Animal testing is the procedure where animals are used for various experiments. This process includes animals like rabbits, dogs, pigs, etc. Most of the pharmacological and biomedical research institutions use animal testing for an alternative to the human body. It helps cure diseases and in some cases create a vaccine to save mankind.
Animal testing has been present since the 2nd and 4th centuries BC according to greeks writing. Aristotle and Erasistratus are considered the first scientist to experiment on living animals. In the 1920s, the treatment of diabetes was created by testing insulin on dogs whose pancreas were removed.
The first animal to orbit the earth was a Soviet dog Laika, on the 3rd of November 1957. Animal testing took a new leap when Dolly the sheep was born in 1996, cloned from an adult cell.
In 1937, a medicine is known as Diethylene Glycol (DEG) killed over a hundred people. After the Federal Drug Administration investigated the drug and found the culprit to the deaths, Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires all products to be tested on animals before being allowed to be sold on the market. Testing on animals, however, is not an exact science.
In many countries like the US, the products which use animal testing is banned. Many people think it as an inhuman and cruelty to animals. On the other hand, scientists have been curing diseases and producing vaccines. The pros and cons of animal testing are stated below.
Post Content - In Short
- Pros of Animal Testing
- Cons of Animal Testing
Pros of Animal Testing
Animal testing has been a great achievement in modern biotechnology. It has several benefits including the products that help animals to increase their immune system. The testing is done on animals which have identical DNA as that of human. The advantages of animal testing are listed below.
Solution for the Ethical Question of Testing
It is unethical to use humans for experimental procedures resulting in the death. The life of the human should not be at stake while testing medicines for potential side effects or toxic reactions. So, human trials must be preceded by animal testing, as stated by the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki to avoid the critical outcomes. Animal testing provides the solution for an ethical alternative to the testing of drugs, vaccines, and medicines.
Benefits of Human Health
The scientist has been testing the vaccines or medicines on animals to find the possible cure for the disease which helps to benefits human health problems and disorders. E.g. insulin was discovered by experimenting on dogs who had their pancreas removed as well as vaccines for Hepatitis B was created experimenting on chimpanzees. Without these experiments, thousands and thousands of diabetic patients and hepatitis B patient would have been killed in recent years. The pros of animal testing include its impact on human health after successfully finding the cure.
Humans and Animals are Almost Identical
The animals used for these kinds of procedure has its DNA structure close to humans. Biological similarities are the same set of organs, bloodstream, and central nervous system, and even are affected by similar diseases. Chimpanzees have the DNA 99%similar to humans where the genetic code of mice is 98% similar, that is why the results are effective. They are sufficient for research and experimental purpose. The similar DNA makeup is the major aspect and advantage of animal testing.
Safety of the Products
Almost 35 percent of women around the world use cosmetic products. The products that are developed in the laboratory used by humans need the testing to avoid consequences. Animals are considered to be a viable option for the procedure and eliminate the harm and threat caused to humans. Mosquito repellent(for malaria and other illnesses) which uses toxic substances must undergo lab testing to avoid any accidents. The US Food and Drug Administration supports the use of animal tests on cosmetics to “ensure the safety of products and ingredients”.
Possibility to Study the Entire Lifespan
The lifecycle of human beings averages above 70, the scientist himself unable to see his experiment succeed. The average life expectancy of some animals like rats is 2-3 years which is the major advantage of animal testing. Now it provides a full study of the entire life span with the effects created and problems solved during the life cycle of animals. Several generations of animals have been possible to use in the long term research for diseases like cancer.
The final test has to been done with humans before releasing the product to the market. During clinical trials, human subjects have to be paid a lot more money than spend on animal testing. Some are free to catch and most of them are easily available in the market for some dollars. Animal testing provides low maintenance, smaller equipment, cheaper medication, and minimal risk if any consequences appear during the experiment.
Animals Have Been Benefitted By This Procedure
Even animals suffer from many dangerous illnesses like hepatitis, rabies, leukemia, parvo, glaucoma, etc. The vaccines that are being tested on animals helps fight and prevent these diseases. Once its found it helps to keep some endangered species from extinction. The laboratory that tests on them is highly equipped with various facilities and medicines. The care they get there is far better than an average pet owner. It helps find a cure for themselves and the vaccine is released.
The sense of skin and behaviors are the same in terms of animals and humans. The testing provides an outlook of the effects and the result that may occur. The drugs that are successfully used on humans are again tested on animals for confirmation of activity. Some drugs are developed for pets and farm animals. They help to know the effect of drugs on milk, egg, and other animal products consumed by humans.
Cons of Animal Testing
Animal testing has numerous advantages but also has some cons including the ethical question of killing innocent animals. Many countries have banned products that endorse animal testing. The test done in animals will always be less reliable to test that on humans, any minor error can cause death. The cons of animal testing are listed below.
Animals are deprived of food and water, physically restrained for long periods, cause pain and wounds to test the remedies. Some experiments are taken to extreme or toxic doses of certain chemicals are injected to see how much would kill animals. The rabbits used for experiment have their eyelids held open by clips for at least 3 days during the test, causing enormous pain and discomfort.
It is an Expensive Testing Process.
The average cost to care for a single chimpanzee published by Save the Chimps is $16,000 per year. To care for the average dog, the average cost is $9,000 per year. A single rat or mouse will cost several hundred dollars per year. Now multiply those costs by the 100 million animals that are rotated through the animal testing industry each year. Companies are spending billions of dollars on antiquated research practices when that money could be used for research and development procedures that are more effective.
The failure rate of drugs tested on animals could be high as 94% according to the recent data published by the Food and Drug Administration. In the late 1980s, 80% of the cosmetics and other products tested on animals suffered failure. The sleeping pill thalidomide caused severe deformities to thousands of babies being born. The arthritis drug tested on mice protected its hear but caused heart attack and cardiac death in humans. The major disadvantage of animal testing sometimes is non-reliability.
Animals are a Poor Subject
Many scientists oppose using such poor test subjects even if they have the same anatomy and biology. The test conducted on mice cannot show the same effect on 70 kilograms humans. The lack of a direct comparison of human data versus that of a rat puts in the question of the usefulness of the experiment. Sometimes these operations can be abusively handled as no one is going to claim the body or file case against the experiment.
Many Facilities are Exempt From Animal Welfare Laws.
The animal welfare laws have not been able to protect the animals used for the project. More than 20 million animals are at high risk of being treated badly in the name of the research study. Animals are on the verge of being omitted from existence. The facilities registered through welfare can experiment on animals in their premises and facilities available, which is conducted secretly and abusively.
Animal Testing is Preferred Over Other Alternatives
There are many other methods available such as cell cultures in a petri dish and in vitro testing, which can produce even more relevant results. Some cosmetics companies use artificial human skin developed by human cells which mimics the function of the organ and helps to test whether these products are safe to use. Animal testing is performed rather than the modern technologies available which can develop safe products without the involvement of animals.
Some animal testing done by cosmetic companies are not always done for the product but to perform some test without any product. In this case, the extreme case results in the suffering and death of an animal. Most of the time the sacrifice is given for the product which would never make out of the development stage.
(Last Updated On: March 15, 2020)