In today’s world, this topic is very controversial, in comparison to the past. In addition, it keeps growing daily. Animal testing is any type of procedure in which requires forcing live animals for purposes of research that is likely going to cause them harm, distress, and pain. In animal experiments, scientists can inject the animals with substances that could be very harmful, inhaling toxic gases or make the animals go through bad experiences to produce anxiety and depression. Most animals are killed at the end of the experiment. While animal testing can have its opportunities and drawbacks, in the end, it is to produce some type of safe product for humans.
Albert Sabin, who produced the vaccine for Polio once said, “Without animal research, polio would still be claiming thousands of lives each year.’ This is just one example of literally many cases in which animal testing has been successful and the outcome has been positive. Polio is a deadly infectious disease. It is caused by a virus called poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person´s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis to the people infected. (CDC Global Health, 2017). According to the Vaccine Knowledge Project the number of Polio cases before the vaccine was introduced in the 1950s was up to 7760 cases of paralytic polio in the UK each year, with up to 750 deaths, after the vaccine was introduced this numbers fell really quickly, since 2002 Europe has been certified as ´polio-free´ the risk of contracting this disease is very low. (Vaccine Knowledge, 2018). Looking at this information the use of animal testing has provided this successful outcome, and there are many more vaccines, cosmetic products, medications, etc developed this way. Animals themselves also benefit from the results of animal testing, because, millions of animals would have died of diseases like tetanus, bird flu, Ebola, etc if vaccines were not tested on them, many species would be endangered/extinct this present day. Ebola, which killed thousands of people, but not only humans were affected, the disease has wiped out populations of apes. Ebola killed over 5000 critically endangered western gorillas. It kills about 95% of those it infects. There was a research in 2014, scientists tested a vaccine to treat Ebola on a group of chimpanzees, and it proved to be safe and effective. (Dasgupta, S., 2015). Therefore, animal testing also takes into account the prosperity of the species being used as a tester as well as benefiting humans, with the production of cures to diseases, that can ultimately improve the quality of life for the animals and humans.
The other side of animal testing is that millions of animals are currently suffering or about to suffer due to an experiment that might not be successful or products that won’t ever reach the market. In 2004, the FDA estimated that 92% of drugs that pass preclinical tests, including “pivotal” animal tests, fail to proceed to the market. (Akhtar A., 2015). That’s why it is argued that animal testing is inhumane and barbaric, the animals used, live a low quality of life, force-feeding, long periods of physical restraint and on top of that they will be killed, in addition, they had no contribution to the advancement of the research, wasting many lives. A study looked at how an experiment to tackle Alzheimer´s disease failed, the drug Dimebon, which failed during the human trials, however, it succeeded in animal tests. (Cummings, J. L., Morstorf T., Zhong K., 2014), it is just another example of how even though the drug succeeded the animal testing it was not useful for humans, due to their differences. This leads to the fact that animals and human beings are very different from each other therefore they are poor models to be tested on. There were other several studies in which this occurred as well, which lead to a loss of valuable lives, time and financial investment that could have been used in a different sector. In addition, research and testing can be done without the involvement of animals, by using human cells and tissues (in vitro methods), advanced computer-modelling techniques (silico models), and studies using human volunteers instead of using animals against their will. (PETA,2019). These methods mean that the same outcome can be reached without the need for testing on animals, as they cannot be obstructed by species differences, which is the main reason that some medicines do not react on animals but do on human beings. This way takes less time and money to complete therefore it can go towards other researches.
In conclusion, many experiments involving animals are cruel, painful and in some cases unnecessary, although many of them have been helpful to human beings and to the animals itself. I believe that research can be undergone without the involvement of animals, and using other alternatives. However, animals are still needed but, in fewer quantities, after doing the tests on the animal alternatives, if there are no human volunteers’ animals should be used instead to view how the drug will act, as having a whole complex organism testing it, is not the same as a single cell, as there are other variables taking place, but scientists should be able to justify the use of animals for their research and also the number needed, so animals are not wasted and used insensitively, having in mind that they will suffer and possibly end up dead by the end of the experiment. The key is possibly a better regulation of animal testing and imposing better regulations which favourite animals more.