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Animal testing: it's flat out wrong and cruel to the animals involved?

Cam 1 / -  
Nov 9, 2009   #1
Hey all, this is my first time here and I could really use some help on the paper I'm writing. I have to write a 6-8 pg. paper on the pros of animal testing for my ethics class. The problem is, we're not really supposed to do any research because it's supposed to be about our argumentative skills and not about numbers and statistics. I have about two and a half pages down, but i've hit a wall. Any ideas, feedback, etc.. would be greatly appreciated.

Here's what I have so far:
When thinking about animal testing, the first thing that pops into most people's heads is that it's flat out wrong and cruel to the animals involved. This just isn't true. Animal testing is crucial to the health and well-being of humans and propels research in various scientific fields forward. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that i'm absolutely not against animals having rights and testing cosmetics on them is in fact morally wrong. I know they are living things that should be respected, but testing on them for scientific and medical purposes really does help our societies thrive.

First, I'll give everyone a bit of background information on animal testing. The animals in question are not animals that you find on the streets. These animals are bred specifically for the purposes of these tests. People assume that the scientists who test on these animals are cruel and treat them poorly, but this is not the case. To make sure that the animals are treated fairly, every organization that tests on them has an Institutional Review Board with an established set of ethical research standards that every test must pass through as well as making sure that anyone who works with the animals is certified to do so. Along with this, the FDA checks every testing lab once a year and if the labs don't pass inspection they are shut down. In order to pass inspection, the animals must be kept in cages with ample room to move around, as well as fed and watered daily and have their cages cleaned regularly.

If the animals were treated poorly, it could severely skewer the results of any tests run on them. In order to get accurate results on any tests, the animals need to be in good physical and mental shape. For example; if an animal was malnourished and in a poor living environment and ended up with a rash after a drug trial, the scientists wouldn't be able to tell if the rash was caused by the drug or by the environment in which they kept the animal. So not only is the safety and well-being of these animals implemented and enforced, but it is also in the best interest of the scientists to keep them in good condition.

Animal testing gives scientists a great way to test new drugs and vaccines they are creating to make sure they are safe before they can be considered for human testing. If we didn't test on animals first, thousands of people could potentially die trying new drugs to see if they work. While lives are still sometimes lost during human testing, testing on animals first gives scientists a decent idea of what the effects on people will be. Coupled with the thousands of lives saved because of the medications and vaccines themselves, animal testing saves and extends a lot of human lives and is well worth the lost lives of a few rats, pigs, and monkeys.

An example of all of the good that has come from animal testing is the rabies vaccine which we got from testing on rabbits. Originally, this was used to keep dogs safe from rabies and adapted for human use later on. Another example is getting insulin from testing on dogs which thousands of diabetics depend on to keep them alive every day. Testing has even helped with surgery; the first open heart transplant was done by transferring the heart of a pig into the body of a chimp and seeing how it would react. This opened the door for a new surgery that has extended the lives of countless people. Animal testing has given us everything from Tylenol to Suboxone to the new H1N1 vaccine currently available. Animal testing gets real results and does it as safely and efficiently as it can.

A lot of people against animal testing think that a better solution would be to do initial testing on inmates, the homeless, or people who would like to get paid for it. While a good idea in theory, performing these tests on inmates would go against the 8th amendment which protects against cruel and unusual punishments. As for homeless people and people who are willing to get paid for it, the companies who run the tests would essentially be preying on desperate people who are down on their luck, and risk their lives in an unnecessary way. Not to mention the various germs or infections these people might have picked up which would skew test results. Even just relying on volunteers to test these products wouldn't work, because not many people would be willing to test something that could end up killing them or leaving them with unexpected side-effects. Not only would there be a severe lack of test subjects, the only way they'd be able to get people to agree to this testing would be to lie to them about what they are signing up for which is inhumane and morally wrong.

I also have an idea for pointing out that eating meat kills more animals per person and helps less people per animal, but i'm not really sure where to go with it.

EF_Susan - / 2,365 12  
Nov 10, 2009   #2
Hmm, well this is the first thing that stands out to me while reading through; "is well worth the lost lives of a few rats, pigs, and monkeys.'' because then you go on to mention testing on rabbits and dogs. It made the first comment seem callous.

Even just relying on volunteers to...if you change the first two words to something else it would sound better.
This is a great essay so far, and that is a great point you make at the end about eating meat...have you ever seen how inhumanely chickens and cows bred for veal are treated?! Take that ball and run with it, you're doing great!

Good luck in school!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Nov 10, 2009   #3
According to absolutist moral philosophy, you might say it is never appropriate to hurt a weaker creature for one's own benefit. However, Utilitarian philosophy seks the greatest good for the greatest number of people, so one would have to weigh the harm against the benefit. Writing in terms of approaches to moral philosophy, like these, might strengthen your essay if you have time to read a little about the different kindf of moral philosophy.

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I'm absolutely not against animals having rights, and I believe that testing cosmetics on them is in fact morally wrong.

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