Many animals are used for scientific purposes and testing each year. Scientists and other professionals mainly use animals, “to develop medical treatments, determine the toxicity of medications, check the safety of products destined for human use”, etc (ProCon.org). Some believe that animals are key components in solving issues dealing with diseases, while others believe that strict policies should be enacted in order to prevent abusive treatments of animals. Bernard E. Rollin, a bioethicist and professor of biomedical sciences, stated that “the scientific ideology of animal testing rests on two assumptions, science is value free in general and ethics free”, meaning there is no place for ethical judgement. The other assumption includes “that scientists must be agnostic about consciousness in animals” (Front). This means they need to consider the animal’s sense of feeling and sensitivity. Reasoning on both sides have valid points, but should animals be used for scientific testing?
Proponents of animal testing have made it clear that the use of animals as test subjects is the only way to conduct valid research for cures and treatments. They are only concerned with issues dealing with the welfare of human beings. Ashya Akhtar, a Neurologist and author of Animals and Public Health, concludes that researchers use them to discover many life-saving cures and treatments (Akhtar 2). Although this may be true, there are certain limits and boundaries that are present in order to protect animals. Advocates have reported that emerging infectious diseases are connected with treatments of animals and that they are models to identify, develop, and used to test drug and vaccine candidates (Akhtar 6). This information is especially useful for the promotion of human survival. While animal testing is controversial, advocates claim that humans are not the only ones benefiting from experiments, but also the animals being tested (ProCon.org). This means that research is protecting animal populations from extinction. Even though these points should be considered, other individuals including myself are conflicted with the evidence, safety, and care of animals as test subjects.
Dissenters of animal testing continue to prove that it is unethical to use animals for testing. Opponents, like myself, speculate that there is another way for research to explore new cures for the benefit of humans. Although, it is strange to state that animals are just like people, it has been proven animals are able to detect pain and other emotions similarly to humans (ProCon.org). Certain researchers are using animals for egotistical reasons on the behalf of humans while excluding any form of care for the animal itself. Alternative testing methods such as in vitro testing, which is the studying of cells in a petri dish, exist in order to replace the “need for animals” (ProCon.org). This assertion proves that animals are no longer needed as candidates for these studies due to new scientific innovations. Akhtar states that,”Using animals today is largely ineffective in helping us understand human physiology, predict human toxins and find use drugs” (ProCon.org). Akhtar is mainly justifying that animals are representing the wrong models in experiments because people and animals are completely different in their genetic makeup.
While both sides hold various opinions concerning the health of human beings and animals, bringing both views together to resolve the issue of animal testing would be more complex than it seems. Even though each side regards differing views, they do share similar values. Both concern themselves with one particular idea, the concept of nourishment for survival. In order to combine both sides beliefs’, each side should integrate one of the values from the opposing side that they believe they could learn and adapt towards. For instance, proponents for animal testing can agree towards regulations and policies that protect animals if they can still observe and experiment with animals without abusing any of these policies. Another possibility that could resolve the issues of both sides is adopting a new method for scientific research. An example of this would be that artificial human skin is made from sheets of human skin cells grown in test tubes and can produce more useful results as opposed to testing chemicals on animal skin (ProCon.org). Disagreement will always be inevitable while dealing with compromises of controversial issues. Each side will not always be happy with the results they obtain, but what each side can do to achieve the best outcome is to adapt to propositions offered from either side.
Protecting animals from acts of cruelty will allow them to live safely in their own natural habitat. Everyone wants to live a healthy, long life, but sacrificing countless numbers of animals is not worth the time or money needed to conduct these experiments. There will never be a perfect solution to the matter of animal testing, but at least acknowledging that each side holds certain values that are useful to the environment shows that individuals are willing to resolve conflicts.