Haveyou ever imagined the trauma that animals go through when they areused as research specimen? If not, have you ever considered if thosespecimens are entitled to any humane treatment? According to Knight(2011), scientists prefer animals with elaborate brain structures andsocial behavior, as a suitable substitute for the humans inexperiments.
Thereis an increase in animal testing, in particular, on the great apes.These tests have raised many concerns, such as ethical issues aboutanimal use in experiments. The main research areas where the animalsserve for research include laboratory tests, food research, andentertainment. Concerns about the use of animals for tests especiallywhenever the experiment involves extreme physical and mental traumaare on the rise.
Peggs(2009), enquires whether changes in the general opinion, on animalsas creatures that lack thought and sensation, can affect thescientist’s acceptance and promotion on animal experiments? If theanimals are to serve in the labs for whichever reason, they should besubject to the most humane treatment possible. We need policies torestrict the usage of animal experiments to the developed andapproved research techniques. Many research and testing fields haveraised concerns for animal suffering, which led to significantadvancements, especially in the development of alternativeexperimental techniques such as tissue culture and computersimulation (Peggs, 2009). Therefore, the experiments on the animalscan only persist if people consider animals as expendable, and if weignore their trauma.
Theproponents of animal testing maintain that animal investigations haveenabled the production of many useful treatments for both the animalsand the humans. The promoters` camp indicates that there are noalternative experimental methods on full living creatures. It isestimated that twenty-six million animals serve in scientific andcommercial tests. The proponents of animal testing say that strictlegislations hinder the conducting of experiments that involvesubjecting the animals to mental and physical stresses thus limitingtheir inferences. On the other hand, the opponents of animal testinghave maintained that animal experiments are cruel and inhumane. Thiscamp suggests the use of alternative methods that are available toreplace the animals in extreme processes. According to the opponents,the obvious difference between the animals and the human beings oftenlead to the realization of irrelevant results. Crettaz has a rationalapproach to the matter: “In general, science controversies reflectan increase of ambivalent attitudes toward science and technology,but protests are less against science than against the use of thescientific rhetoric to mask political and moral choices.”
Inthe United States, animal experiments are regulated by the AnimalWelfare Act (AWA) that took effect in 1996. The law specifies theanimals as any alive or dead creatures and requires each researchfacility to develop an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.The function of this body is to represent the society’s position onthe wellbeing of the animals. The AWA legislation has a shortcomingin that it does not regulate the experiments but deals with thehousing and transportation of the animals to be used for the tests.
Discoveriesin medicine that involved testing the animals could have beenpossible without using the animals for experiments. No concrete proofexists on using the animals in experiments to be a vital factor inmaking the discoveries. It is possible that other discoveries wouldhave been found if adequate resources were invested in otheralternatives that did not use the animals as subjects. Occasionallyanimal research misleads the scientists, and they end up ignoring arange of potential cures. Some chemicals have proved to reactdifferently on the human body and in the animal bodies. For instance,some pest and parasite control chemicals are very toxic when consumedby the animals, but they have no effects on the human bodies. Inother occasions, some chemicals that may have been beneficial to thepeople are ignored because they did not yield the required reactionto the apes in tests.
Somedrugs that pass the animal testing experiments are not secure at all.In the 1950s a sleeping drug called Thalidomide was tested on animalsbefore its commercial release but ended causing adverse effects tothe humans. 10,000 infants had severe deformities during deliveriesbecause the parents had used the drug during their expectancy period.Many of the tests that encompass the animals are faulty and only leadto wastage of the lives of the animals. Many of the animals used inbiochemical tests are terminated during or after the studies. Peopleare also subject to their religious and traditional restraints toprotect the environment and be the caretakers of nature. Using theanimals for inhumane tests is a violation of these responsibilities.People should consider that animals, just like human beings are proneto pain and stress. The article “Mapping perceptions of animalexperimentation” states: “Perceptions of animal experimentationare explained by a multicausal system that exhibits similarities anddissimilarities with literature findings. More opposition to animalexperimentation is found to be linked with women.”
Itis necessary to reduce the current number of animal experimentscarried out to prevent the duplication of tests (Knight, 2011).Stringent animal tests legislations should be passed. Knight quotesthat “The great apes along with other animals have been used inexperiments as human substitutes to serve as specimens for diseasetests among many other purposes, which impose significant degrees oftrauma on the animals”. We must recognize our responsibility ininflicting pain on the animals through our experiments. These testsshould be minimized where possible.
Crettazvon Roten, F. (2011). Mapping perceptions of animal experimentation:trend and explanatory factors. SocialScience Quarterly,89(2),537-549.
Knight,A. (2011). Thecosts and benefits of animal experiments.Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Peggs,K. (2009). A hostile world for nonhuman animals: human identificationand the oppression of nonhuman animals for humangood.Sociology, 43(1),85-102.