Every year, millions of animals undergo painful suffering or death as a result of scientific research into the effects of drugs, food additives, cosmetics and other chemical products. While most people think animal testing is necessary, others are upset by what they see as needless suffering. This essay looks at some of the positive and negative aspects of animal testing.
Many medical treatments and procedures have been developed from experiments on animals. Since animals share many features with humans, scientists use animals to test the safety and effectiveness of newly developed drugs before pilot testing on small groups of patients. Medical teams practice new operating techniques such as transplants on animals. Without animal testing, many procedures or new drugs would be extremely unsafe.
However, many people are concerned that animals are suffering unnecessarily and cruelly. They do not believe that every new drug needs to be tested on animals, especially with the huge database of knowledge and modern computer models. They also are worried that many animal tests are ineffective, pointing out that any drugs have had to be withdrawn from the market despite extensive testing. They particularly feel that animal testing should not be used for non-essential products such as cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, and cleaning products. Furthermore, some campaigners would like to see certain tests replaced and more humane methods used.
We need to make sure that the millions of animals who are used for testing new products are treated with the minimum of suffering. Although some animal testing may be unavoidable at present, treating our fellow creatures as mercifully as possible will demonstrate our humanity.