With the expansive development of
medicine and science, new methods of experimentation must be employed in order
to develop highly sophisticated and extremely effective drugs to help combat diseases.

A major issue arising from these advances in science have manifested through
the animal testing done in laboratories with the purpose of ensuring a drug’s
effectiveness for humans. Though many may argue that animals fully merit their
own rights to not be tested on, it is not taken into account how often animals
are the best option for bringing revolutionary discoveries, since the help
testing for drug safety and providing accurate biological feedback for the
development of medicine. Furthermore, it is through the information presented
that a new light will be exposed on the benefits to biomedical animal testing,
while addressing the moral controversy associated with testing on animals.

            One of the biggest controversies associated with the
testing of animals for medical purposes has been the involvement of moral value
and moral obligations owed to animals. A major claim in opposition to animal
testing has been the unethical and immorality associated with testing. People
argue that animals have the right to be treated properly, treated with respect,
and treated with autonomy as they can be considered innocent beings. It is also
claimed that animals are sentient, therefore able to feel, think and be
self-conscious, which gives the impression that animals are nearly equal to
humans in the moral sense. Dr. Carl Cohen wrote an article for The New England
Journal of Medicine where he refutes the claim, declaring that animals do not
in fact merit the same amounts of rights to not be tested on. He directly stated,
“Animals (that is, nonhuman animals, the ordinary sense of that word) lack this
capacity for free moral judgment. They are not beings of a kind capable of
exercising or responding to moral claims. Animals therefore have no rights, and
they can have none” (Cohen, 315: 865-870.) This counterargument is valid and
reasonable, given the fact that should an animal really have rights, they would
be able to create a lawsuit in defense for their protection of laboratory
testing. This unique relationship from claims made against medical testing indirectly
suggests that animals are morally and socially equal to humans. However, a
downside to our counter-argument does reveal that animals are treated in a
cruel manner because of the fact that there is the idea that they are not equal
to humans and do not have rights. The New England Anti-Vivisection Society, or
NEAVS for short, conducted an investigation to determine the living conditions
of the animals in captivity for laboratory use. They state, “Animals spend their
lives in barren cages, unable to express natural behaviors. Most never
experience fresh air or sunshine, only bars and concrete” (NEAVS Research.) As
stated, there is the clearly understood complexity that is associated with
animal testing, the byproduct of which animals do suffer in order to help
humanity survive. Nevertheless, for the development of science, extensive
measures can be imposed to improve the quality of life of these animals through
a firm and rigorous implementation of the Animal Welfare Act, originally
designed for animal protection in laboratories. Though inconvenient and
potentially costly, truly implementing a firm standard to animal retention and
housing in laboratories to ensure the most humane handling possible to allow
greater scientific results in the search for better medicine.

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            Though sometimes unpractical, medical testing on animals
provides an immense benefit to testing how a certain drug or solution will
react in a living body system. Extensive and strenuous testing is required when
creating new types of medicine as there can be serious health hazards to
humans. Quality control has become a top priority to the pharmaceutical
industry in order to ensure longevity of both individual business and ensure
better medicinal aid for people to use while minimizing the risks associated
with medicines. Instances where animal testing was not utilized to ensure
quality control demonstrated the demand and requirement to test drugs before
making them available to the public. Per an article written by Dr. Rachel
Hajar, Hajar revealed an unknown fact about a failed drug named Sulfanilamide
in which hundreds of people died by poisoning. It states “In 1937, a
pharmaceutical company in the US created a preparation of sulfanilamide, using
diethylene glycol (DEG), a poisonous substance to humans, as a solvent. The
company added raspberry flavoring to the sulfanilamide drug dissolved in DEG,
marketed the drug, and caused mass poisoning and death of more than a hundred
people. No animal testing was done” (Hajar, Rachel,12:42.) This real life
example provides the urgency and necessity of testing drugs on animals in
laboratories, no matter how controversial it may be. Given the fact that the
pharmaceutical firm did not test the effects of the Sulfanilamide drug revealed
that testing is necessary for drug safety and for the safety of the consumer. In
retrospect, testing on animals, the closest biological being similar to humans,
is extremely important to maintain the integrity of the drugs given to people
in need.

            The human biological system is extremely complex, with an
expansive and unique genome that took fifteen years to decode and understand.

Because the genetic composition of humans is so complex, it would be difficult
to test new drugs exclusively on bacterium or fungi and expect astonishing
results that would actively reflect on human trials of medicinal development. Since
animals are the closest biological relatives to humans, they prove to be the
best option to ensure a positive reaction in a living system. A research by the
Pro Con Organization team have summarized the following in regards to animal
testing, “Evaluation a drug for side effects requires a circulatory system to
carry the medicine to different organs. Studying cell cultures in a petri dish
does not provide the opportunity to study interrelated processes occurring in
the central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system” (Rogers, Kara,
Pro Con Organization.) Since animals do share a similar genetic composition to
humans, they help in accurately reproducing the environment in which drugs will
demonstrate their effects on a living system, in an accurate representation to
biological response as opposed to en-vitro testing of cells.

            In conclusion, the controversy of animal testing is a
complex and intricate argument that defends the animal from the cruelty of
science but also supports the need for animals to ensure optimal human safety
when ingesting new drugs. Although it may seem morally unethical to void
animals of the right to their life, it has been stated that animals themselves
do not own their own rights to defend themselves as they do not deserve any
moral obligation on part of humans. Although animals may find themselves in
brutal conditions within their laboratories, it is necessary to make a small
sacrifice to benefit the “bigger picture” of humanity. Since animals are the
closest biological and genetic relatives to humans, it is understandable that
they are the number one candidates to guarantee success of medicine for humans
and for animals as well. As a result, though it may come with an extensive list
of social implications that truly reveal how animals are mistreated, it is a
small sacrifice to make when searching for the greater good of humanity.

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