Testing on Animals
Pets are not just mere animals; they are living, breathing creatures -just like you and me- and better yet, they are a part of the family. Personally, I have a cat that I love. While she cannot speak to me, she is still an intelligent being, a dear friend and able to experience emotions. She can be mad, happy, irritated, or excited.
With these common experiences you’d believe that she and other animals would be treated with basic rights at the very least, though many test subject animals are not given this. Imagine a terrified animal, stuck away in a dark cage. Not only are they emotionally disturbed but also denied simple necessities, such as an appropriate sized shelter, food, and access to clean water. They are living unnaturally in constant misery; unable to express natural behaviors and completely helpless. These creatures are suffering so that we don’t get a rash from our lotion, our shampoo doesn’t burn too much when it gets in our eyes and our medications don’t cause drastic side effects.
On a living body system important things can be tested like side effects and toxicity, amongst other things. Due to ethical considerations, animals are used as test subjects rather than humans, as human volunteers shouldn’t be put in unnecessary danger; the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki states that human trials should always be preceded by tests on animals. Since animals have similar body structures they make excellent test subjects. They bear similar organs and face similar consequences when denied nourishment. Animal testing has also brought about an extensive amount of life-saving cures and treatments. According to California Biomedical Research Association every medical breakthrough in the past hundred years has come from testing on animals.
To some there is seemingly no other way to produce adequate test results than from a living body system or rather, an animal. While this may seem valid, it is actually true that over one hundred preventative stroke drugs and eighty-five HIV vaccines were effective on animals though proceeded to fail on humans (Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH). These animals are being tested on for unreliable results. There are other methods of testing in existence that can readily replace animal trials. Human cell cultures provide results that are actually from the human body, computer models can test toxicity of products without invasive testing on animals and artificial skin reacts just like a human’s; with no emotional scarring in the process.
Animals are also being sacrificed for poor research, in 2009 it was shown in a US and UK peer-reviewed study that eighty-seven percent of students failed to properly execute tests on animals. An endless amount of animals are currently being tested on. Take for instance the Draize test –where a product is applied to the skin or clamped-open eyes of a conscious, restrained animal– that is causing blindness for our sake of beauty products. During other experiments the test subjects are infected with diseases, caused brain damage, maimed, put under constant amounts of stress and withheld food. It is cruel and inhumane.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in 2010 that over ninety-seven thousand animals experienced pain during experiments like these and were not given anesthesia for relief. These animals never volunteered as humans would have had the chance to, though they are suffering just as we would. So, why can’t we refrain from testing on them also? To think of my cat, who is like a family member, in such conditions is unfathomable. No one should have to be forced into procedures and have a daily existence of only concrete and bars. These poor, defenseless animals should not be sacrificed for untrustworthy results. It is wrong to offer them as a tribute for our vanity.
“The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?” this was written by Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher in the 1700s, and depicts how animals should not be discriminated against due to their lack of cognitive ability and moral judgment. A discrimination following those regiments would be similar to discriminating against a human who is mentally impaired. Every creature deserves respect, though not all are able to demand it. So, please take a moment to consider these animals and check the beauty products in your shopping cart; making sure they read “not tested on animals”. Works Cited “CBRA Fact Sheet: Why Are Animals Necessary in Biomedical Research.
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