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Animalshave been with humans since the beginning. They were here even before we were,and they have always tried their best to please us by doing whatever task needsto be done. Whether it be farming, hunting, protecting, or just being ourcompanion, they never fail to get the job done. How do we repay them? Byabusing, abandoning and experimenting on them for our benefit. Millions ofanimals die each year from research experiments and countless more suffer(Putney 46).
Animal testing should not be legal in the United States because itcauses millions of animals suffering, it is too costly, and there are moreeffective alternatives. Humans have been using animals in labs for hundreds of yearsand it is time to stop it.Animaltesting is the use of non-human animals in experiments meant to test howcertain things such as drugs or cosmetics react to that animal. Most of thetime the animals used are kept in cramped cages and forced to undergo painfuland frightening experiments. According to Margaret Putney, “Many are exposed toharmful disease and chemicals or put in scanning machines to find ways to curehealth problems of fellow animals” (46). They have no choice of freedom and areconstantly abused. They live a short life in a cold cage, filled with nothingbut confusion.
Around 50 to 100 million animals are used inexperiments annually around the world, and around 1.3 million in the USA(Badyal and Desai). This number does not include rats and mice which make upabout ninety-six percent of animals used in experiments and are not covered bythe Animal Welfare Act in the United States, along with birds and fish (Badyaland Desai 257). Millions of animals aresuffering when there are other alternatives.Thereare many alternatives to animal research and more being developed every day.Alternatives follow one of the three R’s.
Replace an animal test with a test orprocedure that does not require an animal. Reduce the number of animals that areused for animal testing. Refine a procedure or experiment that reduces or takesaway an animals pain (Dosomething.org). Human cell and tissue cultures,computer models, and 3D models are humane ways to get the results thatscientist need without animal suffering, and they are being created andimproved constantly.Putneystates that “At Charles River Laboratories in Boston, researchers recentlydeveloped a hand-held device containing blood from the horseshoe crab as a wayto detect a common fever bacterium…”(46). Before this device had beendeveloped, they tested rabbits yearly by putting drops into their eyes (Putney46).
Without the creation of this device, many rabbits might still besuffering. Another alternative is being developed by an Oxford Universityscientist, Denis Noble, who is developing a virtual heart that can do thingssuch as reconstruct a heart attack (Putney 46). Harvard’s Wyss Institute hascreated something called “organs-on-chips” which is made from actual humancells grown to mimic human organs (PETA). With advanced alternatives like thesebeing made every day, there is no need for animals in laboratories to continueto be used in experiments.
Notonly are new technologies safer for the animals, but they are safer for thehumans because of how much more accurate they are than using non-human animals(Scanarotti 441). Humans are much more complex than rats, dogs, or farmanimals, and we react differently than animals do to certain products ordiseases. Studies have shown that animal experiments waste lives and resourcesby trying to infect animals with diseases that they would never normallycontract in the wild or anywhere else but in a lab (PETA). Animals in labs areexposed to diseases such as yellow fever or polio to tests for vaccines.
Thereis always a chance that if we test human diseases and human medicines onanimals than we could end up with unreliable results. Humantissue is the best way to judge a human response to any type of chemical ordisease (Putney 46). Dr.
Chiara Scanarotti, from the University of Genoa, says,”The use of human, instead of animal, cells improves the accuracy andrelevance” when testing for toxicity (441). Why use animals for testing humanproducts or diseases, if the results are not going to be relevant to humans?Ninety-two percent of drugs that are tested safe for animals fail in clinicaltrials because they are not safe for humans or they do not work(Dosomething.org). The small amount of drugs that do get approved are oftenrelabeled because of side effects that do not show up on animals (PETA).Testing animals is a waste of resources and animals for results that might noteven affect humans. Animal testing is not worth the risk of unreliable resultsthat may, or may not be useful once the product is on the market.Inmost testing labs, animals live very stressful lives. They live in horribleconditions and are forced to do unimaginable things.
It is not uncommon foranimals to be captured from the wild (Badyal and Desai 257). These animals areforced to live in an unfamiliar place away from their family and away fromtheir natural habitat. Animals are very sensitive to things like sudden changesin their environment or routine. All of these factors can lead to an animalthat is very stressed out. This is not healthy at all for the animal, andanimals that are under constant stress can give unreliable test results whichare not safe for anyone. Animaltesting is also very expensive.
Different species have different reactions, so researchers sometimeshave to run multiple tests on several different animals in order to get thebest results and make sure whatever is being tested is safe (Putney 46). Forone pesticide to be registered, over 50 tests are done and 12,000 animals areused (Dosomething.org). Every yeararound $16 billion US tax dollars is used on animal experiments and testing(PETA). Forty percent of funding from the National Institute of Health is usedon animal testing (PETA). A lot of this money is wasted on experiments that areinapplicable to humans or not necessary at all. Alternatives are much safer and cheaper.
In 2007 private industry spentonly $716 million on alternative testing devices (Putney 46). Banning the useof animals for testing would save the United States billions of dollars.Therehave been some breakthroughs in animal testing and research in the last 100years (Obesity, Fitness, & Wellness Week 932). People often say that everymajor medical breakthrough has been the result of animal testing, but that isnot true (PETA). Most experiments that are tested on animals do not even affecthumans, and many of them are just done out of curiosity (PETA).
Animals are still forced to go throughinhumane treatments, while there are plenty of other ways to get the same resultsneeded for those breakthroughs. Some people may think that animal testing isthe only or the best, way to discover cures for disease, find vaccinations, andtest if their makeup products are safe, but it is not. People need to realizethat animal testing is not the only way to get results and that the badoutweighs the good.
Somepeople also say that if we did not have animal testing, then millions ofanimals would be dead from diseases that have been discovered from animalresearch (Obesity, Fitness &Wellness). This may be true but the same amountof animals would still be alive if we didn’t have animal testing at all. Animaltesting kills millions of dogs, cats, and other animals, every year, andwithout it, they would still be alive. There are other ways to test diseases inanimals and save countless animal lives.
Thefirst laws to protect animal testing were created in 1822 and then followed bythe Cruelty to Animals Act (Badyal and Desai 257). In 1871, Charles Darwinwrote, “You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it isjustifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not mere damnable anddetestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror so I willnot say another word about it, else I shall not sleep tonight.”(Badyal andDesai 257). People have been fighting for animal’s rights since before the 1800s,and people need to continue to fight for animals and their rights.
Betweenthe years 1973 and 2006, the number of animals being used for research in theUnited States had dropped from 1.6 million to 1.1 million (Putney 46).
According to PETA, this year’s annual Valuesand Belief polls showed that 44 percent of people are against animal testing.People are slowly starting to understand the issues of animal testing, and morepeople are standing up for animals and trying to help protect them. If morepeople push for a change, then one day we might see one.Animalshave been on the earth for billions of years, and if we want them to stay herewe need to start doing all we can to protect them, instead of treating themlike we have been. Without animals, the world would be a very different place. Animaltesting should not be legal in the United States because it causes millions ofanimals suffering, it is too costly, and there are more effective alternatives.
The push for alternatives and changes for animal rights have been very helpfulto the animals. Hopefully, in the near future, we can live in a world where wetreat animals with the respect they deserve.