What are the Pros and Cons of Animal Testing?

Animal testing is the use of live non-human animals in research experiments. As Akhtar (2015) stated, species including mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, dogs, and non-human primates are often used in the testing.

Usually, the purpose of conducting the procedures on living animals is to identify new biological processes and toxicity of certain products such as food additives, drugs, household cleaners, and cosmetics without putting humans at risk.

The purpose of this discussion is to examine both sides of the argument and expand on why some individuals consider animal testing a good idea while others view it as a terrible scheme.

PROS

#1: Ethics

Ethics is the most popular reason why many people support animal testing. Ethics concerns the extent to which an action is wrong or right.

Proponents of animal testing believe that animal testing is morally right because it allows humans to produce many life-saving products, including vital pharmaceuticals for humans and animals (Badyal & Desai, 2014). But animal-produced pharmaceuticals tend to have shorter shelf life and pose numerous other challenges regarding storage.

#2 Avoiding potential lawsuits

Companies also avoid potential lawsuits related to failed human trials. On the contrary, opponents of animal experimentation claim that the practice is unnecessarily cruel because alternative approaches can test products’ suitability for human use.

#3 Cost-effectiveness

Stem cells and synthetic organs could provide cheaper alternatives invalidating the argument that animal testing is cost-effective.

CONS

#1 Humans are different from animals

Criticisms also emerge from the efficiency of in vivo testing using animals. The concept of efficiency refers to getting the most out of something.

Since animals’ DNA and organs are related to humans, testing on them provides useful insights into humans (Kabene & Baadel, 2019).

However, humans are not necessarily similar to animals. We are bigger than most animals used in testing and have different skeletons making animal testing a waste of their lives.

#2 Animal testing is not always reliable

Furthermore, opponents of animal testing reiterate that animal experimentation does not always reliably predict the efficacy of products in humans.

Drugs that could harm animals help humans while those that help animals are risky to humans, supporting the position that animal testing is inefficient.

Concluding remarks

Overall, many people favor animal testing because they believe it saves lives. These proponents claim that animal experimentation is cost-effective. Opponents of the practice question whether it is worth the suffering it causes animals since there are viable alternatives such as stem cells and synthetic organs. Besides, animal testing is not always cheap reliable, as some debaters perceive it.

The problem is that synthetic organs may not function efficiently as expected and may even need to be replaced.

References

Akhtar, A. (2015). The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics24(4), 407-419. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0963180115000079

Badyal, D., & Desai, C. (2014). Animal use in pharmacology education and research: The changing scenario. Indian Journal of Pharmacology46(3), 257-265. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7613.132153

Kabene, S., & Baadel, S. (2019). Bioethics: a look at animal testing in medicine and cosmetics in the UK. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine12(15), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.18502/jmehm.v12i15.1875