Animal Testing: The For And Against Of This Practice

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There are three different reasons for animal testing which are for Medical, Agricultura, and Cosmetics. Cosmetics are defined as applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions, or defined as makeup in many situations. Cosmetic testing is when they use an animal for example a bunny then they start testing cosmetics on them. The reason many people oppose this is number one it’s makeup, number two cosmetic testing does not apply with the United States Food and Drug Act. Therefore it isn’t necessary, but it also has saved many faces. On the other hand, Agricultural testing is when they make animals inhale or put pesticides on their skin to determine how much of something they need. The pesticides are very effective against pests since they are tested on by animals, which are either similar to pests or are pests. The final one, which I will focus on is medical testing. Medical testing is when they test on animals to make medical progress, like experimenting medicine on animals hoping to bring it to the market. There have also been many cases that animal testing saved and killed hundreds or even thousands of people, and have been around for thousands of years.

Animal testing has been around since Greek times. One of the first Greeks to have experimented on animals was Aristotle. Aristotle would conduct tests on their movements which helps us understand the human body even now. (Aristotle) Even though animal testing was around since Greek times, it wasn’t official. Not until 1938, when the United States Food and Drug Act was signed, companies didn’t have to do animal testing. For example in 1937 a pharmaceutical was creating a sulfanilamide is an antibiotic that helps with bacterial infections, but they added Diethylene Glycol which is dangerous to humans. They went on without having a clue of what it could do, so they released it with strawberry flavoring. Soon after hundreds of people died from it. Despite the United States Food and Drug Act being signed right after this incident, a lot of companies ignored this and in the early 1960s which was when there was a proclaimed “wonder drug” which it could have been if it hadn’t caused thousands of birth defects to kids. This “Wonder Drug” would act as a painkiller to help coughs, colds, headaches, and even morning sickness causing many pregnant women to take it. This drug would cause over 10,000 birth defects in 46 countries. (Hajar) Bottom line, without animal testing we would’ve continued the rinse and repeat path killing many more humans.

Despite all the debate animal testing is clearly helping us advance but do we still need it is the question. In 1988 we were able to find a cure for a disease with over 350,000 cases. In 2016 it was 27 cases instead. Now this means that animal testing is helping us drastically improved. They get these results by making animals inhale deadly toxins like carbon dioxide, they also kill them by asphyxiating, neck-breaking, and decapitation. They would also burn or cut their skin to study the process of healing during this many other animals were starved and overfed. In 2016 it was found that 71,370 animals were being tested on without any pain killers. Even with all this testing, we use specific animals like chimpanzees that share 99% of our DNA, or something like mice that are 98% genetically similar to us but many argue that we are completely different due to different anatomic, metabolic, and cellular differences.

Despite all these very specific animals, there are still many deaths caused by medicine that passed the animal lab. For example, in the 1900s we released a sleeping pill that caused many deformities in babies even though it was tested on and passed prior to this. So they took it back in to continue testing and it showed to have a protective effect on mice hearts and so they released it once again. This time it killed 27 thousand people from heart problems like cardiac arrest and many more. Another example of animal testing giving the opposite result would be when aspirin was dangerous to pretty much every single kind of animal and yet it helped us, but they didn’t know that it helped humans and almost didn’t use it at all. Tacrolimus is another example, Tacrolimus was used to reduce the chances of an organ transplant rejection, was almost shelved due do animal testing results. Animal testing isn’t always 100% accurate and will always have its problems.

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In order to get a deeper understanding, we will learn what they do to conduct these tests. The animals they would like to have are chimpanzees and mice like I mentioned Chimpanzees have 99% of the same DNA as us. Mice are 98% genetically similar to us. The main reason we mainly use mice isn’t that they’re just similar but because Laboratory mice live 2-3 years so we can study whole life spans and even generations. Which is why Mice work really well for animal tests.

The second animal is a chimpanzee, these animals are probably the closest living forms to humans. Many scientists believe that we evolved from monkeys but despite if this is true or not, it is true that chimpanzees are probably the closest body model to a human body. But even if these are the best options we mainly use rats, mice, fish, and birds. They use them because they’re small, easy to handle and aren’t as pricey and don’t take as much time to grow than chimpanzees, chimpanzees are harder to raise because they have to take care of it till it reaches a certain age and compared to a rat or mice which grow within months or even weeks. 

Knowing what animals are used we will now move on to the testing itself. As I mentioned before we cut an animal’s skin or flesh, and we will study the healing process and they don’t just cut it in one way. We will also burn an area in their body then study the healing process. During this process, in 2016 it was found that 71,370 animals were found to be without any anesthesia or pain killers while these tests were taking place. The Animal Welfare Act helped stop this and know it is required by law to use pain killers or anesthesia. But the Animal Welfare Act does cover small animals like Mice, Rats, Fish, Birds, Reptiles, and many more. Meaning companies with these animals have no requirements by this law to use pain killer or anesthesia. They also make them inhale carbon dioxide to sophisticate and then study the dead body. They also kill them in many other different ways like decapitation or neck-breaking.

There are typically two laws passed on animal testing, one is the Animal Welfare Act and the other is the United States Food and Drug Act. The Animal Welfare Act was an act to prevent many animals from going through animal tests but the animal welfare act only saved 850,812, but the problem is that it didn’t cover the other 20 million animals consisting of mice, rats, fish, and birds. Another law that was signed in 1936 would make many companies use animal tests if they want to legally sell their products. The problem was that many companies didn’t have to follow this act because of certain circumstances, and it ended in many tragedies.

There have been many organizations trying to stop animal testing or trying to find alternatives. One of which is PETA, PETA is an organization that many animal testing factories know. Peta has saved many animals and fights for animal rights. Although they are a bit biased since they only talk about the cons and almost never mention the pros they are still doing what they think is right. PETA has become popular among animal testing labs and is one of the biggest organizations trying to stop animal testing. Although PETA is biased towards their own ideals.

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