Animal testing, a necessary measure or a terrible iniquity? Analysing the controversial animal testing and experimentation debate.
Science has brought us a long way from the stone age to the fast-paced technologically advanced world that we live in today.
Through science, we have achieved many feats that in the past, would be considered impossible. And we still have new and improved technologies emerging with time.
But amidst all the scientific advancements, what goes on behind the curtains to achieve such progress is not always a pleasant scenario.
There are laws and committees that regulate such cases when they happen, take for example the ban on human cloning and strict guidelines on gene modifications.
But there is one issue that has created much controversy and dispute – Animal testing. So, let us take a look at the details behind this topic and understand the reason behind the debate by exploring both ends of the spectrum.
A brief description of animal testing and how it is used in the field of science and research.
(Before we proceed further, the readers should keep in mind that all the points presented here onwards are from a neutral standpoint. This article aims to give an unbiased view and put forth arguments made by members from both sides of the debate.)
The term ‘Animal testing’ is self-explanatory; it’s the use of animals for research and experiments. As for its history, it might actually surprise you to know how old this practice is.
It’s not something that started a few hundred years ago, but actually started in the BC calendar era, with Greek scientists like Aristotle and Erasistratus being some of the first people to initiate the practice.
If I had to specifically list all the cases where animals are used for research purposes, the list would be very long.
There are a lot of industries, universities and organisations that experiment on non-human species.
But in general, the purpose and use of animal testing can be divided into two categories, Product testing and Biological/medical purposes.
This category includes all such cases where animals are used to test a product.
In most cases, the tests are used to analyse either the efficiency or the side-effects of using a product, such as cosmetics, household goods, eatables, etc
Biological and medical purposes:
The drugs and chemicals used in the field of medicine are tested on animals before being made available to the general public.
Many surgical procedures are carried out on animals to determine how useful it can be on humans.
There are a lot of animals that share common physiological and genetic traits with humans making them ideal test subjects
Laws on protection of animals and regulations on animal testing have been put into place since the 1800s, but the ethical debate had begun even before that.
There were those who thought of the use of animals in research as a requisite for scientific advancements, while those against it mostly saw it as unethical and cruel. And neither of them are entirely wrong.
Yes, animal testing has led to a lot of scientific progress and yes, it does include animals going through pain and discomfort, making it a cruel process.
This is also the reason why the debate is still ongoing without a fixed conclusion
For the motion: Animal testing is necessary
Let’s take a look at the reasons why it is important to carry out tests on animals. The first reason is the similarity that animals share with humans, as we have already mentioned before.
Hence, animal research aids us in understanding more about our own physiology. It also helps us to study different diseases and formulate a cure for them
So for the safety of our own species, we’ve had to compromise with the well-being of the members of other species.
So unless we have alternate procedures that give us the same results, we are quite dependent on animal experimentation for our own benefit. Whether we like it or not, animal testing is a necessary evil in the current scenario.
There are other smaller factors that emphasise the importance of carrying out tests on animals, but the main reason for such factors is that it essentially benefits the human species in one way or another.
Against the motion: It is cruel, unethical and should be avoided.
Cruelty is an important point to consider, as many tests require infliction of pain and discomfort on animals.
Even with the use of anaesthetics and proper technology, there are a lot of experiments where animals go through significant pain.
Ethics also plays an important role in our approach toward this issue. Since animals are not capable of arguing or communicating with us in our language, many consider it unethical for humans to enforce discomfort and suffering upon animals against their will.
When cruelty and ethics are both considered together, it puts even more emphasis on the statement that animal testing is morally wrong.
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People have also presented arguments based on science in this matter. Even back in 1655, an Irish physiologist named Edmund O’Meara stated that “the miserable torture of vivisection places the body in an unnatural state”.
This basically means that when pain is inflicted on animals, it affects their physiology in a way that could interfere with the expected outcome of the experiment.
To add weight to this matter, there are cases where tests conducted on animals showcased an entirely different result on humans thus making the idea of animal testing not only unethical but also scientifically inaccurate and flawed.
An Unarguable Conclusion.
So after understanding the arguments from both sides, we can safely say that in the present context, the concept of animal testing is just as much right as it is wrong.
But amidst all the debate, there is one thing that most people would agree on. A great deal of effort must be put into developing alternate procedures that provide the same results as animal testing.
If we succeed in doing so, we can advance scientific research and safety measures without causing any harm to other creatures. It will certainly be a win-win situation for members on either side of this debate.
What are your thoughts on this controversial and debatable topic?
Is the benefit of human race more important than morals and ethics?
Does scientific progress justify the cruel nature of animal testing?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.