January 7, 2010

ANIMAL TESTING

Animals have been used for many years to test products before these products are to be used by human beings. A wide range of products are tested on animals including medicines and cosmetic products. The supporters for using animals in research and testing believe that such a move provides many benefits to humans based on scientific evidence (Guither, 1998, p.76). But for many years, animal activists have been waging a war against the issue of animal testing.

            Since the 1960s, society has grown increasingly concerned about animal treatment in the areas of scientific research, agriculture, and testing, and with that concern has come a social emphasis on issues of animal pain, suffering, fear, loneliness, boredom, and anxiety, which has in turn forced science to reckon with these notions. For example, federal law passed in 1985 compels researchers to control "animal pain and distress" (Beckoff & Meaney, 1998).

            Research and testing is not done on humans and is considered immoral since it causes pain and infringes on their freedom. If certain kinds of testing on humans are considered to be immoral, then philosophers argue that such research is immoral when conducted on animals. Much of the debate over animals in research centers on the values of how people view animals, humans, and their relationships. The animal-oriented philosophers argue that there is no clear-cut line between humans and animals from a moral point of view and that animals have moral rights from their nature, even as humans do (Guither, 1998, p.83).

            Animals play a central and essential role in research, testing and education for continued improvement not only for the health and welfare of humans but for animals as well. Therefore, humane care should be used for animals in testing and the use of animals in testing should only be promoted if it is for a meaningful cause.

Some organizations are finding alternatives for animals in research, but this is not a simple process. Alternatives research is a relatively new approach and may not give immediate or spectacular results. Supporters of alternatives suggest a step-by-step process in which the need for animals is first reduced and then possibly eliminated in many scientific areas. But to replace animals in various tests, valid alternatives to the use of animals must be found (Guither, 1998, p.80). As an alternative, products can also be tested on cultured human cells on the laboratory.

            Although many people believe that animal testing is immoral, there is no other choice for products to be tested. Without animal testing, many important medicines would not be available to humans. Animals used for research and testing are subject to various regulatory controls with the aims of minimizing animal pain and suffering. Although we cannot say that this holds true for every animal tested, there is no better alternative at the moment. Many humans would not be so thrilled about the idea of being guinea pigs with new products tested on them.

REFERENCES

Beckoff, M. & Meaney, C.A. (1998). Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal

Welfare. Greenwood Press.

Guither, H.D. (1998). Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical

Social Movement. Southern Illinois University Press.

Williams, S. (2003). Essay Discussing what Animal Testing is Used For

and the Issues it Raises. The Hutchinson Encyclopedia.


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