Biology and Behavior
Animal testing is not a problem in today’s society because it is beneficial to humans. It seems unethical to put animals through such pain and torture, but if we stopped it completely there would be a large amount of human lives lost. How could this be? The further advancements in medical and technological science is inevitable. Therefore, if the testing must be done to learn more about the brain and body, which species (animals or man) seems expendable for such testing. The real question is which species is more ethical to test on. For example, a rat is given an injection with a drug and watched regularly for the period of a month. At the end of the month the rat is injected with a lethal toxin and dissected for scientific reasons. The purpose of the experiment is to determine whether or not the regular use of the drug would have any type of an effect on the brain of the rat. In contrast there is a man age 23 that has consented to be used for the same experiment. It not only would be unethical but against the law to try an experiment of this nature on a man. The end result would be the death of a perfectly healthy human. Which circumstance now seems unethical? One could also take in to consideration that the human’s death could have an impact on his family as well as the people that knew him. Above all the question of whether or not animal testing is ethical or not, really boils down to the purpose of the testing and whether or not it is a legitimate cause.
Every man and woman has benefited from animal testing in one form or another. Most of what we know about the brain and body is a direct result of animal testing. Only in recent history have there been advancements in technology in both the fields of medicine, and science that have made it possible to see in side the human body. Unfortunately this still is not enough.
The testing must be done on a living organism. Depending on the type and purpose of the test, the organism (man or animal) must be observed carefully and monitored for changes in behavior, health, and in some cases life or death. There are unpredictable reactions that occur in the body of living organisms when an alienable substance enters the blood stream. That is why animal testing is necessary. For instance, a computer can not determine whether or not a certain prototype vaccine will have a beneficial or catastrophic result on a human. Since the testing is so important to the fields of science and medicine, and the inability to produce accurate testing on anything but a living organism, then it obvious why it must continue.
There has been so much learned due to animal testing that the consequences of using animals for experiments far out weighs the notion to stop using them. Vaccines, health problems, and theories of the brain works have all come about from animal testing. For example, a researcher named Jose Delgado implanted an electrode in a particular spot of the hypothalamus of a bull bred for bull fighting. The experiment returned the result that aggression can be turned on or off by stimulating certain areas of the hypothalamus. Also, the sensation of pleasure can be produced when the right place of the hypothalamus is stimulated (Wood & Wood,1999, p. 47-48). Knowledge such as this could only have come about through experiments with animals. The knowledge obtained can now be recorded and used for other purposes. On the other hand, what if the electrode were implanted on a human, and the human died as a result of the experiment. Which animal (man or bull) is a greater loss to the society? The humans unexpected death will be mourned by family and relatives for years to come.
On the other side there are those activists as well as average citizens that see animal testing as a wrong doing. They believe that there is no cause worthy enough to put the animals through such large amounts of cruelty. In fact there are large groups of people that spend their lives fighting the battle against experimental animal testing. They exercise their 1st right Amendment by doing everything within the law (and in many cases illegal actions) to provoke researchers and picket against experimenting on animals. Most of these people hold the belief that all life is sacred. No matter how small and insignificant a creature.
Animal testing is a major problem that should not be brushed aside. Each year 400 million animals die in laboratories (Tamino,1995). It is unethical as well as immoral. It is not written anywhere that man has the right to play God. Who told man it was alright to use animals as test dummies? The answer is no one. Man has taken the right to life away from animals which can not speak for themselves. They rarely inflict harm to us, yet mankind decides to use them for experiments. Experiments which these animals are used for, go wrong more often than right. Otherwise man would have no excuse for experimenting on our own kind. Unfortunately since the experiments do go wrong, researchers do not want to waste human lives, so they substitute animals in the place of man (without any kind of consent, if they could give consent) and begin watching and recording results.
Few people realize the sad reality of life as a biological research animal. For instance, how would people react if they themselves were locked in a room by some higher being, and constantly poked with needles and hooked up to funny machines. One might experience fear, anxiety, terror, and possibly a hundred or so other natural reactions to danger, if they were ripped out of there natural habitat, and locked away in a cage for the next 10 months. Furthermore, what happens to the animals if an experiment goes wrong? There are a numerous ways that their bodies can reject the testing. To illustrate, let us take the same rat from before. The researchers decided to double the amount of the prototype drug that they were previously administering to the rat. Within minutes after the shot, the researchers rush back to the cage due to a large shrieking noise. They arrive to see that the once healthy rat is shaking and convulsing vigorously on the floor of the cage. The rat stiffens and then all at once it is over. The researchers remove the animal and perform an autopsy on the corpse. They determine that the drug had caused the rat to have a seizure, and then go in to cardiac arrest. There was nothing the animal could have done to save itself. The researchers will just throw the dead rat into an incinerator and try again next week. To see how immoral this really is, let us contrast this to a man that has consented to the same experiment. After watching the body of a 23 year old man shake and convulse on the floor, the last thing left to do is throw his body in a burning fire, and go pick the next runner up for the experiment. Obviously, no matter how this is viewed it is murder.
Even though animal testing is said to be beneficial to humans, many times the animals are used for other purposes.
According to an online article posted by a company known as the Nature of Wellness, "Horrifying chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, possessed by an ever-increasing number of countries are tested on animals the same way a drug, detergent, or toothpaste is tested on animals. Conventional weapons of all sorts are also tested in vivisectionist laboratories, where animals are routinely used as surrogates for man in warlike situations" ("Animal Experimentation: No Lie Can Live Forever." 1996). With such a misuse of the terrible act of animal testing, just goes to show that something must be done. There is no way to guarantee the safety and proper testing of the animals in a way that only is beneficial to mankind. There will always be someone out there trying to scheme up a crazy invention or harmful agent, and the only thing that suffers is the animals (for now).
Tamino, Gianni. (1995). Biomedical Scientific Research and Animal Testing. The Italian Anti-Vivisection Scientific Committee. [Online], Available: .
The Nature of Wellness. (1996). Animal experimentation. [Online]. Available: .
Wood, S. & Wood E. (1999). Biology and Behavior. Needham Heights, MA:The World of Psychology.
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