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Animal Testing: A True Ethical Dilemma

1704 words - 7 pages

Imagine a life locked away in a cage with no form of control on your existence. It’s cold, dark, and you are scared. You don’t have a choice of what you eat, where you live, or how you are treated. You are unsure if it is day or night or what will happen to you next. You are locked away in a prison cell and you committed no crime. This is the life of a laboratory animal. Animal testing is the use of animals for scientific research purposes and experiments. It can be used for the findings of cures and medicines to testing new drugs, to understanding the behavioral psychology of the animals themselves. “Around fifty to one hundred million vertebrate animals, ranging from fish to primates, are used in experiments each year” (Lloyd). There are many different terms used to describe the research on animals but two main ideas. In vivo research is where the experiment is conducted on a live organism. In this case the animal is not operated on but rather tested in a natural living state such as exposing the animal to a toxin or chemical and documenting the side effects. The other is vivisection and can be closely related to dissection or surgical experiments on the living. It is an operation on a living animal for testing rather than healing purposes. This word is usually associated with negative perceptions such as torture, pain, suffering and death.
Animal testing is performed in a wide arena of areas such as colleges and universities, laboratories, and within pharmaceutical companies. The main uses for the need of animal experimentation are genetic development, biomedical and biochemical research, toxicology, cosmetic testing and more. The use of animals for scientific research has constantly been a topic of ethical debate. Some major supporters argue that many medical achievements and breakthroughs would not have come about without the evidence of animal experiments while protestors say the practice is cruel, unnecessary, scientifically unreliable and ethically and morally wrong. As human, we are unarguably the prevailing species on earth. We can treat animals in ways we chose for the sake of science; but the question still becomes, it is morally or ethically right to cause an animal suffering for our benefit? At which stage do we justify our use of animals for experiments?
There is no argument that animals have played a critical role in medical research and paved the way for antidotes, cures and remedies for humans throughout history. Aristotle, who lived back in the fourth century B.C., is one of the first to be recorded as experimenting on a living animal. Back in the 1920s there was experimental testing on dogs which gave conclusive evidence to the functions the pancreas has on producing insulin. Before this, diabetes was untreatable, unmanageable and would easily result in death in humans (The Discovery of Insulin). Although testing on animals has been beneficial to us in many instances, there are several examples that prove testing on animals...

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