The Pros and Cons of Animal Testing: An Ethical Dilemma

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Animal testing includes doing logical tests on animals when growing new items or medications. It can also be used in classrooms for educational purposes, as noted in collins dictionary, 2021. Testing can be used for research because some animals have the same DNA as humans (Stanford University, n.d). In brief, many people have different views on the topic because there are many pros and cons. Seeing both sides of the opinion is the best way to judge whether it is morally acceptable, which is why there will be two cons and two pros.

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'The animal welfare act 2006 section 9 states that steps should be taken to guarantee animals to be protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease' (Animal welfare act, 2006)

The biggest positive of animal testing is the medicine and vaccines that came from testing and saved many lives. One disease that has benefited from animal testing is cancer. Dichloro ethyl sulfide, also known as mustard gas, was used to reduce tumors in mice which helped develop chemotherapy and is now commonly used to treat cancer (Adair, F.E and Bagg, H.J, 1931). Experiments in dogs have played a part in cancer treatment, including the NHGRI Dog Genome Project’s successful genome mapping of Tasha the Boxer (Foundation for biomedical research, n.d). They found out that large numbers of the genes found in dog cancer are present in the human form, so the tests they do on them will be helpful for humans. While testing on animals may seem unnecessary, it helps treat the dog as much as humans. If dog cancer is the same as humans, they are supporting vets to create a lifesaving treatment for ill dogs. Another example of how animal experiments have helped is the making of the smallpox vaccine. This pandemic is an example of how people and animals' well-being is dependent upon each other and how research is necessary to help save millions of lives. Within the 19th and 20th centuries research assisted in cowpox material being obtained from calves and then purified to be turned into the vaccine. If this research had not taken place, smallpox would still be in existence now (Foundation for biomedical research, n.d).

On the other hand, animal testing can be highly unreliable and flawed. Animals can have different reactions to humans as the body can work differently from theirs. Several drugs have passed animal testing and failed human trials. Vioxx was a drug used to treat arthritis. This drug was passed as safe when used on monkeys and five other animals. The drug then caused heart attacks and strokes in 320,000 and 140,000 deaths worldwide (Cruelty-Free International, 2009). A drug trial in France used for anxiety, Parkinson's, and other diseases was tested on mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys with no harm caused but caused one death and four brains dead in 2016 (Cruelty-Free International, 2009). TGN1412 caused six men to have organ failure and brain swelling within two hours of treatment, whereas the drug was given to monkeys at a 500-fold larger dose (Ram. R, 2015). Cogane was used to treat Parkinson's disease in animals but failed in human trials in 2013 (Ram. R, 2015). These are all different scenarios where the animal body has been different from humans, showing animal testing is inaccurate. There have also been cases where a drug is toxic to an animal and effective in humans. For example, Aspirin is toxic to some animals and would not be on our shelves if it had gone through animal trials (Cruelty-Free International, 2009). In addition to Aspirin, Penicillin is lethal to hamsters and guinea pigs and could have been dismissed in animal testing and has now treated many infections. One could argue that these differences should give enough argument that animal testing is too inaccurate.

In conclusion, animal testing has both advantages and disadvantages, and people hold different views on its morality. Animal testing has contributed significantly to the development of medicines and vaccines that have saved many lives. However, the reliability and accuracy of animal testing have come under scrutiny due to instances where drugs that passed animal testing have failed human trials or caused adverse reactions. Animal welfare is also a critical consideration, and steps must be taken to ensure that animals are protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease. While there are arguments on both sides, it is necessary to consider all aspects of animal testing to determine its ethical implications and whether alternative methods can be adopted to avoid animal suffering while still advancing scientific research.

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