Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, is the use of animals in experiments to test product safety. I believe it is a big problem in our society. Every year at least 2. 7 million animals are killed in laboratories in Australia alone and at least thirty-three animals die each second worldwide, due to cruel animal tests. Many companies feel it is okay to test on animals because they are deemed not as physiologically or emotionally complex as humans, but as animal rights supporter, Jeremy Bentham has said, “The question is not, ‘Can they reason? ’ nor, ‘Can they talk? ’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer? and most of the time the animals do suffer. So, what do scientists test on animals? The main three things that are tested are cosmetics, household products and medicines. 94% of animal testing is done to test cosmetic safety, confectionary and household products which leaves only 6% for beneficial medical research. During these experiments, products are tested on animals to check for any skin irritancy, eye irritancy and allergies that could cause problems for humans. These procedures are often excruciatingly painful for the animals over prolonged periods of time, and then most are ultimately destroyed after the experiment.
Compounding concerns are that these experiments are often unreliable because animals have a different body structure and different DNA, which means that sometimes these experiments are more detrimental than helpful to human health. In simple terms, if your dog was ill, do you think you could cure it by conducting research on yourself? Since it is not possible to cure a sick animal by conducting research on healthy humans, why would we consider it possible to cure a sick human by conducting research on a healthy animal? Research reveals that only 5 to 25% of the animal tests and human results are agreeable!
Most of the drugs passed by animal tests are now discarded as useless to humans – so why test in the first place? “Unnecessary deaths during research are morally no different from murder,” says Animal Rights activist Bruce Marks, which I personally believe to be true. While I acknowledge that most people would reasonably value human life over an animal’s life, this does not negate the cruelty argument, and that as intelligent beings, we have the ability to make moral and educated choices. Perhaps many of you think this isn’t a big deal, but would you volunteer to be experimented on?
Image this hypothetical scenario: Across the world, 115 million humans are being experimented on and killed in labs every year. These ‘volunteers’ have chemicals pumped into their stomachs, pieces hacked off their bodies, limbs broken, genes injected into them, body fluids drawn from them, they have ears growing on their backs, mothers babies are taken and placed in isolation chambers ‘to see how they react’, aids is injected in to them in the hope of finding a way to cure it, necks are broken to test the effects of car accidents, and so on.
How long do you think this would go on before there was outrage because of the mistreatment of humans? Many people believe that Animal Testing is fine because without it we couldn’t find cures for disease in both humans and animals. But nowadays we have the technology to test for cures that give up to 60% more reliable answers and are 100% humane. The world of science has on record more than 400 methods that can effectively replace animal experiments.
Plus, this technology is dramatically less expensive and makes use of cell and skin tissue cultures, corneas from eye banks, vegetable proteins and sophisticated computer and mathematical models. Some companies avoid testing altogether by using non-toxic natural ingredients or those that have already been safety-approved by the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.
As Gordon Baxter, co-founder of Pharmagene Laboratories, which uses only computers and human tissues to create and test drugs once said, “If you have information on human genes, what’s the point of going back to animals? ” So now let me ask you a question. If we have this reliable technology which is not only humane, but also less expensive than using live animals, why isn’t animal testing illegal? Let’s stop working with these old methodologies and embrace these newer techniques.
Everything we ever tested on animals can now be tested using everything from vegetables to computers. You’ve all seen the gruesome videos and the sickening pictures; we have the replacement, so let’s get rid of animal testing. Next time you need some more shampoo, household cleaning products, want some new make-up or just simply want a chocolate bar, do the animals a favor and check to see whether the manufacturer tests on animals. If so, ask yourselves, “is it so hard to choose another brand? ” and help those whose cries are forever sealed behind laboratory doors.