incredible suffering to animals. Thus, it should be applied only in unique single cases that can treat serious diseases though can’t be tested in any alternative way.
Nowadays it is extremely difficult to imagine a modern person who does not use cosmetic and household detergents, either never takes medication. These are the products of scientific progress that have long become an integral part of civilized life. Every day we use cosmetics, look for natural ingredients in it, and try to abandon parabens and harmful silicones. However have at least anyone ever thought about the way those products have been tested and how many animals were injured, so that the laboratory noted that some balm, cream or dishwashing detergent is safe for human use? And can the methods by which such a product appears on shelves in stores be called civilized?
Each year, more than 100 million animals are killed in U.S. laboratories for medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. Before their deaths, some are forced to inhale toxic fumes, others are immobilized in restraint devices for hours, some have holes drilled into their skulls, and others have their skin burned off or their spinal cords crushed. In addition to the torment of the actual experiments, animals in laboratories are deprived of everything natural and important to them—they are confined to barren cages, socially isolated, and psychologically traumatized. The thinking, feeling animals who are used in experiments are treated like nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment. (PETA, sd) The immediate questions which come to mind are whether all of these legitimate sacrifices are really justified and is this cruelty indeed so necessary?
Proponents of animal testing claim that the tremendous progress in medicine has been made possible thanks to experiments on animals. Furthermore, animals are very similar to human beings on a chemical level as well as in terms of susceptibility to many of the same health problems. Thus, animals are appropriate subjects for the research. For example, chimpanzees share 99% of their DNA with humans, while mice are about 98% similar to humans. In addition, animals have a shorter life cycle than humans, which allows studying their whole life span. (California Biomedical Research Association) Anyways, even if the animal test has provided a positive result, there always can be a risk to a human when testing new products. Nevertheless, the risk without a preliminary test on animals is incredibly higher and the legal responsibility of accidentally causing the death of an animal is very different than what would occur with human’s being accidental death. (connectusfund.org, 2018)
However, evidence shows the opposite is true. No matter how many tests on animals are undertaken, someone will always be the first human to be tested on.The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that 95 percent of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal testing fail in human trials because they cause significant side effects, harm or even death. And of the small percentage of human-approved drugs, half end up being removed or relabeled due to serious or lethal adverse effects that were not detected in tests on animals. (PETA, sd)A lot of scientists contend that animals are far not a perfect stand-in for humans.It has been argued that no matter how similar they may act in some respects, the conditions of a human body simply can not be reproduced accurately in another organism. As Thomas Hartung, a toxicology professor at Johns Hopkins University, once said, “We are not 70 kg rats.” (livescience.com, sd)
One of the most famous examples is the tragedy of Thalidomide in the late 1950s and ‘60s. Extensive animal testing had failed to predict any thalidomide hazards and the drug was made available to clinicians largely on the basis of existing animal results. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women to help alleviate morning sickness, sadly, it turned out to be toxic to developing fetuses. An estimated 10,000 birth defects and thousands of infant deaths worldwide were caused by the drug thalidomide. Usually, the affected babies suffered from phocomelia, a developmental deficiency of the limbs. Such unfortunate children were cruelly referred to as “flipper infants.” (prijatelji-zivotinja, sd) Likewise, between 1999 and 2004 after being tested safe in at least eight studies in African green monkeys and five other animal species ‘arthritis drug Vioxx was declared to be harmless and even helpful to the animals’ health, which triggered as many as 140,000 heart attacks and strokes in the United States alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s associate safety chief characterized it as the’ single greatest drug-safety tragedy in the world’s history.’ (Archibald, 2009)
In order to address the argument about tremendous progress in medicine there are even more examples from the history of how misleading animal testing might be. The world’s first antibiotic, Penicillin, was postponed for more than 10 years because of the deceptive results from tests on rabbits and would have been deferred indefinitely if it had been tested on guinea pigs, which it kills. Sir Alexander Fleming himself said:’ How lucky we did not have these animal tests in the 1940s, because penicillin would likely never have been approved, and perhaps the entire field of antibiotics could never have been discovered.’ (Archibald, 2009)
On the other hand supporters of animal testing point to the fact that there is no adequate substitutes to test on a living, whole-body system. It is explained by extremely complex living system; the nervous system, blood and brain chemistry, gland and organ secretions, and immunological responses are all interrelated, making it impossible to investigate, describe, or predict disease course or potential treatment effects without studying and evaluating an animal’s entire living system. (California Biomedical Research Association)
These studies rely on a process in circulation. In other words, when a drug enters the bloodstream, it is transported to particular organs where it undergoes chemical transformations that determines its effects. Such types of studies are particularly difficult to perform outside of animal bodies, as in vitro tests are often unable to form a complete image of the action of a drug. (Rogers, 2010) Consequently, animal testing seems to remain a neccesity because, for example, blindness cannot be studied in bacteria and it is not possible to study the affects of high blood pressure in tissue cultures. (California Biomedical Research Association)