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Animal Experimentation Stopped Essay, Research Paper


Why is a practice responsible for so many billion innocent lives still in affect in America today despite its many negative aspects? Animal experimentation, formerly known by the Greek word vivisection, referred to the dissection of living animals for experimental purposes. Recently the term has been expanded to include all types of experimentation on living animal subjects. William Harvey started the practice of vivisection in the seventeenth century when he used animal subjects to make important discoveries pertaining to the circulation of the blood through the human body. Animal experimentation is now a world wide practice used by colleges, universities, hospitals, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, cosmetic and tobacco companies, car companies, NASA, the military, and countless other corporations. The British Anti-Vivisection Association estimated over one hundred million animals are used for scientific experimental purposes in the United States every year ( Animal Experimentation 1). Laboratories use animal models to model human conditions by producing ailments in the animals that mimic human problems. Rats and mice account for over half of the animals used in experiments, but apes, monkeys, dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits are also frequently used ( Animal Testing 7). Animal experimentation needs to be stopped immediately because it is unethical, inaccurate, and unnecessary.

It is unethical to use innocent living animals as test subjects for scientific experiments. Peter Wilson, a graduate from Cornell University, compares experimental laboratories to Nazi death camps because animals are defenseless against humans and as a result they are brutally tortured and killed daily (Koleff, Tamara 19). In the United States Constitution it is illegal to kill and to be subjected to cruel and unusual forms of punishment, but animal experimentation breaks both of these amendments and it is still considered legal. All living things should have the right to live free from suffering and torture. Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, says, An attitude of bias against animals is just like racism, sexism, or homophobia because it is a form of prejudice against a certain group for being different ( Animal Testing 4). Humans do not realize how similar they are to animals in many different ways. By encoding the DNA of certain primates scientists have found that their genetic make up is ninety eight point three percent identical to the DNA in humans. Also, animals have communication skills and surprisingly high levels of intelligence. One gorilla named Koko has a sign language vocabulary of over one thousand words and he scored average on a human intelligence test ( Personhood 6). Some primates have been found to be self-aware, express emotions, and form strong social and family bonds. How can people consider it morally right to torture and kill their closest relatives? The most unethical aspect of animal experimentation is the cruelty that animals experience in the research laboratories. Steve Chambers, president of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, explains how animals are not the property of humans by stating, The time has come to challenge the idea that animals are our possessions ( Personhood 4). Laboratory animals are frequently abused, isolated, injured, and kept in small, dirty cages. Alex Pacheco, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, observed researchers at the Institute for Behavioral Research during a study to determine if paralysis occurs after nerve damage to prove that re-growth of nerves is possible. The scientists severed nerves in monkeys from their spinal chord to one arm and tied up their good arm to see if they could regain use of the bad arm. The monkeys were restrained and given electric shock treatments and then they were later killed and observed. The monkeys were kept in rusty cages that were extremely small and smeared with their own feces and crawling with cockroaches. The monkeys suffered from extremely high stress and they chewed off their numbed arms until they were bloody and infected ( Is 3). Millions of animals die each year to determine the safety of cosmetics and household products. One test to determine product safety is the Draize Eye Irritancy Test uses albino rabbits. The rabbits are restrained and a foreign substance is dropped in their eyes so observations can be made about the amount of damage done to the eye. The rabbits are restrained and a foreign substance is dropped in their eyes so observations can be made about the amount of damage done to the eye. The rabbit s eyes become swollen, inflamed, bloody, and blindness usually occurs (Dickinson, Lynda 19-22). Another cruel test preformed on animals is the Acute Toxicity Test which determines how much of a substance will kill the animals. In this test poisons are injected into the animals bodies and observations are then recorded. The animals usually have convulsions, diarrhea, emaciation, skin eruptions, and bleeding from the eyes, nose, and mouth ( Product 1). The Draize tests and the Lethal Dose test are just two of the hundreds of inhumane test performed on animals each year. Gary Francione, a professor of animal rights says, We need to start taking animals seriously ( Personhood 5). Animals do not deserve to be treated like toys, they are God s creatures and they should be treated with respect.

Animal Experimentation should be abolished due to the inaccuracy of test results. Animals differ from humans anatomically, sexually, physiologically, genetically, psychologically, socially, biochemical, biomechanical, immunologically, and histological, so the data obtained from animal research can clearly not be applied to humans. The British Anti-Vivisection Association says, Animal research is medically and scientifically false since a naturally occurring disease cannot be re-created in a healthy animal because it would then no longer be the original, natural disease ( Animal Experimentation 1). Animals cannot get human diseases, so it is impossible to base humane medicine on animal research. Animals react differently to drugs, vaccines, and other chemicals than humans would, so test results will be misleading and counterproductive. The stress of being handled, confined, isolated, and tortured will also make test results inaccurate. The New York Times stated, America s health is collapsing because no cures are being discovered for diseases through veterinary medicine ( Most 1). The Medical Research Modernization Committee suggests, Medical advances have been delayed because of misleading information from animal models ( Historical 1). Many pesticides and other chemicals are polluting the environment, poisoning the food and water supply, depleting the ozone layer, and threatening human survival even though animal tests proved them safe. Also, billions of tax dollars are being given to researchers and scientists, so they can do research on animals, but no cures or preventions are being found ( Statement 1). Animal experiments can lead to illness and even death in humans by misleading researchers and failing to predict the negative effects of some drugs. The FDA is forced to pull thousands of drugs off the shelves each year because of serious health problems caused to humans although, based on animal tests, the drugs were proven to be safe. Animals react differently to drugs from humans and also from other animals. Guinea Pigs can eat strychnine, a deadly poison to humans, but penicillin will kill them although it saves the lives of millions of humans. Arsenic, another deadly poison to humans, can be ingested by sheep while aspirin is deadly if swallowed by cats ( Why 1). Animal research is far from being helpful in curing any human diseases.

Due to several alternative methods of research animal experimentation is unnecessary. Non-animal techniques are not only more effective, but they are also less expensive and faster than animal experimentation. One alternative to animal models is cell cultures obtained from biopsies, postmortems, placentas, and surgery waste. Cancer, Parkinson s disease, and AIDs are now better understood thanks to cell cultures. Cell cultures are more accurate than animal research because it uses human cells rather than animal cells, so the results relate specifically to humans. Molecular methods are another alternative to animal research. This method is used to analyze and identify medicines based on their interactions with DNA. Tests using microorganisms are used to indicate if chemicals will be harmful by manipulating bacteria. Computer models are yet another alternative to using live animal models. The affects of drugs on the human body can be predicted through computer-generated models. Other affective alternatives to animal research include studying an actual human being. Volunteers and patients can be used to research conditions like arthritis and epilepsy ( Alternatives 1-2). Alternatives can completely replace animal experimentation and find new cures and preventions for diseases as well as save millions of human and animal lives. Thomas Kuhn suggests alternatives as being a form of scientific revolution by saying, When the profession can no longer avoid anomalies that weaken the existing tradition of scientific practice then begin the series of investigations that lead to a new set of commitments, a new basis for scientific practice (Zurlo, Deborah 23).

Animal experimentation needs to be put to and end because it is unethical, inaccurate, and unnecessary. A health care system based on preventing diseases over fighting them would save more lives. Clinical research along with healthy medical practices and therapies would be genuine. With emphasis on prevention the use of petrochemical drugs could be greatly reduced. A little common sense would do a whole lot of good for all people and it would save them a great deal of money in the process. The only affective way to treat human diseases is to observe and treat humans suffering from those diseases. Animal experimentation is outdated and it needs to be completely left in the past. If vivisection stops scientists have to find safer and more effective methods of research making animals and humans both better off (Rohr, Janelle 72).

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