In the 1880’s, Louis Pasteur conducted one of the most unpleasant series of animal experiments in the history of the fight against infectious disease. Unable to see the organism that causes rabies with the microscopes available, he convinced a skeptical medical community of the microorganism’s existence and also the possibility of vaccinating against it. He did this by doing work on rabbits and dogs. In 1885, after much heart searching, he tried out his rabies vaccine on a nine-year old boy, Joseph Meister, who had been bitten 14 times by a rabid dog. Thanks to Pasteur’s vaccine, the boy lived. (Hampson 1) The life of Joseph Meister and many others like him have been saved by animal experimentation. No matter how awful the idea of animal testing may seem, the bottom line is that it has saved millions of lives. If animal experiments were to be eradicated, how many of our friends and family members will die of a disease that could have been cured if only animal experimentation were legal. Animal testing should remain legal for medical research.
The British government has much more stringent rules about animal testing. In 1990 the British association for the advancement of science created a declaration in support of animal experiments. It stated, “Animal research has, does and will result in the cures for diseases.” (Wall 1) This came from a panel of some of the most respected doctors and scientists in Britain. They obviously have seen the benefits of animal testing and agree that it is needed throughout the world.
Some have argued that money and time should be spent looking for alternatives to animal testing. The British association for the advancement of science said, “Much basic research on physiological, pathological and therapeutic processes still requires animal experimentation. Such research has and will continue to provide the essential foundation for improvements in medical knowledge, education and practice.” (Alhous 1) Colin Blakemore of the University of Oxford also states that, “…alternative methods already exist for some animal experiments, but the fact is that the law specifically forbids animal use if there is any alternative.” (Blakemore 1) So, this argument does not hold up. Alternatives may be useful, but, in some situations, animal testing is still very important in the development of the medical experiments. Vaccines and medication must be thoroughly tested before they are put on the shelves. A poor job cannot be done because a human life could be put at risk.
Many animal rights activists claim that we should do away with animal testing due to the fact that the animals suffer. This may be selfish but I would rather rats suffered...