By: Ellie Eason
Should we do animal testings?
Animal testings can be very helpful. They can help us find medicines and also find things that might not work. However, there are also many downsides to animal testings. Medicines can work differently on humans, there are new and different ways to test medicine, animal testings are more expensive, and the animals are harmed in the process of the testings. For these reasons, I believe that we should stop animal testings.
The way drugs work on animals can be different than humans. Animals have different anatomic, metabolic, and cellular layouts then humans. This means that some of the drugs that work on animals, may not work for humans. In total, 94% of the drugs that pass animal testings, fail human clinical trials. For example, the sleeping pill, thalidomide, in the 1950s caused 10,00 babies to be born with deformities whereas when later tested on pregnant animals such as rats, guinea pigs, cats, and hamsters, the animals did not have any differences unless they were given too much. This also happened with the drug, Vioxx, that was used to protect hearts, too. It worked for mice but when given to humans, caused 27,000 heart attacks, and sudden cardiac deaths.
Alternative methods of testing now exist which can replace the need of animals. Scientists can now use methods such as Vitro testing when human cells are used which can give more accurate results. Medicines such as EpiDerm and ThinCert use human skin cells which can give more accurate results than testing on animal skin.
Animal testings are also more expensive. In a study from the Humane Society International shows that on an "unscheduled DNA synthesis," $32,000 was spent on animal testings while the alternative cost $11,000. On a "rat phototoxicity test," $11,500 was spent whereas the non-animal test costs $1,300. A "rat uterotrophic assay" costs $29,600 whereas the non-animal test costs $7,200. In conclusion, the Us National Institute of Health spends $14 billion of its $31 billion annual budget on animal research.
Animals are also not protected. 95% of the animals used in experiments are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act. It does not cover rats, mice, fish, or birds. In total, in 2010, 1,134,693 animals were covered. This leaves around 25 million others that are not protected. Even of the animals that were protected by the act are still abused. In March of 2009, the Human Society of the United States found 338 possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the New Iberia Research Center. An example of this is in 2011, three baby mice were found sealed alive in a bag on the counter of a laboratory in the University of California at Davis Center for Neuroscience.
But . . .
You might think that in some cases, animals are better to use because they prevent the use of human subjects. It would be considered unethical to use a human test subject in some cases, such as evolving or manipulating human genes. Although this is true, what prevents you from using those other test methods as listed above? Those test methods take cells or parts of other humans and uses them for tests. These will be more accurate then testing on animals.
But . . .
Also, it is said that animals benefit from the tests. It has saved many animals from rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and more. However, there is more harm than good. With all the abuse that happens while they are being tested on and the pains that a failed medicine could cause, animals are harmed more than they benefit. In 2010, the US Department of Agriculture reported that 97,123 animals had pain during an experiment with no anesthesia for relief. This is yet another reason why animals should not be used for testings.
But . . .
Finally, people believe that animals are essential to science. In 2011, a poll found that almost 90% of biomedical scientists believed that animals were needed. Again, This is not true because there are new ways to test things. There are many different ways to test medicines using more accurate ways such as using real human skin cells rather than animal skin.
In conclusion, although animal testing does profit some people, because of the way the animals are treated and the alternatives that could replace animal testings, I believe that animal testings should be stopped. It would be cheaper, more accurate, and better for the animals if we stopped these cruel tests.