Free example persuasive essay on Animal Experimentation:
Throughout history, animal experimentation has played an important role in leading to new discoveries and human benefit. However, what many people tend to forget are the great numbers of animal subjects that have suffered serious harm during the process of experimentation. Many people are believed to be ignorant or misunderstand the nature of the lives that animals actually live, and are unable to understand the actual laboratory procedures and techniques. Other than the philosophical questions that arise, ethical (moral) questions are the main reason why many animal right activists want it banned in every country. Activists feel that to this day, there should be no good reason why any living thing should be subjected to this cruel punishment and unwanted torture just for serving another being’s needs.
Although animal experimentation has been around for centuries, the ethical revival of realization on the moral status of animals began in the 1970’s. This problem was a few among many that had been quietly hidden for years until the 1970’s.
Such movements like gaining rights for the oppressed, expressions of antiwar opinions in the U.S.A, and the women’s liberation movement, accompanied the movement for the ending animal experimentation. The animal rights movement has grown more and more complicated through its use of strategy and has successfully brought the issue of laboratory research to the eyes of the public. All forms of media, magazines, radio, television, newspapers, have increased their exposure of animal right protests over the last several years while giving room for groups to produce their own publications. In these publications, activists constantly make the analogy between the work of abolitionists before the emancipation and the efforts of animal right activists. This analogy of racism and “speciesism” was brought about by a philosopher named Richard Ryder in 1985 and brings up the issue of research with animal subjects to be emotionally unpredictable for many people. (Sperling Susan – Applied Ethics in Animal Research Introduction pgs 4-6)
One of the biggest problems and the main reason why animal experimentation should be banned is the large percentage of birth defects that occur. The difference is that humans may also a longer period of fetal development and be more sensitive to birth defects agents than other species. One example of another problem with animal experimentation are that animals can be given nicotine directly as opposed to being exposed to it as a human would for years. Another would be that stress caused by animal handling, whether it be because of lack food or water, may have adverse effects on pregnancy or its ability to mate with the opposite sex. Also these tests are too insensitive and tend to disregard learning or behavioral problems. Our plain existence can influence the behavior of animals and disturb activities such as feeding, care- giving, and mating conduct. (Cognitive and deep ethnology and the great ape project- page 82-86)
There have even been laws that have been recently erected to protect the existence and safety of these animal “victims”. One law known as Kanjorski’s Law states that any substance (that is tested on an animal) that can harm a fetal embryo in development, can call the validity of the tests into question. Several factors can determine the effects on the results based on the different kind of species that are used during experimentation. The genetic difference between species can affect its ability to defend itself or a difference in the placenta may also affect the animal tests. (Birth Defect Research-Why Animal Experiments Are Not the Answer)
In 1986, a German law was passed and was known as the Animal Protection Act. This act forbade experimentation of tobacco products, washing powders, cosmetics, and the testing of weapons on animals. Soon after this law was passed in Germany, many countries started to adopt the law along with new laws such as the ban on LD50 test and the Draize eye irritancy test. Ld50 is a lethal dose that painfully kills nearly 50 percent of the animals that it is injected into, and the Draize test which can cause blindness in rabbits. Places such as the UK define each limit as to having a limit that should not be succeeded, and if done so would be a criminal offense. Every decade, animal experimentation could be looked at in a different light and activists will always be there to defend animal rights. (Orleans, Barbara F. Ethical Themes Governing Animal Experiments pg 140-142)
From the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, teens from eleven to seventeen tried to impress judges of science- fair competitions with cruel live animal experiments. This is just one example of how animal experimentation exists everywhere when supervision is missing. It is also about how laws are not enforced to stop such heinous acts of abuse. The usual projects that the students did were, starving animals to death, blinding the animals, mammalian surgery, and the injection of lethal substances. Although, improvements have been made to convince schools to restrict animal testing.
Federal laws do not exist. Thus there are no provisions in this area that ban dissection or mistreatment, and the National Association of Biology Teachers are not responsible. However, the amendment made in 1985 to the Animal Welfare Act required a group committee to review how the uses of animals were to be used in the some of the college courses at some but not all.
Despite the fact that rats, mice and birds are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, activist reform groups have just started their mission and are nowhere near the end. (Orleans, Barbara F. Ethnical Themes Governing Animal Experiments) We should make every effort to study separate animals and to learn more about their abilities to feel their torture, psychologically and physically to understand their true feelings. Hopefully in the future, we will no longer have to depend on animals to give us results on safe products. We could also be the ones chained up and experimented on by a higher being in the near future.
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Using animals in research and to test the safety of products has been a topic of heated debate for decades. According to data collected by F. Barbara Orlans for her book, In the Name of Science: Issues in Responsible Animal Experimentation, sixty percent of all animals used in testing are used in biomedical research and product-safety testing (62). People have different feelings for animals; many look upon animals as companions while others view animals as a means for advancing medical techniques or furthering experimental research. However individuals perceive animals, the fact remains that animals are being exploited by research facilities and cosmetics companies all across the country and all around the world. Although humans often benefit from successful animal research, the pain, the suffering, and the deaths of animals are not worth the possible human benefits. Therefore, animals should not be used in research or to test the safety of products.
First, animals' rights are violated when they are used in research. Tom Regan, a philosophy professor at North Carolina State University, states: "Animals have a basic moral right to respectful treatment. . . .This inherent value is not respected when animals are reduced to being mere tools in a scientific experiment" (qtd. in Orlans 26). Animals and people are alike in many ways; they both feel, think, behave, and experience pain. Thus, animals should be treated with the same respect as humans. Yet animals' rights are violated when they are used in research because they are not given a choice. Animals are subjected to tests that are often painful or cause permanent damage or death, and they are never given the option of not participating in the experiment. Regan further says, for example, that "animal [experimentation] is morally wrong no matter how much humans may benefit because the animal's basic right has been infringed. Risks are not morally transferable to those who do not choose to take them" (qtd. in Orlans 26). Animals do not willingly sacrifice themselves for the advancement of human welfare and new technology. Their decisions are made for them because they cannot vocalize their own preferences and choices. When humans decide the fate of animals in research environments, the animals' rights are taken away without any thought of their well-being or the quality of their lives. Therefore, animal experimentation should be stopped because it violates the rights of animals.
Next, the pain and suffering that experimental animals are subject to is not worth any possible benefits to humans. "The American Veterinary Medial Association defines animal pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience perceived as arising from a specific region of the body and associated with actual or potential tissue damage" (Orlans 129). Animals feel pain in many of the same ways that humans do; in fact, their reactions to pain are virtually identical (both humans and animals scream, for example). When animals are used for product toxicity testing or laboratory research, they are subjected to painful and frequently deadly experiments. Two of the most commonly used toxicity tests are the Draize test and the LD50 test, both ofwhich are infamous for the intense pain and suffering they inflect upon experimental animals. In the Draize test the substance or product being tested is placed in the eyes of an animal (generally a rabbit is used for this test); then the animal is monitored for damage to the cornea and other tissues in and near the eye. This test is intensely painful for the animal, and blindness, scarring, and death are generally the end results. The Draize test has been criticized for being unreliable and a needless waste of animal life. The LD50 test is used to test the dosage of a substance that is necessary to cause death in fifty percent of the animal subjects within a certain amount of time. To perform this test, the researchers hook the animals up to tubes that pump huge amounts of the test product into their stomachs until they die. This test is extremely painful to the animals because death can take days or even weeks. According to Orlans, the animals suffer from "vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis, convulsion, and internal bleeding. Since death is the required endpoint, dying animals are not put out of their misery by euthanasia" (154). In his article entitled "Time to Reform Toxic Tests," Michael Balls, a professor of medial cell biology at the University of Nottingham and chairman of the trustees of FRAME (the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments), states that the LD50 test is "scientifically unjustifiable. The precision it purports to provide is an illusion because of uncontrollable biological variables" (31). The use of the Draize test and the LD50 test to examine product toxicity has decreased over the past few years, but these tests have not been eliminated completely. Thus, because animals are subjected to agonizing pain, suffering and death when they are used in laboratory and cosmetics testing, animal research must be stopped to prevent more waste of animal life.
Finally, the testing of products on animals is completely unnecessary because viable alternatives are available. Many cosmetic companies, for example, have sought better ways to test their products without the use of animal subjects. In Against Animal Testing, a pamphlet published by The Body Shop, a well-known cosmetics and bath-product company based in London, the development of products that "use natural ingredients, like bananas and Basil nut oil, as well as others with a long history of safe human usage" is advocated instead of testing on animals (3).Furthermore, the Draize test has become practically obsolete because of the development of a synthetic cellular tissue that closely resembles human skin. Researchers can test the potential damage that a product can do to the skin by using this artificial "skin" instead of testing on animals. Another alternative to this test is a product called Eyetex. This synthetic material turns opaque when a product damages it, closely resembling the way that a real eye reacts to harmful substances. Computers have also been used to simulate and estimate the potential damage that a product or chemical can cause, and human tissues and cells have been used to examine the effects of harmful substances. In another method, in vitro testing, cellular tests are done inside a test tube. All of these tests have been proven to be useful and reliable alternatives to testing products on live animals. Therefore, because effective means of product toxicity testing are available without the use of live animal specimens, testing potentially deadly substances on animals is unnecessary.
However, many people believe that animal testing is justified because the animals are sacrificed to make products safer for human use and consumption. The problem with thisreasoning is that the animals' safety, well-being, and quality of life is generally not a consideration. Experimental animals are virtually tortured to death, and all of these tests are done in the interest of human welfare, without any thought to how the animals are treated. Others respond that animals themselves benefit from animal research. Yet in an article entitled "Is Your Experiment Really Necessary?" Sheila Silcock, a research consultant for the RSPCA, states: "Animals may themselves be the beneficiaries of animal experiments. But the value we place on the quality of their lives is determined by their perceived value to humans" (34). Making human's lives better should not be justification for torturing and exploiting animals. The value that humans place on their own lives should be extended to the lives of animals as well.
Still other people think that animal testing is acceptable because animals are lower species than humans and therefore have no rights. These individuals feel that animals have no rights because they lack the capacity to understand or to knowingly exercise these rights. However, animal experimentation in medical research and cosmetics testing cannot be justified on the basis that animals are lower on the evolutionary chart than humans since animals resemble humans in so many ways. Many animals, especially the higher mammalian species, possess internal systems and organs that are identical to the structures and functions of human internal organs. Also, animals have feelings, thoughts, goals, needs, and desires that are similar to human functions and capacities, and these similarities should be respected, not exploited, because of the selfishness of humans. Tom Regan asserts that "animals are subjects of a life just as human beings are, and a subject of a life has inherent value. They are . . . ends in themselves" (qtd. in Orlans 26). Therefore, animals' lives should be respected because they have an inherent right to be treated with dignity. The harm that is committed against animals should not be minimized because they are not considered to be "human."
In conclusion, animal testing should be eliminated because it violates animals' rights, it causes pain and suffering to the experimental animals, and other means of testing product toxicity are available. Humans cannot justify making life better for themselves by randomly torturing and executing thousands of animals per year to perform laboratory experiments or to test products. Animals should be treated with respect and dignity, and this right to decent treatment is not upheld when animals are exploited for selfish human gain. After all, humans are animals too.
Against Animal Testing. The Body Shop, 1993.
Balls, Michael. "Time to Reform Toxic Tests." New Scientist 134 (1992):31-33.
Orlans, F. Barbara. In the Name of Science: Issues in Responsible Animal Experimentation. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.
Silcock, Sheila. "Is Your Experiment Really Necessary?" New Scientist 134 (1992): 32-34.