What is Animal Testing?

Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, is the use of nonhuman animals in experiments. The vast majority of animals are killed after being used. The subject of animal testing is clearly an emotional one; some people say that testing on animals is important and necessary, whilst others say that it is cruel. Supporters of the use of animals in experiments, such as the British Royal Society, argue that virtually every medical achievement in the 20th century relied on the use of animals in some way. Indeed, new medicines and drugs have been tested on animals before being used on humans. However, a number of scientists, animal welfare, and animal rights organizations²such as PETA and BUAV²question the legitimacy of it, arguing that it is cruel, poor scientific practice, which is poorly regulated. They also argue that tests are often performed on animals for cosmetics and beauty products.

The Arguments For and Against Animal Testing: For:

Every day, thousands of people are saved from painful diseases and death by powerful medical drugs and treatments. This incredible gift of medicine would not be possible without animal testing. Some argue that animal testing is inhumane and cruel. However, it would be much more inhumane to test new drugs on children or adults. Testing on animals is necessary because we simply do not have alternative methods of testing. Until we have a better system, we must use animal testing. People that complain about animal testing cruelty are hypocritical. For example, many of the tests certainly seem painful, but the great majority of people on this planet eat meat or wear leather without any guilt. Where is their sympathy for animals? Animals clearly do not feel the same way as humans, and scientists are careful to minimize stress in the animals, since this would damage their research. Scientists who perform testing try to make sure that animals who are used for testing new products have the minimum of suffering.

The Arguments For and Against Animal Testing: Against:

There are other, more successful alternatives to animal testing, which include test tube studies on human tissue cultures, statistics and computer models. The stress that animals endure in labs can affect experiments, making the results meaningless. Animals are still used to test items like cleaning products, or cosmetics and beauty products, which benefit mankind less than medicines or surgery. Animals have as much right to life as human beings. Why should human beings be more important than animals? Death through research is unnecessary, and is morally no different from murder! Strict controls have not prevented researchers from abusing animals. Some animals endure great discomfort and pain. When locked up in cages animals suffer tremendous stress. Can we know they don't feel pain?

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