First Semester Issue
12 December 2016
With an estimated 26 million animals being used and roughly 50 billion dollars spent in the United States annually on animal testing for scientific and commercial reasons the questions of effectiveness, necessity, and cruelty are being pondered more and more. Many scientists and researchers say it is necessary to test on living organisms with similar biological makeups to humans to figure out how to treat, test medicines, or even find cures for diseases. Animal research has played a part in a majority of medical breakthroughs in the past 100 years. Furthermore, testing cosmetic products on animals is also deemed a necessary way to test the safety of the product before human trials. This use of animals takes out the risk of unwanted reactions that these unknown products could have on humans during trials. On the contrary there is strong opposition due to the mistreatment, cruelty, and inhumane conditions these animals go through during tests. In many cases whether it is medicine or another product for humans, it may work safely in a rodent but turns out to be harmful or ineffective in humans.
Animal testing, according to some researchers, is vital in the advancements and discoveries made in the medical field. Without testing on animals the safety and efficacy would be close to unknown due to the difference between testing on cells and a live complex biological system very similar to a human’s. Chimpanzees are the closest species to humans sharing 99% of the same DNA as humans followed by a close second with mice sharing 98% of their DNA. The use of chimpanzees has contributed in huge advancements in treating diseases such as Hepatitis-C and HIV-Aids. Research done involving animal testing has also contributed to advancements in the treatment of malaria, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, multiple cancers, leukemia, and key in the invention of the Pacemaker. Not only has animal testing benefited human health but it has also helped scientists find cures for diseases animals undergo such as rabies, tetanus, and anthrax. Due to the breakthroughs in medicine many researchers continue to test on animals and hope to make more advancements with the help of the animals.
In the eyes of many, animal testing is cruel, inhumane, and unreliable. Many medicines and products are safe, harmless, and effective in animals, such as rats or mice, but humans are not rodents and more often than one would think they fail in human trial after seeming to work well without side effects in rodents. A drug used to treat arthritis, called Vioxx, was found safe and effective when tested on monkeys, as well as five other animal species, but has been estimated to have caused around 320,000...