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Animal Testing

Posted in General news by Willie on the April 26th, 2006

What is wrong with Animal Testing?

Vivisection is often the most controversial and disputed area of animal rights discussion.
Most people are aware that it is not necessary to eat meat, wear fur, visit animal circuses or engage in other activities that involve the exploitation of animals, even though they may engage in these activities all the same.
However, many people do believe that it is necessary to experiment on animals in order to safeguard human health.
This point of view is incorrect and vivisection is unjustifiable from both a moral and scientific point of view.

1) Vivisection is immoral

It is immoral for human beings to use other animals as the subjects of any experiments.
We often think that the human race is superior to all other animal species, and that this is what justifies our exploitation of them.
However, the belief that the human race exists apart from other species is a dangerous illusion that has long since been exposed by the discovery of the theory of evolution.

Human beings and all animals have evolved from a single source and are, as such, all members of the same family.
It is clearly immoral for one species to view all other species as a resource, rather than as living beings with which they share a very close connection.

Some say that the reason we are entitled to use other species for our benefit lies in the fact that human beings have superior intelligence. This overlooks the fact that intelligence is not the criteria upon which we should base moral decisions.
Sentience, the ability to experience and to suffer, is the quality that is important. Generally, we are already aware of this fact as we would consider it unacceptable to carry out scientific testing on infants or mentally disabled people, both of which have inferior intellectual abilities to the “average” person.

2) Vivisection is bad science

The second foundation of the antivivisection argument is that experimentation on animals is bad science.
People may say that if vivisection is immoral then it should not be necessary to consider whether it is effective. In our view, relying on the bad science argument is not a cop out. The fact that vivisection is both immoral and irrational rests on the idea that what is not moral cannot be rational. It is a big self-deception to believe that benefit can be derived from a practice that is cruel and exploitative.

There are numerous reasons why vivisection is bad science.
Firstly, the majority of animals do not get the same diseases as humans. Animal experimenters, through a range of different methods, attempt to create symptoms in the test animal that mirror those of a human patient with a particular disease. They do not generally infect the animal with the actual disease; instead they just create a set of symptoms that mimic it. This is a very superficial way to approach health research.

Another factor which makes any research done on animals unreliable is the stress and suffering to which they are subjected as a result of their confinement in laboratory conditions.
These conditions allow no room for natural behaviour and they experience extreme boredom, anxiety, frustration, and loneliness among other problems. It is undeniable that to experiment on animals in such a condition is fraudulent science.

Another important reason why animals cannot be a reliable subject for medical research is that they differ from us in many ways, both on an anatomical and molecular level. These differences mean that results obtained from animal experiments cannot be reliably extrapolated to humans. It is already clear that data obtained by animal researchers is not reliable when applied to humans given the number of people who die every year from adverse reactions to animal-tested medications.

It is widely agreed that adverse drug reactions are the fourth largest killer in the western world with an average of 10,000 people dying yearly in the U.K. and 100,000 in the U.S.A.

3) Vivisection is big business

In light of the fact that vivisection is unjustifiable on both moral and scientific grounds, it is difficult to believe that this practice continues.

The reason it does continue is due to the enormous vested interests that exist in this area. Animal testing is big business.
The breeding of animals for use in laboratories, as well as the manufacture of the various types of required equipment are very profitable enterprises.

Pharmaceutical companies are among the most profitable in the world, and they are not willing to allow any change that could jeopardize their enormous profit margins. They are quite happy with the status quo and they strongly resist any attempts to alter it through the elimination of animal testing.

Furthermore, the use of vivisection in the development of new drugs provides legal cover to the pharmaceutical industry in the many cases where these drugs go on to cause major problems in human patients.

4) “Alternatives” to Vivisection

Considering all of the problems involved in the practice of vivisection, it is necessary to contemplate what the alternatives are and what the way forward for human health is in the 21st century. Modern scientific techniques such as cell and tissue cultures, computer modeling, and molecular research are very important elements in future medical progress. Common sense is a much overlooked element of this debate but its importance is undeniable.

The diseases that are responsible for the largest number of deaths in the western world are heart disease, stroke and various forms of cancer. These diseases are largely preventable through changes in diet, lifestyle, and a reduction in pollution levels among other things. This approach needs to be given more serious consideration. Of course, there is more profit to be gained through the discovery of a miracle cure than there is through a preventative approach to medicine and this means that change will not come about automatically in this area.

We, in our role as citizens, must actively campaign to raise awareness of the issues and demand more government regulation in this area. As consumers, we must use our purchasing power to force pharmaceutical corporations to eliminate the use of animal testing by boycotting their products until they do so.


“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is:
‘Because they are like us.’

Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is:
‘Because the animals are not like us.’

Animal experimentation rests on an illogical contradiction.”

Professor Charles Magel

More info on Animal Testing:

[1] buav,
[2] Uncaged,
[3] SHAC



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