The entire history of human civilization is inseparable from the relationship with animals. Nevertheless, if earlier these relationships were based solely on joint existence on the planet, nowadays these relationships have acquired a completely different character. For many decades in a row, people perceive animals not only as ‘our little friends’, but first of all as experimental material. It is a common-known fact that the animals available in various laboratories are used by researchers for a variety of experiments, ranging from pharmacological studies and ending with testing cosmetic products. In the modern world, the problem of using animals in experiments is quite acute; moreover, there are a number of pros and cons of this aspect of modern experimental science. Of course, the justifying fact is that such experiments and studies on animals have given people the opportunity to better investigate a number of dangerous diseases and consequently to develop methods to combat them, or even find ways to prevent them. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that such actions that are aimed at the benefit of people and civilization at the same time often neglect not only the rights of animals but ultimately their lives. We sacrifice those whom we have to love so much and call ‘our little friends’ choosing first of all human needs in the field of medicine, cosmetology or other science, but animals in their turn do not have any right to choose at all.
Cruel actions towards animals in the form of various scientific experiments and tests are to be forbidden since they are not justifying the sacrifice of the life of a living being, despite the fact that the results of these studies are sometimes useful for a number of scientific fields.
The scientific tradition of using animals in experiments has a long history and has its roots in ancient times, moreover, according to the statements of some historical sources, the ancient Greek doctors were the first to use animals in their research. In addition, Rachel Hajar in her article ‘Animal Testing and Medicine’ also argues, that Aristotle and Erasistratus were the first doctors-scientists who not only have studied animals but also conducted experiments on them (Hajar 42). A keen interest in the study of animals, as well as experimental studies related to them, was increasing over the time and centuries, and now it is difficult to imagine a modern research field without the application of experiments on animals. This side of modern science has become so much ingrained in the consciousness of society that for many people such methods of study are considered to be quite acceptable. Indeed, it is hard to deny the fact that animal experiments have made many useful discoveries in the world of science, and as a result, has brought new visions of studies various diseases.
Despite some immoral and cruel aspects of such studies, they still brought excellent results primarily in the field of medicine, since it was the first area of study where experiments on animals began to use. It is impossible not to admit the fact that, first of all, such serious and dangerous diseases as cancer, AIDS, or even some types of addictions, such as drug addiction, were studied more deeply due to such experiments. Thus, in the 40s, in the process of conducting experiments on animals, some of the causes of cancer have been established, namely, scientists have found that asbestos, as well as low-level ionizing radiation, often contribute to the emergence of cancer cells (Anderegg et al. 1). Major discoveries in AIDS research field have also been made through the use of rabbits and chimpanzees during studies of this disease, where the above-mentioned animals have helped not only to establish the symptoms and progress of the disease but also have been used in testing various anti-AIDS therapies (Anderegg et al. 2). In addition to the study of severe diseases, various drugs are also being studied on animals. The twentieth century was truly the greatest surge in medicine testing on animals because it was the period when the greatest pharmaceutical factories and plants began to develop. In addition, in 1938, the United States adopted the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requiring all manufacturers of food, drugs, cosmetics and other human consumption products to conduct mandatory testing of their products on animals before starting production (Hajar 43). Nowadays there is a completely opposite trend when manufacturers deliberately indicate on their products that their products are not tested on animals. First of all, this trend has appeared due to a change in society’s perception of the problem of animal research. More and more common people, as well as scientists, are convinced that modern science should leave experiments on animals in the past. In addition, this assumption is grounded on well-founded scientific facts, which claim that more and more modern research can be carried out without the obligatory use of animals. Thus, for example, most scientists agree that not always certain animal testing products have the same effect on humans (Anderegg et al. 10). In addition, despite some similarities in the structure of cells and body systems, the human body is still different from the animal body; hence one cannot give an absolute guarantee of some products safe for humans by testing it only on animals (Hajar 44). The same can be said about the study of human diseases in animal models. In most cases, the results of studies cannot give an absolute picture of a certain disease, because there are always a number of deviations affecting the final result. Aisha Akhtar, in her article on animal experiments, argues that there is always a sufficient share of deviation between “human illnesses and the same diseases that artificially developed in animals” (Akhtar 409). According to her opinion, the result of such inconsistencies in research lies in ‘interspecies differences in physiology and genetics’, which in their turn prevent the establishment of the final conclusion in the experiment (Akhtar 410). Thus we can say that such experiments do not always support a particular theory, in addition, they often only harm both the person and the animal. The problem is that if the experiment harms the person, it is the choice of the person itself since even Akhtar claims that in most of the cases ‘people are harmed because of deceptive animal testing results'(Akhtar 412). Nevertheless, in the cases when researches harm to animals, it is worth noting that they have no choice because they are only a research tool in the human’s hands.
The above-mentioned opinion is now spreading in all countries where experiments on animals are considered a relic of the past and nothing more than cruelty to other living beings. Previously, scientists only studied the effect of various diseases or medications on the animal’s condition and did not take into account the feelings of the animal at all. Now one can see a quite different picture when more and more scientists practically demonstrate what harm animals get during the experiment. Hence, it was practically brought that the animal just as the human experiences pain, fear, panic and many more negative emotions associated with their exploitation (Newkirk 30). Newkirk also states that about “millions of animals are used in experiments every year”, and very often these animals die from cruel and useless experiments (Newkirk 29). Thus, almost all the scientific articles’ authors mentioned in this essay agree that now humanity does not need such experiments on animals, since modern scientific and technical progress allows not using tissues of living beings, but instead of it artificial models may be applied.
Thus, one can conclude that modern science, as well as medicine, no longer needs endless and highly cruel experiments and research on animals, which are often useless. If earlier such studies were necessary for the study of various diseases or testing of certain products, it is evidenced the opposite, namely that the results obtained in animal studies often have a very different result if applied to humans. This is due to a number of genetic and physiological differences between humans and animals. Therefore, humanity must stop destroying innocent animals under the guise of scientific research, and instead one must come to understand that animals are not a tool for experiments, but our little friends.