Animal Testing…Right or Wrong?
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 than someone I loved. As the British Association for the advancement of science stated, diseases will be cured. If animal testing can cure diseases such as AIDS, and many forms of terminal caner I am willing to sacrifice the animals so that humans may survive.
Animal activists who go into horrendous details about the various tests that scientists perform often jade the issue of animal testing. I have heard about the rabbit and the eye drop test time and time again. The bunny’s eyes were forced open and drops were dropped in for an extended period of time. Of course I felt bad for that poor fluffy rabbit, who wouldn’t? But, then I rethought the issue and said to myself, would I rather have the bunny suffer or would I rather go blind? Personally, I would have the bunny suffer. Does this make me some kind of monster? Dome may say yes, but maybe this is a question that we should all ask ourselves. It is easy to say that we should all ask ourselves. It is easy to ay that animal testing is wrong, but when faced with a question of personal suffering and maybe death, the issue of animal testing is no longer cut and dry.
When I first sat down to do research on Animal testing, I was looking at an Animal rights web page. The page listed many gruesome experiments that were performed. The purpose of posting these detailed experiments was to convince the reader that all animal testing is wrong and that it should be abolished. For a minute I questioned my position. But, as I read down the page I realized that these tests were ones that were carried out by cosmetic companies. This is not acceptable to me. I feel that it is fine to test on animals if it might one day save my life or someone that I know. However, I do not think that animals should suffer because someone wants to look ten years younger. I feel that if animal testing was limited to medicinal purposes than people would not object to it as much as they do.
In closing, I feel that animal testing should remain legal. Animal testing makes it possible for scientists to find cures and vaccines for diseases much more efficiently. When I pondered the issue of animal testing, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Would I rather have some rats suffer and maybe die, or would I like to watch a loved one die a slow death?” The answer to this question was easy for me. How about you?
Aldhous, Peter. “Let the People Speak.” May 22, 1999. February 7, 2000 www.newscientist.com.
Blakemore, Colin. “Here I Stand.” February 27, 1999. February 7, 2000 www.newscientist.com
Hampson, Judith. “New Scientist Planet Science: The Secret World of Animal experiments. February 6, 2000.
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