Thesis: Is it morally acceptable to experiment on animals to develop procedures and medicines that benefit human beings?
Animal research has performed an important role in almost every medical progress of the last century for both animal and human health. From blood transfusions to antibiotics, organ transplantations to dialysis, from chemography to vaccines, joint replacements to or bypass surgery, virtually every present day protocol for treatment, prevention, control or cure of pain, suffering or disease is based on the knowledge derived from experiments carried out on animals (Smith, 50). In spite of some animals' rights movements condemning research on animals claiming that the results are not applicable to human health, researchers and physicians overwhelmingly confer that animal systems present irreplaceable and invaluable insights into the human systems owing to the fact that our systems convey huge similarity to that of animals. As noted by Gilbert (2003), "Animal research has saved as the agony of dreadful diseases".
Animals should be used in medical research for the number of reasons. To begin with, as a result of experiments done on animals many diseases that proved detrimental to human have either been treated or eliminated altogether. Immunizations against diphtheria, polio, mumps, hepatitis, rubella save countless lives as well as enabling the survival from major diseases thanks to the invention of new medical devices, new drugs and surgical procedures. Furthermore, animal experimentation has resulted in the discovery of many remarkable life-extending and life-saving treatments for dogs, farm animals, dogs, wildlife and more importantly the endangered species. New treatments for heart diseases, glaucoma, dysplasia and cancer are capable of saving extending or enhancing the life of the beloved pet. Exciting new prolific procedures are helping in the preservation and protection of threatened species. Wilfred (206) supports "Because of animal research many plagues have been wiped out… humans have been protected".
New drugs and cosmetics can be tested on animals for safety before being used by humans so as to alleviate the side effects. This could also be done as a precaution to protect the environment since harmful products can be very detrimental to both human and animal health if exposed to the environment without passing a safety test (Regan, 15).
Antithesis: Animals should not be used in medical research?
All animals including the non-human animals are "subjects of the life "and therefore, there should exist any isolation factor. Regardless of the benefits accruing from the exploitation of animals by humans, on a philosophical front, there is no justification for separating humans from non-human animals as beings of autonomy as opposed to influential value. Animals should be regarded as sentience beings and claims that all such beings have rights, meaning that animals being in that category have rights too and should not be used as instruments if this is to result in pain or any sort of suffering (Benner, 34). In addition to vegetarianism, veganism is a moral obligation and not just some, but all the experiments with animals are ethically impermissible.
Some animals as more psychologically superior than others and thus are more autonomous, intelligent, responsible and socially able to communicate than do humans. This means that if we perceive all humans as having rights then some animals will be stripped off theirs. Any level of torture an animal is subjected to is not ethical simply because it offends other humans but due to the fact that it offends the animals themselves. Regan (2004) asserts "there cannot be any justification for experimentation on animals".
Our behavior towards animals is not permissible so long as we guarantee kind and not cruel actions to them. A kind intention or the failure to be harsh is no guarantee of a right action. For instance, a racist may only be kind to people of his own race; the absence of kindness on the side of those who experiment with them doesn't imply on itself the moral uprightness of the actions.
In this regard we ought to count the interest of animals with the similar interest of humans and only undertake actions whose implications optimize the equilibrium of interest satisfaction as opposed to frustration. Animals are viewed as conscious creatures with a welfare that has its own significance in that it desires, believes, prefers things and therefore can either be frustrated or satisfied. All these create a huge difference in terms of the quality of life experienced (Regan, 19). In general, animals are experiencing subjects enjoying moral standing as well as inherent value for the same reasons as humans.
Those opposing the move argue that results obtained from animals are not applicable to humans as far as health is concerned. Physicians and researchers undoubtedly argue that the use of animals generates irreplaceable and invaluable results which give correct introspections into human systems due to the fact that there are outstanding similarities between our genetic and physiological systems. Despite the benefits accruing from such a practice, there are several ethical concerns linked to it. Animals too have rights and therefore it is morally wrong to inflict suffering on them; just because animals are less superior to humans doesn't imply that they should be used as test subjects (Christopher, 90). Animals should be allowed to live their natural lives as well as utilize their capacities and adaptations. The right to live a natural life is grounded upon what is vital for the animal's life and that they are also moral agents: they feel pain and pleasure, happiness and unhappiness thus inhumane treatments to them are ethically incorrect (Smith and Boyd, pg. 54).
Another right that should be preserved is that animals should not be subjected to fear and pain, but should be able to enjoy normal pleasures. These rights should be observed so as to not to interfere with their psychological and behavioral functions. In many cases, animals which have been used for experimental purposes manifest anomalies when taken back to their natural environments thus exhibiting the damages. These effects are sometimes due to disorientation of the animal's biological functions. These problems arise if the animal fails to adjust effectively to its natural environment outside the laboratory.
There is no scientific justification for animal tests since they are unreliable and inefficient and that there are better methods which can be used in its place. Take for instance the case of thalidomide, a drug that was developed for the treatment of leprosy. It was later found that it helped in relieving morning sickness in pregnant women, but it was the same drug that had passed the animal testing stages successfully hence getting approval across the UK. The drug in turn caused delivery of malformed babies meaning it wasn't safe even though the animal testing had suggested it was. This means that animal testing isn't incredible owing to the fact that they are different from humans. Virtual reality programs, small group case studies and simulators can be used in its place. Animal tests will not accurately depict the side effects of a drug or treatment on a human being since the two species is different.
There is also the issue of the ends to justify the means; the means of inflicting suffering on animals so as to advance human biological knowledge or to relieve human suffering is not justified. As Ricardo puts "we must observe our morals and consider all animals as having the right to life. Termination of the life of an animal for the benefit of humans cannot be ultimately justified".
Thus experimental procedures which cause animals any degree of pain or suffering should be halted. The scientific enquiry based on animals cannot be ascertained and in essence it is just a matter of curiosity. As a whole, animal research causes the violation of six values and norms: respect for animals, playing good citizenry, performing good science, responsibility for future generations, respect for lifestyle as well as people's religious orientation (Mellerlin, 79).
To begin with, the first category, the lack of respect is in the caging of animals, being fed on prescribed or prepared diets, being handled for experiments and then sacrificing their lives is a real violation of the biological species specific life. Inducing anxiety, pain or impairing an animal's psychological well being present abuses that deviate extensively from the norm of reverence of life. On the other hand, testing toxics on animals does not conform to good science practices (Smith and Boyd, pg. 63). Although not all the animals subjected to toxic testing suffer, a good number do since the objective of the tests is the induction of adverse effects on some of the animals (Christopher, 90).
To the animal lovers, being a good citizen means that you respect your neighbors as well as pets, be honest and tolerant and most importantly doing things which set good examples for children and the society. Using animals for tests does not give a good picture of the animal world and thus the children may implement this precedence and enrich the practice. Scientists who use animals for experiments are irresponsible towards future generations. In spite of the fact that animals are used in medical research so as to foster innovations and improvement of therapies against animal or human diseases, much wealth been wasted in the practice especially in cases where the results are disappointing. These resources could be preserved for future generations.
Conditions for conducting animal experiments are not always favorable. Scientists and physicians do not normally adhere to animal rights guidelines. This is due to the fact that animal protection bodies do not comply with the animals in the lab but instead offer human care, transportation and treatment for the animals while in the laboratory. This usually leaves the animals vulnerable to violation by scientists. The agencies do not provide ultimate protection for experimental animals. As far as religions are concerned, some of the animals used for medical research are entitled to religious affiliations by some groups; therefore the use of these animals implies the lack of respect for other people's Out of all fairness, painful experimentation on animals in the absence of anesthetic intervention should not be condoned. It is in our treatments of animals and attitudes towards them that we manifest our respect for animals. Is it ethical causing the death of a thousand or so dogs as a result of rabies inflicted on them in an attempt to discover a drug that benefits humans? At the same time, experiments with animals greatly interfere with the balance of nature in that lab animals are stripped from their natural habitats and thus altering the ecosystem. Kenny (2001) imagine the pain undergone by a lab animal, stranded in a cage.What happens to their generation?" This is worsened when the endangered species are used in medical research and subjected to stringent conditions and hence remote survival chances after the experiments. Our right to control nature doesn't mean that we destroy it at will. The suffering undergone by animals in medical research implies that it is prudent upon each and every one of us to do all that is necessary to non-human existence (Smith and Boyd, pg. 72). Pity for animals, usually dismissed as schmaltziness, becomes an authorization no rational person can evade. When will all the killing that requirement inflicts upon us be handled with sorrow?
There is no replacement for animal research at the moment since it dictates both human and animal health. Many dreadful infections arise every day and this call for new drugs and treatments to combat the same. It the best avenue possible that can help humans overcome these biological enemies (Mellerlin, 78). Also, the tests that are done on animals are always "safety tests" and not meant to harm the animals and coupled with the fact that the tests are meant to protect both human and animal life. In contrast to the argument that lab animals are mishandled, the researchers who carry out tests on animals are trained in animal welfare and thus harm the animals can only take place, otherwise the safety of lab animals is always guaranteed . Again, not all drugs cosmetics tested on animals are harmful; therefore it is not always guaranteed that harm will be inflicted on the animals as result of the safety tests. Nevertheless, it could be advisable to sacrifice the life of a single lab animal such as a cat and save the life of millions from a deadly cancer or any other disease by testing the vaccine of the cancer on the cat. Casualties are highly eliminated on human beings as a result of the tests on animals. In conclusion, there is no substitute for animal research currently since human beings will be more reluctant to volunteer as tests subjects. Owing to the encouraging results that research on animals have indicated on their importance, it would be hard inventing another effective method to successfully replace lab animals (Smith and Boyd, pg. 78).. Computer simulation programs exist which can be used to simulate the tests for new vaccines and drugs but cannot be efficient in that these results are normally "virtual" and do not always represent the feasible implementations as far as both human and animal health are concerned. Maybe a substitute will be found in the future but presently, animals have to used to save millions of lives