Animal testing is a controversial topic, particularly amongst animal rights activists. Typically, it is used to test pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other products that may be used on or by humans. Scientists tend to use animal testing when there is a possibility that the substances used in the materials could cause harm to the person using them.
With that being said, there are a number of reasons why animal testing should be banned. Of these, the most often cited is the fact that animal testing doesn’t conclusively prove that a substance, when used by or on a human, will be either safe or dangerous. Experts estimate that more than ninety percent of the tests that prove safe on animals end up actually being dangerous when applied to people.
While no sane person would disagree that it’s better to test a chemical with unknown effects on a person instead of an animal, animal testing is rarely performed with the comfort of the test subjects in mind. For instance, many small rodents used for tests are forced to live in crammed conditions, typically in spaces no larger than a shoebox. Larger animals are often contained to small cages with no opportunity to stretch their legs or run free, regardless of the actual experiments being formed.
Additionally, animals are frequently tested for reasons that aren’t related to the safety of human beings. For instance, many experiments revolving around biochemistry involve the administration of pain simply to see what changes take place in the brain. These animals are rarely offered any form of pain relief, and in some cases, may be left to suffer until they eventually die.
There is little enforceable regulation when it comes to animal testing. There are certainly laws and ethical guidelines, but they’re generally broad enough that it’s easy for those performing the experiments to circumvent them. While an experiment testing for the biochemical reactions induced as a result of pain may produce valid, applicable data, there is nothing to prevent an experimenter from arbitrary cruelty.
Any experiments performed on rodents, reptiles, birds, or fish are not required to be reported on through the Animal Welfare Act. This means that it’s even more likely for these experiments to involve arbitrary and unnecessary cruelty. Large mammals are protected by this act, but as stated above, the nature of the experiment doesn’t always result in any form of pain relief.
Furthermore, many of the animals used for lab testing are dogs and cats – the same animals humans keep as pets and, eventually, bond with as family members. Animal testing should be banned if for no other reason than the fact that few of us would volunteer our cats, dogs, or other pets as lab subjects. When considering whether or not one is in favor of, or against animal testing, they should consider whether or not they would allow their own pets to be experimented on in the same ways.
Finally, it’s been shown that there are effective means of testing the safety of products for human use or consumption without using animals. They are often more expensive and require lengthier observations, though, so corporations avoid them to maintain a higher margin of profit. It would be difficult for anyone possessing empathy to justify animal testing simply as a means of maintaining corporate profits.