Animal Testing Is Wrong Essay

1801 words - 7 pages

Animal testing has been around since the third and fourth centuries BC, when it was performed by Greek philosopher-physicians. However, it is unknown when people began to question this process. In today’s society, the idea of testing products on animals has become more and more controversial with numerous groups being created and becoming even more vocal. While people will decide for themselves where they stand in this argument, I would hope that most would agree that animal abuse is wrong. So, if animal abuse is wrong and animal testing can be, and usually is, much more painful and severe than animal abuse; why can’t people agree on the subject of animal testing? However, the argument for animal testing is also legitimate. Animal testing can help scientists find side effects, medicines, even cures. So, are the advantages of testing on animals worth the ethical issues it creates?
The history of animal testing is a long and controversial one. Early Greek physician-scientists Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) and Erasistratus (304 – 258 BC), to name a couple, performed experiments on living animals. Galen (129 – 199 / 217 AD), also a Greek physician, practiced in Rome and was very important in the history of medicine. He conducted animal experiments to advance the understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. In twelfth century Moorish Spain, an Arab physician by the name of Ibn Zuhr was the first to use animal testing as an experimental method for testing surgical procedures before using them on human patients. William Harvey was an English physician during the 17th Century. He experimented with many animal species aiming to demonstrate blood circulation. In 1859, Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory reinforced the belief that animals could serve as replacements for humans in the study of biology and physiology. The numbers of animals used in research expanded steadily through the late 19th and 20th centuries due to the expansion of medical science. Animal testing reached a high point in the early 1970s, and has been on the decline since due to increased public pressure to reduce the numbers of animals used in testing and the development of available alternatives.
While many people believe that animals are inferior to humans and very different from them, those in favor of animal testing argue that experiments on animals are necessary to advance medical and biological knowledge. Claude Bernard, regarded as the father of physiology, said that “experiments on animals are entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man. The effects of these substances are the same on man as on animals, save for differences in degree”. Bernard established animal experimentation as part of the standard scientific method. Animals and humans are very similar; we have the same organ systems performing the same tasks in more or less the same way. Animals suffer from similar diseases to humans including cancers, TB, flu and asthma. Many veterinary...

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