It is stated that more than 100 million animals die each year in experimentation. Only a small percentage of them are going to survive. The issue of animal testing has brought a lot of controversies around the world. Is animal testing for non-essential medication morally wrong? There are many aspects to the problem. There are both people in favor of and against animal testing. In my opinion, any kind of animal abuse is morally wrong.
First and foremost, we should start by asking ourselves what does it mean to act morally. To act morally means to follow established rules. A person who acts morally adheres to certain rules of behavior. In other words, he acts in a manner consistent with his conscience. He can distinguish what is right or wrong. However, everyone has different morals. Some people might have different perceptions of what is good or bad.
Without a doubt, there are myriad of people who act immorally. Acts of immoral behavior include stealing, murdering, or fraud. Also, cruel acts done on animals can be considered morally wrong. What is most devastating is the fact that these animals are innocent and helpless. Animal abuse is a serious issue humanity has been dealing with. Supporters of animal rights fight for a ban on experimenting on animals. On the other hand, there are people who claim that animals are strongly needed in research.
From my point of view, the disadvantages of animal testing outweigh the advantages. Animals like mice, rats, frogs, or guinea pigs are used each year in brutal experiments. For instance, they are used by students and teachers in laboratories. Very common these days is cosmetics testing. Besides, they are used for testing drugs for humans. These animals are usually kept in horrible conditions before they die. The substance which is going to be tested is given to the animal. Next, the animal is under observation for several days. Without a doubt, these animals experience terrible torture.
On the other hand, some people state that animal testing causes a lot of benefits for human beings. Many scientists say that animal testing is conducted for the benefit of people. It is a fact that without these animals we wouldn’t have had different kinds of vaccines that save people’s life. What needs to be mentioned is that animal testing allows you to capture the negative sides of products. As a result, they are protecting people from using them. However, scientists should consider different ways of testing drugs or chemicals without harming helpless animals.
There are different ways of looking at this problem. When testing those products, many animal lives are exposed to side effects or even death. On the one hand, we can consider animal testing as a cruel practice that should end immediately around the world. On the other hand, animal testing shows a negative side of products. Therefore, these animals contribute to saving people’s lives. I believe cosmetics that were animal-tested should be prohibited. When it comes to medication, I would suggest alternative ways to test products.
The ethical side of animal testing is shown in the book “Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals” by Peter Singer. The Australian philosopher raises an important and interesting voice in the discussion about animal abuse. Singer describes the brutality of animal testing and gives alternatives to animal tests. He mentions the concept of speciesism. The philosopher states that speciesism, “is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species” (Singer, 1975, p. 6). This idea suggests that each species, both human and animals, should be treated equally.
Peter Singer, who is a supporter of animal rights, gives strong arguments on why animal testing is morally wrong. Without a doubt, animal abuse is morally wrong because it causes animal horrible pain. According to Singer, moral norms should not only apply to humans, but to all of the beings who are able to feel pain. In my opinion, human beings have been really selfish. I think morality means almost nothing when compared with their egoistic interests.
It is known that there is a big difference between human and non-human animals. As a result, there was formed some kind of inequality. People have always been superior to animals. We kill them to eat nutritious food or to have a soft winter coat. It is hard to implement changes to these behaviors because humanity has learned to do it to survive. In my opinion, it is shocking that killing an animal seems easier than killing a human being. Almost everyone is aware that killing a person is morally wrong. I think we are equal with animals when it comes to feeling pain or happiness I believe that this is the reason we should consider killing them as an immoral act.
Peter Singer explains that if we think killing a human is a horrible act then, we shouldn’t harm animals either. Even though there are many differences between an animal and a human, it doesn’t mean they should be killed based on a fact that they are, for example, intellectually developed at a lower level than humans. Singer concludes, “The claim to equality does not depend on intelligence, moral capacity, physical strength, or similar matters of fact. Equality is a moral idea, not assertion of fact” (Singer, 1975, p. 4).
When it comes to exploitation, it is beneficial to mention the social system in Feudal Europe. Peasants would spend their entire lives as farmers working in the fields for their lords. Every kind of exploitation of a human being eventually ended. It was morally wrong to use other people because of their different skin color or financial status. Therefore, I think the matter of animal abuse should be considered the same way. To this Singer would comment, “There is no logically compelling reason for assuming that a factual difference in ability between two people justifies any difference in the amount of consideration we give to their needs and interests” (Singer, 1975, p. 5). Just because animals don’t have the same interests as human beings, that doesn’t justify causing them pain. What is more, I believe animals have the same needs as human beings. Both humans and animals need other human affection and compassion.
In conclusion, cosmetics testing, chemical testing, or medication testing can be replaced with different types of testing. Testing non-essential products like a shampoo should stop immediately. Non-essential medication testing should be replaced with alternative ways of testing. I believe medicine is developed enough to try different ways of experimentation that could stop harming other species. What is more, some animals may react differently to a substance which can make the results imprecise. Singer also suggests trying to become a vegetarian. It is a fact that people can survive without eating meat. Eating vegetables can be more beneficial than eating meat. I’m deeply convinced that animal testing can be avoided and they should be replaced immediately. Not only testing for non-essential products is useless but it also causes extreme pain to innocent animals.
On the other hand, some people believe animals are necessary for research. It is said that scientists use animals for testing products to make our lives better. It is a fact that animals contributed to the development of vaccines and new medical treatments. The philosopher Carl Cohen shows a different point of view compared to Singer’s. Cohen in his article “The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research”, describes why he thinks animals have no rights. According to Cohen, animals can’t have rights because “Animals… lack the capacity for free moral judgment. They are not beings of a kind capable of exercising or responding to moral claims. Animals therefore have no rights, and they can have none…” (Cohen, 1986, p. 866). However, I believe animals possess a sense of morality. They can tell if a person is bad. Animals have the awareness of what is surrounding them and they can react in different situations. They can show love, anger or, happiness. Therefore, I believe animals possess the capacity for free moral judgment.
What is more, Cohen states that there are many positive aspects of animal testing. He states “The sum of the benefits of their use is utterly beyond quantification. The elimination of horrible disease, the increase of longevity, the avoidance of great pain, the saving of lives, and the improvement of the quality of lives…” (Cohen, 1986, p. 868). I don’t fully agree with the author. I believe people should stop acting selfishly. I’m fully convinced there are many different ways that a test can be conducted. It is a truly coward behavior to use animals that are not able to defend themselves. I’d suggest coming up with an idea that would be beneficial for both a human being and an animal.
I can’t agree with Cohen’s ideas who states that “It would be a serious error to suppose, however, that alternative techniques could soon be used in most research now using live animal subjects” (Cohen, 1986, p. 868). Cohen fully disagrees with the idea of using alternative methods of animal testing. He believes that nothing can replace living organisms. I partly agree that testing a drug gives the best results on living organisms. However, it is beneficial to create ways of testing that could save not only people’s lives but also animals.
As I showed above there are two sides to looking at this problem. In my point of view, these two philosophers have different morals. Their personal believes and values differ from each other. Singer believes that testing drugs or cosmetics is sometimes unnecessary due to the alternative ways of testing products. Cohen, however, thinks that sometimes we have to harm an animal in order to save someone’s life. I deeply support Singer’s ideas I found his book highly eye-opening and persuasive. It made me realize that experiments on animals shouldn’t be carried out if they raise moral and ethical reservations.
Testing non-essential products like cosmetics or some medication should be avoided. When it comes to drugs that save our lives we could consider using alternative ways such as using human cells. I think the main difference should be made in our thinking and the way we perceive things. Human beings are aware what is morally wrong, for example, killing a human being. We know that he and his family would suffer. Killing an animal also causes extreme suffering. I believe that with high developed technology, animal test will soon be abolished all around the world.
- Cohen, C. (1986). The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research. New England Journal of Medicine. 315: 865-870. Retrieved from https://animalstudiesrepository.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=moreaexp
- Singer, P. (1975). All Animals Are Equal... In Animal Liberation. A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. (pp. 1–23). HarperCollins. Retrieved from https://www.uvm.edu/rsenr/wfb175/singer.pdf