Free «Testing on Animals» Essay Sample

Testing on Animals

Introduction

According to Hobson-West (651), the use of animals as research models is a crucial process that begun with the quest for alternative research approaches to attaining solutions to human health problems. The use of animals, especially non-human primates, in testing has been a contentious issue. The sharp controversy and the importance of the experiments make this topic very relevant today. Supporters of the use of animals in experimenting insist that studying animals gives insights in understanding human system. Conversely, critics advocate prohibition of testing on animals citing ethical concerns in the practice (National Publishing Group 1). However, the experimentation on animals is indispensable in contemporary medicine.

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The use of animals in testing and the controversy surrounding it dates back to 500 BC. Of late, critics of experimentation on non-human primates argue that there are realistic alternatives for this practice that should be adopted. They prioritize the development of in silico and in vitro approaches for the replacement non-human primates in the lab ranks. By definition, in silico is experimentation based on the use of computerized programs, while in vitro is an experiment based in the laboratory using test tubes and other equipments. Unfortunately, this hint fails to take two crucial issues into consideration. For example, regardless of how powerful in vitro may beamong other computational strategies, they are unable to give insight into the complex interactions that occur in cells and organs as possible in whole animals. Second, most experiments currently conducted on non-human primates in the drug development process concern toxicological screening. Notably, there are numerous in vitro tests available for prescreening the potential toxicity of the drug. However, it is cumbersome to employ in vitro methodologies by themselves in the evaluation of drug safety without using them on non-human primates (National Publishing Group 1). As will be proved further, the experimentation on animals is indispensable in contemporary medicine

Critics of using animal models have long argued that the practice is counterproductive for gainig insight in human biology due to the numerous failures that have been observed. The critics maintain that results from non-human primates rarely correspond to what the researchers later observe in human beings. This lack of correspondence, therefore, according to the critics, invalidates the use of animals in experimentation. Nonetheless, this perspective disregards cases in which experimentation on non-human primates has resulted in momentous success concerning human therapies. For instance, testing on animals led to a successful development of Parkinson’s disease therapy. Currently, many scientists regard the development of deep-brain stimulation as a therapeutic gold standard. The test on non-human primate model revealed that high-frequency stimulation or destruction of the sub-thalamic nucleus reversed symptoms of Parkinson (National Publishing Group 1).   

Critics of use of animals as research models argue that animals have rights; thus, human beings should take into considerations the moral interests of animals. They argue that using animals in research simply because of their non-human descent amounts to “speciesism.” They maintain that speciesism is as awful and unacceptable as racism and sexism and should, therefore, be abandoned. However, the reasoning is questionable; apparently, it advocates for the rights of animals above human rights (Hobson-West 655). In essence, stem cells and animals that are widely used in research are not human beings, using them in a reasonable manner does call for the unethical label placed by critics on researchers (657).   

Researchers have found monkeys and apes predominantly attractive as test organisms due to their phylogenetic proximity to human beings. Contrarily, critics argue that this evolutionary closeness makes it more unethical for researchers to use non-human primates as experimental models. Nevertheless, this line of reasoning fails to put crucial issues into consideration. Aspects such as personhood and sociability of non-human primates are still highly debated by scholars. Drawing conclusions on the ethical responsibility of human beings over non-human primates sounds premature at this juncture (National Publishing Group 2).   

The level of stress thhat experimentation causes the animals has been one of the major challenges faced by researchers. Critics insist that the high level of stress that the experiments puton the study organisms impacts negatively on the results. They maintain that stress can prompt bewildering factors that might obscure precise answers to the research questions under investigation. Moreover, they argue that causing disturbance and inflicting stress on the study organisms are unethical and unfounded. The notion that research causes animals unnecessary stress has led to the establishment of institutional committees to prevent researchers from performing “excessively stressful” (Langkilde 1).

Policymakers, among other stakeholders, have apparently assumed a relatively conservative position on the controversial issue. They try to please critics as well as the advocates of the topic. While the policy makers admit that the experimentation on animals is essential, they argue that development of alternatives is timely (National Publishing Group 1). Overall, educating those who use animals in research concerning ethical practices should be prioritized rather than calling for a complete abandonment of experimentation on animals. Researchers should be sensitized on the need of abating the number of live animals employed in research to the minimum possible number. In addition, pain, stress and suffering that the animals encounter should not go beyond the necessary level for obtaining reliable results. Although the regulations are necessary, they should not be to a level that they constrain the research process (Goldenberg 2).

Evidently, the debate on the necessity of using animals has been a protracted one. The critics insist that observations that have been made on non-human primates have largely failed to materialize in human beings. In addition, using animals as models puts the animals in unwarranted stress and the practice should be abandoned altogether. Conversely, they have failed to consider the progress towards the advancement of human health through experimentation using animals. So long as testing on animals is done within acceptable ways, this practice remains indispensable in the contemporary medicine. Instead of criticisms, different stakeholders ought to come together for the betterment of research.

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