Animal Laboratory Testing
The topic for my paper today is about Animal rights in concern to laboratory testing and research done on everyday products that we use today. Animal testing has been a major issue in society now for a long time. The use of animals to test products such as make-up, hairspray, or even medications has grown nationwide concern. In my opinion the way animals are used today is wrong and unethical. Other believes that it is ok and beneficial to use animals in the way that they do in laboratories.
In one source, (!) I used it was found that a majority of protestors against animal testing were women. Galvin, College, and Herzog (1998) evaluated participants in the 1996 March for Animals in Washington, D. C. They found that 74% of the demonstrators were female. The Majority of other studies also indicated that females were more likely to oppose animal research in general and consumer product testing; this was so because women tend to be more passionate in terms of the use of animals in the testing of products. Since animal testing is a controversial issue, we would not expect an independence orientation to be related to intent to oppose animal testing because some individuals are predisposed to react to social influence by actively opposing the norm (Krech et al., 1962). They are fully aware of the prescribed societal norm, but intentionally choose to oppose the norm, often from strong convictions. These individuals are said to have an anti conformity orientation. Individuals who are willing to support an organization on a controversial issue are likely to be willing to go against societal norms for a cause in which they believe.
Source (2) “To cut or not to cut: that is the curricular question”, as said by Rian De Villiers in our second source. He wrote on the use of animal dissection in biology education. He also stated that the first cut is the deepest because the first cut is the cut that kills. I agree with what he says in this one, he makes a good point in questioning educators, and asking if they should be allowed to kill animals in order to teach kids about the anatomy of animals. This topic is a little more lenient for me because as much as I hate to see animals suffer and to be used as “learning tools”, I am for the betterment and education of our youth. I see the difference here because animals being used in labs at schools aren't nearly the same as animals being used in medical labs. I mean when the students receive the animal it is already dead, I mean it had to die somewhere yes, but I guess I just need to learn more about how the animal came to be in the student labs before I form a full opinion. I see his point in this article though in regards to schools using animals to further education. He also states in the article that there could be alternative methods to teaching that the education system could use like models or more in depth text or pictures. I have only taken one class in high school and college thus far that has required me to dissect any kind of animal and that was a frog, and I can see the inhumane ways that are used, but on another level I can look at it from a non inhumane way. I thought it was a great learning experience and I grew wiser because of the realism of it and the fact that seeing the inner workings of an actual animal was extremely beneficial in my education.
The next source (3) that I reviewed was about Animal Rights activists and how they are like military groups that run in the US and Europe. (3) It talks about how extremists will go to great links, legal or illegal to stop the cruelty of animals and the use of testing products on defenseless animals. States that European police forces have over the years detained a number of activists for illegal incidents. Activity like targeting laboratories and scientists who are not indirectly involved in these testing's. A lot of these activists even go as far as to attack defenseless people who just work as janitors in these buildings. It states that the fierceness of US animal rights lags behind about five years compared to British activists. Police officer, John Lewis, a deputy assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who worked in counterterrorism, said the main activity that was happening in the US was threatening phone calls, vandalism and protests (demonstrations) in front of offices that had animal testing going on. But this still pails in comparison to the activist activity that was going on over seas; that is why it was stated earlier that the European activists were far ahead of the United States when it came to severity of how they deal with laboratories that use animals for testing. In my opinion on the activists and how they work, I think it's appalling.
I believe that there are more peaceful ways to get your point across rather than vandalism or threatening phone calls. I've even heard of animal rights activists spray painting furs and attacking people who are not even directly involved in animal cruelty and lab testing's. I think that they go to far sometimes. I would definitely fight for the rights of animals, but would have some digression when doing so. There is no reason to use force or to use violence to solve any problem. Animal should have their rights no doubt about it, but no one should take away the rights of human beings either.
The next topic that I came across is from the other side of the tracks and discusses the good of animal rights and was written by a person who was not opposed to animal research. This article speaks out for those who are against it. States that too many are scared to state there opinions for fear of attacks and backlash. A lot of researchers and people, who work for researchers are the victims of attacks, like newspaper agents, tractor-fuel suppliers, and mailmen.(4) The extremists have gone to a new level and will attack most anyone who is for animal testing. This article states that without animal testing, there would be no new drugs for new hard to treat diseases. It is hard even for buildings to be constructed for anything from primate testing or even just drug testing facilities because construction companies don't want to take the risk of their workers being hurt by the activists who target the workers doing the building of these businesses. You know in my opinion I think that (and the funny thing is, my opinion on animal testing is starting to change slightly) is that maybe animal research is ok in terms of testing new medicines to cure disease and to create more medication for the ill, but its not right to test products like cosmetics or hairsprays or other things that go on the market that people use animals to test on. It might not be so bad as long as done in a humane way to test products for the sake of creating cures and medicine.
To continue on with the paper and this topic I'm starting to find out that both sides, the ones for animal testing and the ones against animal testing both have arguments that are equally compelling. On one side you got testing for medical reasons to treat disease and to help cure ailments, which is a good thing in my opinion and on the other end of it you have the cruelty factor. The way they go about protesting though and the way they point fingers and attack those that are innocent makes you turn your head to their point, so it's hard to give a good biased opinion on whose side to go with. (5) This source that I read a few times talks mainly about the alternatives to animal testing. We can and have found many alternatives to testing on animals. Such as using life like models to learn more about the inner workings of animals or computer technology instead of animals to test medication and or products. Other methods discussed, one in particular named in this article is called “quality control of vaccines”, and this states that the experiments used would be limited to weight control, immunization, and potency tests. These tests are shown to have little health or harmful results to the animals, mainly these tests are done on smaller animals like mice and rats. I think alternatives to testing on animals are a good way to go. There are too many types of experiments that are cruel and inhuman, and I for one would be more for animal testing if it wasn't done in such a cruel and harmful way. We should look more towards the alternatives and helping to get more animals out of the labs and into a safer environment. In addition to these alternatives a lot of larger animals are used as organ donors. This small number of animals is still required to help aid in viral vaccine production. The use of these animals has been reduced greatly in the last decade due to animal welfare, economic, safety and scientific considerations. The use of alternative ways to test products should be used and would be a great step forward in helping aid the preservation of animals and would give them the rights they so deserve so they wouldn't have to spend their lives in cages and hooked up to machines in order to find a cure for something. I agree that we should seek out more alternative methods to the cruel and inhumane ways we do things today. (6)
One of the most popular animals used in today's testing is primates (monkeys, apes, baboons.) Primate study became popular in the 1960's. Primates are mainly used because of the similarities they have to human beings. There are currently one hundred such studies in progress at one time world-wide. (7) Oddly enough though, the people who are doing these tests (primatologists) are strangely quite about the fate of the primates that they are using in their experiments. Every year the national primatological society holds meetings with congress, which hypocritically enough in one room you got a field worker explaining, with photographs, the ecology and behavior of a tropical monkey at home in the rainforest, but elsewhere in the building, possibly next door, a lab worker is implanting electrodes into the brain of a monkey, an animal held immobile in a restraint chair, it being paralyzed by fear.
It's a hypocritical thing that a lot of these workers will say one thing and show a peaceful time and a humane approach to animal testing when in fact they are doing things like described above. These are the types of experiments that need to be outlawed and banned. In ancient Greece, primates were placed third in the order of things, after gods and humanity. The scientists and philosophers of ancient Greece believed in the doctrine of metempsychosis, by which at death the spirit of a person moved on to another being. Sacrifice of primates was a Greek tradition. It was appropriate for contact with the gods. Aristotle argued that humanity was placed above primate because humans were capable of rational thought, where as, primates were not. This is possibly a reason why we use animals in our tests as opposed to human beings. It's passed down from ancient Greece that animals are lesser human and should not be treated as equally as human beings are. I disagree and think that all living things should be treated as equals.
Over fifty million animals are used in biomedical research and safety tests every year, of which nearly twelve million are used in the European Union. A large majority of the animals, about fifty five percent, were mice; twenty seven percent were rats with birds and fish being the next highest. The number of animals used got up to about a little over five million by the early 1970's, topping off today at about 3 million animals world wide that are being used in laboratory experiments. The use of these animals on such a large scale is both ethically and immorally undesirable. There is legislation controlling their use, and suffering is minimized as much as they possibly can. But there is no moral justification of using anymore animals than needed to achieve research objectives.
The use of alternative testing needs to be done and animals should be replaced by alternatives such as tissue culture, lower organisms or computer simulations. (8) The number of animals stated above is too much and needs to be lowered dramatically. I mean, in thirty years we have only dropped the number of animals being used by two million and we are still at three million animals being used world-wide for these experiments. There are alternative methods out there and I just don't understand why this number hasn't dropped more than it has. We are a society that is technologically proven that we can accomplish anything, and I don't get why we still need to use animals to test products, we have virtual reality, computer technology and the resources to get more animals out of the labs, but we still put them in there and use them for terrible experiments. I just don't understand it fully yet.
Man's rule over nature is now accepted world-wide. We all are aware of this; our dominance over animals in society is evident. Moral philosophies and public opinion agree that it is morally impermissible to be cruel to animals. So why do we still do it, we test products that are useless and unnecessary on defenseless animals. Things like hair-spray, cosmetics, make-up and anything and everything else that is not a necessity. I mean how many animals have to die in order for you to look pretty or to have your hair set in a certain place. There are other methods for these products to be tested. I mean we test other products that don't require us to use animals, like new foods and drinks. Why aren't we looking into more methods that we use in those areas to transfer over to the testing on other things that do cause cruelty and pain and suffering to animals? (9) In this source it talks about the treatment of animals not only in labs but in society in general. John Passmore is quoted as saying “controversy no doubt remain, but they now turn around the question what is to count as “making animals suffer unnecessarily” whether for example, vivisection or fox-hunting is morally justifiable.” He makes a good point in saying that why is it ok to do one thing to hurt an animal and it is wrong (lab testing), but we can do other things such as trophy hunting, and it is deemed morally right. I have learned in this life that we live a lot of things by a double standard. One thing is right, but the same thing done different is wrong. It's the same in any way or form you look at it. Maybe we need to take a step back and look at the way things are again, because we seemed to have a backwards way of looking at things, and John Passmore makes a good point on pointing out what is right in one form, but what is wrong in another form even though it's the same thing.
The next thing that I found of interest to talk about is vivisection. (10) Vivisection is defined as the practice of subjecting living animals to cutting operations, esp. in order to advance physiological and pathological knowledge. This is one of the most inhumane methods and a lot of the reason for all the controversary that surrounds animal testing on animals. The process is said to be barbaric and very inhumane. I agree with this statement and I don't see a use for it. Maybe the use for it is after thinking about it is it's easier to see the effects of something if the object is still alive and the insides are still alive. Either way this method is inhumane and should be outlawed. To quote David Thomas, legal advisor to the British Union for the abolition to Vivisection, he states “This adds insult to a very considerable injury experienced by lab animals and the reliability of animal experiments are what needs to be addressed” In my research I found that David Thomas is one of the top advocates for people against animal research and in this statement he is making is a great shot at what we should be trying to prevent and that is the immoral treatment of animals in laboratories. Because have we not already injured them enough with the way we treat them. We have also injured them not only physically but mentally as a species. He states that we have taken for granted these animals and they are nothing more to us than just lab puppets that we use for our own benefit. It is nice to see that this issue is debated and evenly I might add by both sides. The suffering of laboratory animals what truly needs to be brought up more in these debates, but unless more effort and finance is put forth towards the development of alternative methods, nothing will be solved and the animals will continue to suffer.
Many countries it seems deal with this issue in their own ways and it seems in my reading and research that the UK is suffering through this problem the same if not worse than the US, many reports on violent acts done by extremists and the different kinds of methods that are used in the war against animal cruelty. (12) This source discusses the need for middle grounds were people aren't threatened or people are getting hurt over this issue. The use of every tactic, especially illegal and violent ones needs to be put to a halt and maybe it's the animal protestors that are the reason why there hasn't been much middle ground reached.
This argument is so messed up because both sides have completely opposite ways of thinking. You got one side who believes that it should be ok because of the breakthroughs we have reached in medicine threw the use of animal testing. On the other side you got the activists who don't want to see the other side and the help that it brings because they can't fathom a world were we use animals to test products that are used for animals and they just see it as torment and torture. We need to get together and come up with ideas that work for both sides, a happy medium if you will or as the article says, a middle ground. The sad part is most of us would not tolerate a world were animals had no rights and could be exploited for whatever the cause. I am personally at an ends, and don't know which side to side with, cause I see such good points from both sides. But my decision is starting to become a little clearer. The debate is strong and it doesn't seem like either side wants to budge one way or the other. Animals being treated cruelly is a travesty, but sometimes maybe it needs to be done.
In Conclusion; my views on animal testing and the methods and reasons behind it are a bit swayed. I went into this paper totally against animal testing in every way shape or form. I come out of this paper with a different perspective all together. I still feel that animal testing is wrong in the sense of animals being tested for products like cosmetics, hairsprays, certain foods and other products that are deemed useless in society. I on the other hand feel that animal testing is ok when it comes to testing for the betterment of society in terms of medicine. Why not use animals to test for medicines; they are the closest thing to us that we have out there. I mean if we can find a cure for cancer or even aids or any other life threatening disease by using animals to test them on before us why not? I would love nothing more than to hear on the news that a new cure for one or all of the terminal diseases has been found. In this sense it saves lives.
I don't agree with the way the activist are fighting their cause, and I don't agree with the way scientist and the government is doing nothing to really stop the use of animals in laboratories. Like I stated earlier in the paper, there is and will not be a happy medium in this debate. Both sides will never agree and this war will probably go on for a thousand more years. One thing I am very strongly against though is vivisection (use of live animals being cut open to experiment). That is just cruel and inhumane and that is definitely were a lot of the debate should be aimed. Vivisection and product testing is were I stand against animal testing, but like I said, testing for vaccines or cures for ailments I am for. I think I'm allowed to be biased. But I leave you with a quote that I'm sorry I can't remember who said it, but its always stuck by me since I started researching this topic and it pretty much sums up how I and probably a lot of us feel when we really think about animal testing, the quote states: “If you have a young child and he/she is your world, none of us would not hesitate to use a drug tested on animals if it would save his life - I know how hypocritical that is, but if you love him /her more than anything else on this planet, you would do what it takes to save his/her life.”
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