The use of animals in laboratory research and experimentations has drawn mixed reactions since its inception. The testing of medications and the use of animals to discover drugs for human illnesses have had its benefits on society. On the one hand, it has led to the discovery and testing of new drugs which have helped reduce mortality in humans. Therefore the role played by these experiments has been of core benefit to human health. However, on the other side of the coin, animals used in these experiments end up dying and therefore having a negative impact on the ecological aspect of human existence. The health of the universe is therefore threatened by the use of animals in experiments.
Should animals be used for scientific research? Is it humanly? The use of animals in scientific research has evolved a lot of mixed reactions. From the advocates of the use to those concerned with its effects together with the ones opposed to it, the question of animal use has become highly contentious. As a matter of fact, the use of animals in scientific research has profound benefits for human health. Most of the experiments involve the testing of drugs and their effectiveness to work in curing human illnesses. Therefore the use of animals in their programs has been of many benefits to human health. The constructiveness of this endeavor cannot be discounted. However, the ecological impact of the continuous use of animals in research has a tremendously negative effect on humanity and health in general. Bearing in mind that most of these animals die sooner or later, the consequences of this program are equally great. The moral aspect consequently raises its head. Moralists question the cruel treatment subjected to these animals in the name of research and experimentation. They pay more attention to the effects of the experiments on the health and lives of these animals. In their opinion therefore it is inhuman to test drugs and perform research at the expense of animals’ health and life in general. It is against this background that the use of animals in research and experiments has become an issue of controversy.
The Danger of Using Animals for Research
The danger of using animals for research is wide and rampant. In fact, the effects of this kind of practice are directly reflected the human side (Greenhaven, 1987). First and foremost is the moral concept, the subjecting of animals to poisonous elements, operations, and ultimate death violates their rights as animals. It is not ethical to expose animals to such kind of danger just for the sake of man. Animals deserve better treatment than this exposure to dangerous elements. As much as the use of animals in laboratory research has its profound benefits on human health the manner in which animals are treated is questionable. In the process of experiments, animals are injected with poisonous elements, subjected to operations, and sometimes injected with disease-causing elements. This greatly affects the life and health of the animals with some succumbing to them. Many animals contract diseases and illnesses from such experiments making their lives a hell of living. As much as the experimentalists argue that they obtain approval from various regulatory bodies, the treatment given to these animals is inhuman and unethical. Furthermore, these regulatory bodies are driven by economic interests in their decisions and not the ethical aspects. They are therefore ignorant of the effects of these experiments on the lives and health of these animals (Singer 2006).
The ecological perspective is also of much essence as far as the use of animals for experiments is concerned. In this argument, anything that affects the life and health of animals has a direct or indirect effect on humans specifically health. The pain and distress subjected to the animals in the course of the experiments cause illnesses amongst them, more often this leads to the death of the animals. As far as all this is done in the name of finding drugs for human illnesses it is counterproductive in essence. The health of animals is directly reflected in that of humans. Humans are fed of animals and therefore if they decrease in number due to death as a result of experiments then humans will lack food and their health will be in limbo.
The number of animals used in laboratory testing has been increasing year in year out. This has threatened the ecological balance in the ecosystem. This is a direct threat to human existence. As a society, we risk subjecting all our animals to this kind of exercise and this can have negative consequences. In the days of yore, medicine was derived from herbs and barks of a tree and they were effective. It doesn’t need to take harm so as to discover drugs. How come in the past drugs were effective even without the subjecting of the ecosystem into danger? The unethical subjection of animals to harmful experiments cannot be justified as seeking a solution for human health.
The risk lies in the continuous subjection of our animals to the inhuman experiments which debase animals to objects of study. Animals have a critical role to play in the ecological system of the universe. Furthermore the animals are more useful to human health when they are in perfect health and are so subjected to ethical conditions. It is not viable to argue that the health of the animals should be endangered so as to save that of humans. If anything the health of both humans and animals should go hand in hand. Only a complimentary approach will provide a worthy solution to the danger of health that plagues humanity. A haphazard approach like the one being used by the laboratories will only provide a short term solution. In the short term the use of animals for laboratory tests seems to be bearing positive fruits specifically in the discovery and testing of medications but its consequences will soon overwhelm humanity. The use of animals therefore is not a sustainable way to approach the entire issues of human health and its medication. A different approach should be sought which guarantees success on both sides. It is not sustainable therefore to continually subject animals to pain and distress in the name of discovering and testing drug samples. The risks greatly outnumber the benefits and as such the practice should be stopped (Carlson, 1994). Alternative methods of approach should be designed which guarantee not only the health of humans but also that of animals and the ecosystem at large.
The following table illustrates the use of animals in laboratory test and the degree of pain and distress underwent by the animals.
The Role of Government and Society
Blame for this cruel and inhuman act of subjecting animals to such treatment squarely lies with society and the government. Various companies and laboratories have invested hugely in the in this program most of which have economic interest in the production of drugs for human illnesses. There are also those research programs that are funded by the government. It is a saddening thing for the taxpayer’s money to be employed in such heinous acts against the animal fraternity. Animals just like humans should be accorded the right treatment at all times (Bender D, 1987).The government being the custodian of rights and freedoms should be the first one to realize the immorality of such acts and therefore discourage. However for the economic gains and sheer disregard for animal welfare it has gone ahead to fund such program. It is time that society stood up for the rights of animals. Various business organizations have set up laboratories in which animals are subjected to poisoning operations and other acts that cause injury, harm, disease and eventual death to them. Such activities should not be tolerated in the name of economic gain. The apathy of the government is a cause of great annoyance bearing in mind that some of the projects are not only authorized but also funded by the government (Turner, 1983). Lack of government regulation and guidelines on how to approach the issue is hurting ecology hardly. This is due to the fact that the death of these animals causes lack of food to humans as well as ecological imbalance.
The Significance of the Research
The scientific testing of drugs on animals is of great importance as far as the development and testing of new drugs is concerned. In fact it is a breakthrough in health science where new drugs are developed to tackle the increasing danger of human health. Therefore it is not practical to develop new drugs without the use of animals. Apart from the development of drugs, many other processes require the use of animals. For instance the study of how the brain works its defects, behavior and strokes. These are not possible to determine without animal testing. Therefore as much as this testing brings about the suffering and death of some animals it is not done purely for the purpose of injuring tem. The inconvenience thus caused is resultant and not intended. No scientist therefore plans or intends to inflict pain and suffering to the animal. Further more the scientific research area is highly regulated, regulatory bodies and ethics committees have various requirements met first before approving the projects. The living conditions of the animals for instance are considered prior to the inception of any experiment. Animals which are used for experiment are henceforth taken good care of, given proper housing, treated when sick and kept comfortably (Rowan, 1984).
However contrary to theses assertions the life and health of theses animal is ever at risk since they are subjected to irreversible body harm. Furthermore the idea of discovering and testing drugs and medication on animals does not make sense at all. This is so because during the ancient days medicine was extracted from herbs, vegetation and barks of trees. There was no need to harm an animal in the process yet these medicines were effective. Therefore there are more sustainable methods of addressing the risk of diseases and illnesses of humans than subjecting animals to inhuman conditions. Cruelty and apathy towards animals and their welfare cannot therefore be tolerated in the name of discovery of drugs.
Another point worth noting is the assertion that theses research agencies obtain approval from regulatory bodies. This makes no sense since the bodies are not driven by values but by economic interests. These are not guided by the ethos and welfare of animals and ecology at large and therefore have no moral authority to issues such permits. Therefore such approval is not reliable and this practice must be stopped by all means. The government is in fact apathetic the plight of these animals and also to the future impact of this practice to the ecosystem. The congress in particular has failed to enact legislations that protect the welfare of animals. The congress has consequently failed to spearhead the protection of the ecosystem bearing in mind that this act of using animals in experiments undermines ecology (Nussbaum & Sunstein, 2005).
The use of animals in the laboratory experiments has been in practice for a long time now. However it has been subject to many debates therefore evolving a mixture of reactions. The importance of the use of animals in the experiments cannot be underestimated. This practice has profound benefits on the health of humans and society at large. With increasing attack of illnesses and diseases there is need for more research to be done so as to save mankind from the brink of extinction. Therefore the laboratory exercise of discovery and testing of drugs samples and their effectiveness is integral for human health. However there are concerns about the moral and ethical implications of these experiments. The fact that animals are cruelly treated sometimes dying in the process has raised a lot of concerns. Moralists argue that cruelty against animals cannot be justified in the name of the discovery and testing of drugs. The fact remains that animals bear the brunt of misery and agony during the process of testing. This is reflected in the injection of poisonous substances in the animal bodies coupled with a series of operations. These cause diseases among the animals which eventually lead to death. Therefore the ethical question if more significant bearing in mind that animal deserves to be treated well. The other aspect of the debate is the effect of mistreating animals in the process of experimenting. It is deemed that harming animals in the process of seeking health solutions for humans is counterproductive. This endeavor is self defeating bearing in mind that the ecological imbalance is greatly skewed in this kind of process. Therefore the consequences of this practice will definitely affect human health in the long run. Furthermore finding medical solution for human illnesses need not be a painful experience for animals. This can be proven by the fact that in the ancient days, medicine was extracted from vegetation without harming animals. Yet this medicine was effective in its treatment of human illnesses. So this rubbishes the claim by the scientists that it is necessary for the animals to go through the process.
Bender, David. (1987). Biomedical Ethics–opposing Viewpoints: Should animals be used in scientific research? Pennsylvania: Greenhaven Press.
Carlson, Neil. (1994). Physiology of Behavior. Michigan: University of Michigan.
Greenhaven, F. (1987). Should Animals Be Used in Scientific Research? Pennsylvania: Greenhaven Press.
Nussbaum, Martha and Sustein, Cass, (2005). Animal rights: current debates and new directions. Washington: Oxford University Press.
Rowan, Andrew. (1984). Of mice, models, and men: a critical evaluation of animal research. New York: SUNY Press.
Singer, Peter. (2006). In defense of animals: the second wave. Wiley-Blackwell.
Turner, Paul. (1983). Animals in scientific research, an effective substitute for man?: proceedings of a symposium held in April 1982 under the auspices of the Humane Research Trust. Michigan: University of Michigan.