The Use of Animal in Testing Should Be Banned
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Today, the topic of ecology and nature is often a subject for discussion. Probably, very few people think about the process of production and release of cosmetic products, namely life bringing for the sake of beauty. It is not a human life, but the life of an innocent creature, an animal, which is meant here. It is not a secret that many companies use animals in testing their products. It does not only concern putting some cream on the skin of an animal and looking whether it reddens or not. Everything is much more difficult and crueler. A lot of things are learned experimentally in the world. Some scientists have managed to prove that experiments carried out by them are useful to mankind. However, there are many cases when scientists conduct an investigation using cruel methods, scoffing at animals, and practically reaching no results or benefits.
The public holds different opinions concerning animal testing. Everything depends on how to consider animals and people. Now, there are three alternative points of view on this question.
The supporters of the movement for animals’ release consider a person only as one of many animal species, and they do not see any reasons to put a person above other types. In this case, animal experiments are the same crime as racial or sexual discrimination, and it represents no other than the intended cruelty based on prejudice.
The opposite opinion says that animals by their nature belong to people and are the lowest beings, and their value consists in the fact that they should be useful to people. Therefore, there should not be found any restrictions on the use of animals for the sake of the welfare and benefit of people. It is possible to prove that people who are ready to allow the death of animals as a result of the environmental pollution as well as those who breed the cattle and birds with industrial methods also adhere to this point of view.
The third point of view relies on a Christian outlook. It claims that despite the biological similarity between people and animals, people are absolutely unique beings and possess a supreme value. Some scientists consider that between people and animals there are quite accurate distinctions, for example, an ability to perceive beauty or moral consciousness, an ability to distinguish moral and immoral acts. God is the Creator of all life on the earth. He created both people and animals. It is said in the Bible that the duty is assigned to people to take care of the world as well as animals living in it. People should not think that animals undoubtedly belong to them, and they are free to do with them everything they want. People are urged to run the natural world wisely. They are created to live in love and harmony with God, each other, and the surrounding nature. Finally, they should be in charge of their actions and deeds (Singer, 1990).
Animals do not belong to people, and people cannot do with them everything they want. Animals possess an equal value with people, so such experiences are immoral. The person possesses the unique value given to him/her by God, but he/she is responsible before God for the attitude towards animals. God urges people to care for animals. People will be punished by God for the bad treatment of animals.
Different scientists also adhere to various points of view on the problem. According to Professor Cohen, a famous virologist of the American Academy of Sciences, three-quarters of all animal experiments can be replaced in laboratories by using cells right now (Miller & Williams, 1983). On the other hand, Professor Fingerton notes that researches on the highest nervous activity and behavior of people and animals cannot be replaced yet (Dawkins, 1980).
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However, cruel tests on animals continue to exist, first of all, because many consumers are not familiar with this serious moral problem, and manufacturers are not interested in informing buyers about it. The participants of the movement for ceasing animal experiments often hear the question, “What are cosmetic tests for animals? It is simply ridiculous: rabbits have painted eyelashes, and rats are put on make-up?” (Reinhardt, 1994). When real information reaches consumers, they are shocked.
During the testing of cosmetics, cleaners, and new mixtures developed by the cosmetic industry, animals breathe in steams of substance, the concentration of which is so great that many of them die from poisoning. Drayz’s industrial testing of cosmetics is carried out in the following way: the tested substance is put on the eyes of rabbits, their heads are fixed with a special collar, and they spend 21 days in such a position. Animals cannot rub their eyes, which are corroded by the preparation, with a paw. The test often comes to an end when the cornea grows turbid, and the eye perishes. Another known industrial test for the determination of toxicity consists in the following: a group of animals is given an increasing dose of the examined substance, and the task of an experimenter is to define a dose, which kills 50% of animals for a determined time (Smith & Boyd, 1991). The substance is usually injected into an organism of an animal by means of a tube inserted through the gullet in the stomach.
Vivisection is considered to be monstrous and often senseless. Cosmetic testing is not carried out for the sake of rescuing a human life, but for the sake of human beauty. There are many experiments on rabbits when solutions, which are applied in shampoos, mascaras for eyelashes, household chemicals are poured in their eyes, and then, it is observed in how many hours or days this chemical will corrode these experimental creatures. The same senseless experiments are carried out in medical schools. Why is it necessary to drip acid on a frog if every school student can predict the reaction of the frog without any experiment? In the educational process, there is training to let animals bleed when it is necessary to sacrifice an innocent being. It influences the career of a person. Cruelty deprives people of humanity. Medical students face cruelty in the first year of study. Statistically, science loses a great number of experts because of an ethical aspect. Those who remain get accustomed to irresponsibility and cruelty. A person can do everything with an animal without any control.
About 2 million animals are objects of experiments in Canada, 7 million – in France, 17 million – in the USA, and about 800 million – worldwide (Sharpe, 1988). 90 % of these animals are rats, mice, fish, or birds. 85,5 % of various animal species serve for researches, 9,5 % – for testing of products, and 5 % – for education (Sharpe, 1988). A large number of animals become science victims, in particular cats, dogs, primacies, frogs, insects, birds, hares, calves and their mothers, pigs, hamsters, and others. From all areas of animal testing, the experiments connected with cosmetics are a sphere where mankind even cannot justify itself with the need for researches for the sake of life preservation and human health as animals are sacrificed only for the sake of a human whim. For this reason, the search for alternatives has been concentrated on around cosmetic tests, though alternative models for researches on all spheres are being offered now.
Animal testing must be forbidden because an animal is not an ideal sample for research on human diseases. The assumption that a rat is a tiny human being is an error and a scientific deception. A person and an animal have some common anatomic and physiological characteristics, but they react differently to cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The tablet of aspirin can kill a cat and cause malignant tumors in a mouse. Penicillin kills Indian pigs. Arsenic does not influence monkeys and hens. Morfin calms people but has no influence on cats and horses. Insulin causes malformations in hens, hares, and mice (Ryder, 1995).
Many diseases, which kill people, do not influence animals, for example, AIDS. Human cancer is different from the animal one and, vice versa, animals’ cancer tumors cannot develop for 20 years. The tuberculosis of people is an absolutely different type than the one caused artificially in animals. The metabolism of people and animals occurs differently. People are 60 times more sensitive to thalidomide, a sedative prescribed to pregnant women than mice, 100 times more sensitive than rats, 200 times than dogs, and 700 times than hamsters (Rolston, 1988).
Therefore, it is clear that when it is beneficial to them, scientists assume that experiments on animals can never be completely extrapolated to people. Pursued by the law on harmful medicines (such as thalidomide) or on toxic products, experimenters remember at once this fundamental difference between people and animals. Thus, why is it necessary to continue conducting experiments if they are not authentic initially? Iodine and penicillin are good examples of drugs developed without animal experiments. The basic progress in many areas of medicine is connected with the clinical supervision of patients, sanitary actions, unpredicted inventions, and epidemiology.
Having been estimated by some sources, only one percent of the by-side reactions to medicines are found during the tests on animals (Anon, 1992). It occurs in particular because it is actually impossible to find the most common symptoms in animals, such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, and sight violations. Moreover, the life expectancy of the most widespread laboratory animals is up to 66 times shorter than the life expectancy of people, which complicates the forecasting of potential long-term by-side effects.
Many procedures cause fear or stress to some extent. As a rule, it is necessary to use anesthesia and analgesia (a pain removal) for the animals used in painful procedures, however, it is not always used or it is considered not obligatory, or, according to researchers, can lead to incorrect results.
Even usual laboratory procedures, such as debridement, an injection, blood sampling, and feeding by means of a probe (a tube insert in a mouth and a stomach of an animal) cause stress in animals. The reaction of animals to the skilled and unskilled worker is often various, which speaks about the importance of laboratory staff training inhumane treatment of animals. Moreover, the animals in a condition of stress show abnormal physiological parameters, and there can be changes in the behavior, influencing the scientific results more often negatively.
For real progress in medicine, experiments on animals are not necessary. The USA, the biggest consumer of laboratory animals in the world, is not considered the country with the healthiest nation (Porter, 1992). According to their life expectancy, Americans hold only the seventeenth place in a rating of all countries. Mankind annually sacrifices more than 100 million experimental animals for the sake of health and beauty. Is it possible morally to justify such a “sacrifice” at the present time?
Today, there are also some humane ways of carrying out medical and cosmetic experiments. Professors Farnsworth and Petsuto of the pharmacological faculty of the University of Illinois declared that there were enough methods elaborated for the toxicity determination of preparations (Clark, 1984). The matter concerned enzymes, bactericidal creatures, cells, and tissues of a person (received from the placenta after childbirth or biopsy), structures developed by a program, the organization of donor banks, and others. For example, in the Quebec University, there is the program created to simulate a frog (Nash, 1990). This animal reacted to experiments in the same way as a live one. Changes in consciousness and nonviolent medicine are alternatives to vivisection. Moreover, there are authentic methods available for testing medicines or products of national consumption. A large number of scientists consider such methods more convincing than experiments on animals.
Such ways as clinical and epidemiological supervision of people, work with corpses, and computer models are much more reliable, quicker, cheaper, and more humane than experiments on animals. The scientists developed from cells of a human brain the model called “micro brain” by means of which they can study brain tumors (Britt, 2004). The skin imitation and artificial marrow are created in the same way. Nowadays, it is possible to check the toxicity of various substances on an egg membrane, to make vaccines of cell cultures, to make tests for pregnancy using blood tests instead of killing rabbits. “If there is information on the human genes, there is no sense to come back to animal experiments” – Gordon Baxter, the co-founder of the “Pharmagin Laboratories” company writes (only human tissues and computer models are used in this company on development and testing of drugs) (Regan, 2003).
Any experiment has to be made in order to get useful results. If it does not occur, the experiment can be considered as accepted neither in the scientific nor in the moral sense. Until recently, the animals have been used as visual aids in studies, for example, on physiology. It is quite difficult to justify such “experiments”, especially with the existence of modern methods of teaching.
One can assume that the only way to rescue 10,000 people would be the experiment on a mentally retarded child from the orphanage. The experiment's purpose is to rescue people as it would be worth sacrificing the life of this child. However, the majority of people agree that it is inadmissible to kill one person for the rescue of many others as it strikes the rights of his/her specific personality. When the matter concerns an animal, it can be often heard an argument that people have rights and animals do not have any. Nevertheless, it would be necessary to recognize the right for the animals, according to which one or several animals cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the greater good.
One more problem, which is worth discussing, concerns the fact of whether all animals are equally valuable. Many people do not like the experiments on such “higher” animals as, for example, the chimpanzee because they possess quite a developed mind, communicative skills and show the emotional behavior similar to the behavior of people (Schweitzer, 2005). In the same way, people will feel ill at ease at the thought of experiments on cats, dogs, or rabbits. However, they are disturbed much less by the destiny of animals, which are not so clever and nice and which people usually do not keep as domestic pets.
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Perhaps, a chimpanzee can really suffer such anguish that does not happen with the lowest animals, for example, mice. Perhaps, during the experiments, these highest animals feel such types of emotional pain as fear or panic. There is no way to learn whether experimental worms and insects feel any sufferings as their nervous system is so primitive that the scientists doubt their ability to feel pain. So, it will be logical to draw a conclusion that for experiments it is always better to use the lowest and simple animals, for example, not mice, but flies or frogs. Besides, experimental animals should be provided consciously with such conditions that would reduce their painful feelings to a minimum.
Nowadays, the number of animals, which are exposed to experiments, decreases. However, the Ministry of Defense tests different types of weapon on animals almost without publishing the data about how many animals and what animals are used. Though traditional types of animal experiments are gradually disappearing, new spheres of experimental studies appear. For example, more and more animals are now used for experiments on genetic engineering, and one cannot help appreciating their help in the development and progress of medicine. In some cases, human genes are implemented in an organism of an animal. Such transgene animals can have diseases, which are very similar to the diseases of a person. Studying an impact of illness on an organism of the transgene animals, the scientists find out the reasons for human diseases, and it gives them greater opportunities for the development of new types of treatment of some human illnesses (Flemming, 1996).
Pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories also use animals for the production of medicines. One of the first examples of it is the sheep milking, which contains human protein alpha-1-anti-trypsin (Singer, 1993). The doctors need this protein for the treatment of patients suffering from one of the forms of fatal liver disease.
The defenders of the rights of animals consider that many medicines made by pharmaceutical firms and tested on animals are not necessary to people. Modern drugs are really capable to cure many diseases, but some diseases do not have enough medicines, for example, medicines for mental disorders and many types of cancer tumors, or they do not exist at all. Before testing a new medicine on patients, according to the law, it has to be tested on animals.
Nowadays, more and more medicines directed on the achievement of quite a narrow and specific result are created. Sometimes, during the test of these preparations on animals, the unexpected side effects, forbidding the application of the preparation for people’s treatment, are found. The test of medicines on animals also helps doctors to define what dose is safe for a person. If to take into account the sufferings of people from those diseases for which there is no effective treatment yet, it becomes obvious why many scientists consider the test of preparations on animals as quite justified (Wall, 1992).
The scientists have also learned to clone animals, and Dolly the sheep became the best-known clone. Clones are the exact copies of an animal received by means of the method, which is a generic equivalent of photocopying. Transgene technologies together with cloning give the chance to scientists to bring into the world hundreds of identical animals capable to make human proteins for the treatment of sick people. These are good examples of the cases when the suffering of animals is justified.
Nevertheless, it does not change my point of view that all the experiments on animals must be forbidden. I think animal tests cannot be justified by the fact that they benefit people. A person possesses the supreme value and it does not give him/her the right to taunt animals. So, there is a high need in the laws imposing restrictions on these experiments. All the experiments on animals need to be forbidden.
I absolutely think that it is unethical to conduct tests on animals even if it helps save human lives. Experiments can be good for science and for people, but they should be limited and controlled. When a dog is sewed two heads, it is not an ethical scientific experiment, but a kind of sadism. Animals should be protected, and many experiments are necessary, but it does not oblige one to take a positive view of them. Really, drugs can be tried on people, for example, on prisoners for life, incurably or mentally sick people. It is also possible to make experiments on rats, but never on dogs!
The latter case is all the same as experimenting on a one-year-old child who understands everything but can do nothing with this sadism. Though the international norms of carrying out experiments on animals have already existed for many years (they define the rules of animal living and feeding, indispensable use of anesthesia, and others), many scientists consider that such tests in many respects proceed only as a bad tradition. Therefore, it is necessary to educate the ethical relation of people to animals. The vivisection should also be replaced by alternative methods, so it needs some financing from the government.
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