Throughout the years, animals have been used as models for studying human biology and as test subjects in the development of drugs and vaccines, all with the desire to improve human health. However, animal testing is not exclusive to biomedical research; animals are used as test subjects for psychological testing, agricultural research and cosmetic study, among others (AnimalsAustralia.org, 2012). Over one hundred million animals are burned, crippled and abused in labs every year and of those, 92% of the products that have been deemed safe and effective in animals, have failed human trials because of the dangers (AnimalsAustralia.org, 2012). Through this, it is clear that relying on the ...view middle of the document...
The animals used in these ‘vital medical treatments’ are either specifically bred for the purpose of experimentation or even captured from the wild. This is hypocritical, if a lab were to breed human children in the same way they do these animals, then society would be outraged and the researchers involved would be arrested. The same would happen if we were to start ‘capturing’ people from their home or a public place, like an animal from the wild. Therein lays the contradiction within society; if it doesn’t affect them in any bad way directly, it’s okay.
Ian Murnaghan (2010) states that animal testing is valuable to society because of the common ground animals share with humans. For example, some dog breeds can develop narcolepsy and are therefore an important model for studying and gaining awareness regarding the condition (Murnaghan, 2010). Moreover, some of the most important drugs and treatments we use today (Insulin, vaccines, and cancer and HIV treatments) have been developed based on animal experimentation (Murnaghan, 2010).
Ethics of care, also known as care ethics, is a feminist based philosophical theory that is “an ethic grounded in voice and relationships, in the importance of everyone having a voice, being listened to carefully (in their own right and on their own terms) and heard with respect” (Carol Gilligan, 2011). Ethics of care contrasts with more well-known ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, and can be used against the testing of animals. Tom Regan’s ‘The Case for Animal Rights’, is one of the most influential works regarding animals status in society. Regan argues that animals have rights in just the same way that human beings do (Wilson).
“…any being that is a subject-of-a-life is a being that has inherent value. A being that has inherent value is a being towards which we must show respect; in order to show respect to such a being, we cannot use it merely as a means to our ends.” (Wilson)
This quote states that it is wrong to use animals as test subjects to further society’s health. Some processes used in biomedical research causes large amounts of pain to the animal test subject. Many experiments use devices to prevent the animal from moving while the scientists’ conduct painful experiments without any form of pain killers (AnimalsAustralia.org, 2012). For example, at an American university, a study was conducted using mice and rats. The rats and mice were immobilised in tubes or hung upside down by their tails while their feet were shocked (AnimalsAustralia.org, 2012). They were then forced to swim to avoid drowning. The researchers claimed that these experiments had relevance to human depression and anxiety (AnimalsAustralia.org, 2012).
An excuse used to justify the testing of animals is that they can’t talk or emote the way humans can so there is no wrong in using them to our advantage. However, animals react in ways very similar to how a person might; a dog will whimper, and squeal and act out in violence...