This study is based on secondary data to study how animal testing has affected the public and their attitude towards it. It also hoped to encourage people to support or join the Cruelty Free International such as the organization of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Choose Cruelty Free and the company such as The Body Shop and Lush.
The animal welfare and ethical issues of animal testing in Hong Kong are being concerned, Claudia Mo of the Hong Kong Legislative Council even mentioned the control of animal testing during the meeting (GovHK Press Releases, 2018). The different aspects of animal testing will be included in this review with examples, the benefits and consequences of animal testing, for example, it is time-consuming, requires qualified scientists and high costs. Besides, the ethical issues that why animal testing is acceptable or unacceptable will be discussed, for example, the pain, suffer and death that caused to the animals during the experiments are needed to consider. Moreover, a 3 Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement) strategy is an important method for solving the experiment of animal problems.
2. Literature Review
Animal testing is any form of scientific test or experiment that forced an animal to undergo and cause them suffering or pain. It involves injecting or compel feeding possibly destructive contents or inhaling toxic chemical gas, disclosing animals to radiation, tissues or organ removal surgeries that cause damage of the animals and put the animals under terrifying conditions (Cruelty Free, 2018). The purpose of animal testing mainly divided into three types, cosmetics, drug development, researches for science or, health and medical. For examples, the cosmetic company utilizes animal testing to ensure their products will not cause negative responses in humans such as irritation or allergy. Animal testing applied in researches is because the physiology of animals such as mouse shares the similarity of human (Johnson, 2018).
According to the California Biomedical Research Association (2015), there are approximately 17 to 23 million animals are applied in researches per year. The majority of those animals are mice and rat, the other animals include rabbits, frogs and guinea pigs.
2.1 Benefits of Animal Testing
The animal testing benefit human in different ways, for instance, the first successful human kidney transplant could not accomplish in the mid-1900s if the surgery was not perfect by animal testing previously. Also, the development of vaccines and antibiotics, studying HIV and cancers. Animal testing helps us to access the side effects of medicine (Rogers, 2007). Apart from that, the insulin for diabetes was discovered and invented by dog experiments (Understanding Animal Research, 2014), it helps the scientists finding a new method to inject insulin without using needles and syringes.
In addition, according to Foundation for Biomedical Research (2018), there are 180 of 216 Nobel award recipients in the Medicine or Physiology category are used animal experiments, it shows that animal testing is significant in medical researches.
2.2 Drawback of Animal Testing
However, animal testing can cause the animal pain and suffer, it is cruel and inhumane. For example, the “Draize Test” refers to the cosmetic company kept the rabbit eyelids opened with clips for days exorbitantly, as it prevents they blink and affect the experiment results (Scientific American, 2019). Also, animal testing is costly, time-consuming and unreliable. With reference to Cruelty Free (2018), the USA offers $50 billion each year in scientific researches, and there are over 1,000 successful results in animal testing but only around 10% can carry on to human trails.
There are also alternative methods available now to replace animal testing, A UK-based laboratory has started to use human skin cells for cosmetic tests (Stock, 2016), it reveals a new direction that cosmetic product tests can be done without animals. The ethical cosmetic companies, Lush, also deliver their product ingredients to the laboratory as they have fighting animal testing for over 30 years.
- California Biomedical Research Association. (2015). CBRA fact sheet: why are animal necessary in biomedical research. Retrieved from
- Cruelty Free International. (2018). What is animal testing. Retrieved from https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/what-animal-testing
- Foundation for Biomedical Research. (2018). Nobel Prizes in medicine. Retrieved from https://fbresearch.org/medical-advances/nobel-prizes/
- GovHK Press Releases. (2018). Control of experiments on animals. Retrieved from https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201803/21/P2018032100241.htm?fontSize=1
- Johnson, S. (2018). What is the purpose of animal testing. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/purpose-animal-testing-6552791.html
- Rogers. K. (2007). Scientific alternatives to animal testing: A progress report. Retrieved from http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/09/scientific-alternatives-to-animal-testing-a-progress-report/
- Scientific American. (2019). Do cosmetic companies still test on live animals. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cosmetics-animal-testing/
- Stock. M. (2016). Human skin used in animal-free cosmetic tests. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-animal-free-testing/human-skin-cells-used-in-animal-free-cosmetic-tests-idUSKCN0Z91YE
- Understanding Animal Research. (2014). Insulin for diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/why/human-health/insulin-for-diabetes