It is estimated that each year 26 million animals in the United States are used for animal testing. Animals are used to test scientific developments and commercial products. New medical treatments are tested on animals to verify the toxicity of new medications or the safety of a product that will be used on humans. The health care and commercial industries also turn to animal testing for these reasons.
While some contest the use of animals for animal testing it is not a new idea. Research tests conducted on living animals have been practiced since 500 BC. Nonetheless there are those who argue that the use of animals for testing is an inhumane and cruel practice. They argue that alternative methods should be developed to prohibit the need for animal testing. Many organizations such as PETA fight for increased research into alternative methods of testing so that testing on animals can be alleviated. They also argue that tests on animals will yield irrelevant results compared to humans and therefore there is no purpose in animal testing.
Conversely the use of animals is seen by many in the medical field as necessary. While it is not ideal to cause harm to animals it is a safer way to test new products compared to testing them on humans. Typical research and development will begin trials on rats. If those tests prove successful then another set of tests are conducted on monkeys. Once the tests are successful with monkeys then human testing begins. These tiered rounds of testing are used to reduce the amount of mistakes and negative side effects in all breakthroughs. It is argued that animal testing saves many lives and there is no alternative to testing on a living organism. In addition there are strict regulations for animal testing which prevent any mistreatment of the animals in question.
Overall the use of animals for research testing is an old concept and one that has historically been debated. Proponents claim that with regulations in place the animals are not intentionally harmed and that they are taken care of and treated as well as possible. They claim that there is no alternative and that the use of animal testing has saved many lives. And yet there are animal friendly organizations who claim that it is an unnecessary step to use animals for testing and it should be stopped due to its inhumane and cruel nature.
Animal testing is an extremely controversial topic with people having most divergent views. Some people feel that animals should not be used as guinea pigs for experimentation and that all animal testing should be banned. They feel that animals need to be treated in a humane manner and animal testing is a brutal way of treating them and, hence, should be stopped immediately. The people in the other camp feel that a lot of medical breakthroughs were possible only because of tests being conducted on animals. They feel that the benefits derived for mankind far outweigh the negative impact that the people opposing animal testing claim to have on animals.
While both camps have their own valid arguments, it is very difficult to come to a solid conclusion, unless both sides have a common platform to stand on. When there is no common framework between the two of them, it would become extremely difficult to solve the issue. For instance, the question of man’s authority over the animal kingdom cannot be easily solved, as some think that man is also an animal and others consider him to be a unique creation made in the image and likeness of God, as stated in the scriptures.
Fundamental issues like these need to be resolved first if people want to have a valid answer to other issues of life, like animal testing. Without having a clear understanding of man’s rights and privileges on the earth and all the resources, we will not be able to find a solution to many of the ethical issues that confront us. Until and unless we have a common framework to base our conclusions on, we would probably continue arguing as long as we live.