AGAINST ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION
Imagine having a headache and not having aspirin to take, or being diabetic and not being able to take certain types of insulin.
It seems impossible that these drugs could be unavailable to humans, but they would not be attainable had scientists not tested these drugs on non-animal subjects. Contrary to what many people believe, testing drugs on animals often give defective results. More than 205,000 new drugs are marketed worldwide every year, most undergo the most archaic and unreliable testing methods still in use: animal studies. Although animals may seem the like ideal specimens for testing new drugs, the experiments are untrustworthy and can cause unknown side effects.
Research on animals is deemed necessary to develop vaccines, treatments, and cures for diseases and to ensure that new products are safe for humans to use. “The development of immunization against such diseases as polio, diphtheria, mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis, and hepatitis all involved research on animals …” Scientists have found many drugs by means of animal experimentation. To some people, animals are viewed as better test subjects than anything else. Scientists can control many aspects in an animal’s life such as their diet, the temperature, lighting, environment, and more. Animals are biologically similar, but not identical to humans and can form some of the same health problems. When these health problems are injected into an animal it can have the same physical reactions as a human could.
Experimenting on animals, to some, is important if humans want to continue with improving our medical advances.
Although animals have helped form useful medicines for humans like anesthesia, they have also helped put dangerous drugs on the market. Practolol, a drug for heart disorders that passed animal test was pulled off the shelves when the drug caused blindness in people. Also, arsenic, which is toxic and causes cancer in humans, has not caused cancer in any animals that were tested.
“According to the General Accounting Office, more than half of the prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 1976 and 1985 caused serious side effects that later caused the drugs to be either relabeled or removed from the market. Drugs approved for children were twice as likely to have a serious post-approval risks as other medications”.
Furthermore, animal experimentation can keep effective drugs off of the market. It’s very possible that many drugs that have been tested on animals were found to be deadly or involved serious side effects but if tested on humans could have been found to successfully cure or treat a specific disease. Even though animals sometimes have the same reactions to a disease or drug as humans do, usually the animals experience much different effects. There is also no way for experimenters to notice psychological effects on the animals; and the animals can’t tell experimenters how they feel and what they are experiencing. Animals cannot communicate through words so their frightened voices go unheard.
Physical side effects can be different because humans and lab animals are different species. Animal testing fails to forecast the majority of human adverse drug reactions, which in turn causes almost 5% of all hospital admissions and occur in 10-20% of hospital in-patients. These inaccuracies in animal experimentation can be blamed for many deaths. For example, milrinone, a drug that raises cardiac output, increased survival of rats with artificially induced heart failure. But humans taking this drug who had severe chronic heart failure had a 30% increase in death. A rat is different than a pig, which is different than a human. Since every species has their own differences, it is hard to predict any side effects that will occur in all the animals.
Contrary to what scientists try to lead the human population to believe, animals are not ideal specimens to test new drugs or treatments on. Rats and mice are the animals that are used the most for experiments, yet they share very little of our DNA. Even using a chimpanzee, which shares 98% of our DNA make-up, won’t greatly influence the accuracies of the experiments enough to make them effective. For example, scientists have dosed over 100 chimpanzees with the human AIDS virus, but none have developed human AIDS, This proves that having almost the same genetic material does not mean the two animals are similar. Chimpanzees are different than humans in outward appearance, organs, and their brains. The only animal that will give us the most accurate results in experiments is a human. We have 100% of our DNA, can communicate with words, have similar body shapes, have the same internal organs, and most importantly, we react similarly to certain drugs.
Another reason why humans are better test subjects than animals is because it is impossible to re-create naturally occurring human diseases that arise from within, in a healthy animal or even in a healthy human. This is simply because once it is re-created it is artificial and no longer the original, natural disease. By re-creating a disease it is impossible to tell how the side effects have changed through reconstruction and the differences in the progression of the disease. When we re-create a disease it’s inevitable that vital information is lost to recreation alone, not even considering what is lost by the animal being injected with the human disease rather than another human.
Why humans do not want to have experiments done on them before they are administered on animals is no enigma. Many people would experience feelings of uneasiness because there is no way of knowing how the drug or treatment will affect a person. Animals most likely feel the same way except they cannot express how they feel in words that we can comprehend, so then we take advantage of them. “Speciesism is the hurting of others because they are members of another species”; this definition seems to correctly identify what many humans are willingly doing to animals. Although, according to an Associate Press survey “2/3 of Americans surveyed said an animal’s rights are just as important as humans”, nobody is willing to die in place of a rodent. Most humans view themselves as superior to a rat, mouse, pig, monkey, or any other lab animal. Even though, according to evolution, we grew from all of these animals. We are most closely related to a chimpanzee, yet we continue to test drugs on this relative.
“Any living organism, excluding plants and bacteria: most animals can move about independently and have specialized sense organs that enable them to react quickly to stimuli: animals do not have cell walls, nor do they make food by photosynthesis”. The previous definition verifies that humans are animals. The classification system even categorizes humans under the Animalia Kingdom. It is true that humans differ from other animals in outward appearance and intelligence, but from a biological perspective humans are classified as animals. Scientists cannot use intelligence alone to justify human experimentation on defenseless animals. We have other differences like our body size, our skin and hair, and our internal organs for example; but similarities are immense. Humans and animals eat many of the same foods, communicate with each other, experience emotions, reproduce, sleep, and there are even more similarities.
Animal experimentation is not the only way to make significant progress in the medical field. Some other methods that have proven to be “less time consuming, less costly, and provide more accurate results” like the following: epidemiological studies, clinical intervention trials, astute clinical observation aided by laboratory testing, human tissue and cell cultures, autopsy studies, endoscopic examination and biopsy, and imaging methods. An example of how well other methods work is “In vitro studies using human cells and serum allowed researchers to identify the AIDS virus and determine how it causes disease. Investigators also used in vitro studies to assess the efficacy and safety of new AIDS drugs such as AZT, 3TC, and protease inhibitors.” Scientists make progress in curing the AIDS virus when they use almost any other experimentation method other than animal experimentation.
In conclusion, animal experimentation does not solve medical problems and it does not help our country advance in the field of medicine. Contrary to what a majority of the human population believes, animals are not ideal specimens to find cures for diseases. An animal can experience different physical and psychological effects compared to what a human experiences. It is also impossible to re-create a naturally occurring disease, therefore many side-effects an animal may experiences could not occur because of the change in the disease. Experimenting drugs on animals can keep safe drugs off the market and keep dangerous drugs available for humans. Animal testing is unreliable, and humans should begin to not trust the information given about a drug according to an animal test. Also, humans are animals; we are closely related to them. It is unfair to put them through excruciating experiments just to know if humans can wear a new oil sun block. There are many other ways to get the same results as humans receive from animal experiments. These methods are viewed as more moral, practical, effective, and less expensive, why wouldn’t we use these methods? By using these methods, scientists were able to invent aspirin and certain types of insulin. Although animals may seem like the ideal specimen for experimenting with, these experiments are untrustworthy and can cause unknown side effects.