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Animal Testing Essay

This is a example essay on Animal Testing:
The number of animals killed each year in the United States alone varies between 17 and 70 million. The Animal Welfare Act (ACA) states that laboratories must report the number of animals used in experiments; yet mice, birds, and rats are not included in this figure. These animals are used in 80 to 90 percent of all animal testing. Because of this, it is impossible to calculate the exact number of animals used in such experiments (PETA, 5).

Animal testing might not directly affect ordinary people each day or be an issue on everybody’s mind, yet the actions people do daily can affect animal experimentation. This has been a worldwide issue and an ongoing battle for decades. Vivisection, the practice of lab experimenting on live animals, has been around since the beginning of scientific medicine. It is an alternative to the dissection of human corpses, which resulted from religious leaders’ protests (Choose Cruelty Free).

There are numerous reasons why people and organizations want animal testing changed. People of all nations and religions argue differently on this topic. Yet the main factor in deciding the moral correctness of animal experimentation is one’s personal belief. No matter which side a person takes on this topic, they feel there are several things that must be done to benefit their stance and its publicity.

A group in opposition of animal testing is the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Their main claim is put as, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment” (PETA). PETA claims animals used in experiments are free roaming animals, like frogs, birds, pigs and sheep, and are used because the public views them with less compassion, since they are less cute. PETA believes a better-educated public is the key to improving health and saving animals.

Denying the claims of doctors in favor of animal testing, Dr. Charles Mayor states, “I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better still, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil. (PETA)

The organization states that the money donated to March of Dimes, and other organizations, funds animal testing. Another claim against animal testing is numerous cases where medicines passed by the FDA that posed no threat to animals caused serious side effects on humans, forcing the items to be withdrawn.
The Body Shop, a popular worldwide franchise, opposes animal testing in the production of cosmetics. They claim there are alternative methods a company can employ instead of testing animals. The Body Shop’s products carry the company’s “Against Animal Testing” (AAT) stance. They have an “ATT policy and the annual compliance checks we run involving all our suppliers are also subject to independent review” (The Body Shop). They claim companies can avoid animal testing by not buying ingredients from suppliers that test on animals. The Body Shop stresses the point that companies should not fund others that test or commission animal testing, which can be gauged by supplier monitoring and rating systems (The Body Shop).

The opposition, in the form of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), finds animal testing crucial to medical knowledge and advancement. They feel that because of their research, polio, rabies, smallpox, tetanus and other illnesses would still be killing thousands today. Animals used in research have allowed doctors and scientists to find out more about practical methods in surgeries, understanding diseases, as well as testing new methods to cure such illnesses through medicines. The NIEHS finds animal testing necessary and important to benefit sick people.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has taken steps to please both doctors and scientists who favor animal research, and those who oppose it. They have developed a plan known as the 3Rs, in which they plan to replace, refine, and reduce animal testing by means of new research. The MRC feels they can further benefit technology and also please those against testing by using non-animal research methods . . . wherever possible . . . minimise [sic] the number of animals used while still ensuring clear experimental results . . . research to ensure the minimum of pain and distress is caused to animals for justifiable medical research. (MRC)

The MRC claims this will become the future for animal testing, since it aims to please in humane ways.
There are a number of weaknesses among articles against animal testing. Attacking organizations such as March of Dimes allows PETA to appear ignorant about what really benefits human kind. A weaker argument is assuming the public holds less compassion for animals that are not house pets. Strengths argued in both articles against animal testing are the inhumane practices scientists perform on animals, whether for medical advancements or testing cosmetics. Another is that the biological and anatomical systems of animals and humans are not directly related; causing just as many deaths from these differences.

Some people find these sources reliable in the main, because they are well-known organizations that can be relied upon to be accurate. However, some suggest that those who attack animal research had better inform the public with accurate and verifiable information, so that they do not lose support, as often happens when attacking such worthy organizations as March of Dimes.

The weakness in articles promoting animal testing is the so-called lack of compassion towards animals. Some find most sources very reliable, because they are government funded and medically acclaimed. Perhaps scientists and doctors could take a stand and make the public aware of their greater achievements in saving humans, rather than remaining passive and not supporting their rationale to the public.

The key issues in the controversy of animal testing are whether people have the right to play God and sacrifice defenseless animals to inhumane treatments; and whether governments that fund universities are aware or directly in favor of animal testing. There are also the points of whether it is correct to affect a living species for the sake of human health; and whether animal testing always saves human lives, gives complete understanding of body systems, or promotes new technological advancements to better the human lot.

Animal testing is necessary and can be seen as a noble cause. It is the lesser of two evils between allowing humans to die, or using a resource in a compassionate humane way. Essential experiments dealing with medicine can be balanced against the superficial use of animals in the testing of cosmetics.

Marcia Kidder9/17/2011

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