Animal Testing & Animal Rights

by Yuan-Ku Luo on February 27, 2013 - 12:12pm

Animal testing is one of the most debatable topics in many areas, including legislation, ethic, science and environmental study. Most of the time when people think about animal testing, they think of animal abuse, and will have the bias of animal testing is morally unacceptable. However, there are many ways to look into this issue, whether it’s truly unacceptable or not.  This post will mostly focus on the negative influence of animal testing bases on the argument of Peter Singer, the article “Animal research is a source of human compassion, not a shame” published on Lancet and a news report on “Animal Testing of Cosmetic officially banned in European Union” posted by Green Canada. 

Follow the newest post “Animal Testing of Cosmetic officially banned in European Union” by Green Canada on 2013 February 6th, they release a new announcement from European about the legislation change on animal testing. This news says after 23 years of striking, the European countries finally establish laws against animal testing on cosmetic. Organizations point out the reason why they think it should be prohibit by laws is because, most companies force to feed animals in order to collect the data, and products they are testing might have side effect on their skin and also scientists will force animals swallow large amounts of a test chemical to determine the effect, and it does that cause death. There are 12 million animals a year are used in Europe for this purpose and many of them dead because of the testing (Green Canada).  So question occurs, should we do animal testing? Is it morally acceptable to do such an action because we as human know animals cannot speak for themselves?

According to Peter Singer, he thinks we can only do animal testing if it can provide an actual good to our society and have to fit the costs. He thinks animal is just liked human, they suffer just like us. He thinks we should not have the right to do whatever we want on them, they understand pains, and they have the rights to live. According to his article “2013 sees advances in humane treatment of animals” which published in 2013 February 25th, he points out the improvement of legislations on Europe and the United States. Like mentioned above, Europe government just pass a law to against animal testing on cosmetics few weeks ago, and US’s Human Society has start movements on against the use of sow stalls (it’s a 2 feet wide by 7 feet long cages, and pigs can only live in this environment for their entire life). Singer says he is look forward to seeing the animal liberation to have a great improvement in this year; he thinks animal testing is the same as human slavery. If we have successfully ended human slavery, we should also give animal the rights of life.

After reading so many stories about the negative side of animal testing, then is there any positive affect about animal testing?  The answer is yes, according to the article “Animal research is a source of human compassion, not shame” posted by Lancent. It points out the idea of the use of animals in medical research has save many people’s life. Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent). It is true that animal testing has its benefit to our society, but like stated by Peter Singer, “we can only do it for a better good”, in other word, we should not abuse our sources on animal testing. Animal testing can only be allowed when we know it’s worthy, because every animal is a life, we should not abuse it.

In conclusion, I think the reason why animal testing is so debatable is because we cannot live without it. Nowadays many of the medical discoveries are contributed by the results of animal testing. However, Peter Singer is right; as long as animals can suffer like each one of us, then ethically we should respect their life like we respect ours. For actions like animal testing on cosmetics and the use of sow stalls, we’ve knew that the cost did not fit the price, animals are suffer too much for an unnecessary result. This is the time when legislation take the place to protect the animals by establish laws. Overall, I think the easiest way to look at animal rights is too see them as human. All of us are just one of the species on earth; none of us is more important than the others. Ethically we should respect them, and legislationlly we should establish laws to protect them from those who don’t want to respect them. 

Comments

Hey! I like your take on animal testing I agree that there are many disadvantages to these tests and that it should only be done when it is absolutely necessary. I wrote an article debating animal abuse also. Mine discusses the physical and psychological effects of puppy mills on dogs. Here's the link:http://newsactivist.com/node/1477 :)  

I think the only reason animals are the ones being tested on is because they have no control over the matter. If they did, there would also be some humans being tested on. I agree that this situation is debateable, because I do see both sides, however I still believe it's wrong, because it's unfair how the animals don't have a choice. I regard animals as equal, therefore I strongly agree with your point: "[...] I think the easiest way to look at animal rights is too see them as human." 

I enjoyed your conclusion it was well stated. In theory animal testing is cruel and wrong, but on the other side of the fence if we did not have animal testing would we have the break throughs and improvements for certian medicines. We all know its not right to test on innocent creatures but if we did not have animals to test on would science turn to human testing. Would human testing be ethical? If its not being tested on animal would humans be the next resource is another question to think about.

Your statements are very interesting, and bring up good points on both the negative and positive effects of animal testing. I believe that animal testing should be avoided if it could, but ultimately like you said without it there would be a decrease in the new medical discoveries. It is sad to see the conditions that these animals are put in for these testings. There should be different ways of doing testings that do not involve animals but unfortunately until now it seems like the closest thing, other than actually testing it on actual humans. 

I like the comparison you give about human slavery against animal rights because it demonstrates the moral inequalities we have experienced and are clearly capable of overcoming. I believe it is immoral to test on animals for things such as cosmetics because there are alternatives, for example, vegan products that are sold at department stores such as “Live Clean”.  On the other hand I believe that animal testing in the medical realm could be acceptable when done in a fair manner. I think this is acceptable if the animals aren’t put through the tests their whole lives because it benefits the greater good for humans and animals could also be given a fair chance to live afterwards. Also people often ask why the tests don’t get tested on humans who have given consent instead of animals who haven’t, but the reality is that they do after being labeled as safe. I believe we should be grateful we have the opportunity to potentially be able to save loved ones from illness with the help of animals. 

Although this is a controversial and overly debated topic that has been discussed from both positions, the arguments that are put forth in this article are ones that I have never thought about before. For instance how animal testing is the same as human slavery. We as humans exploit animals from having a life so that we can have an enriched life. We use them to find cures for life-threatening diseases, and to create medical improvements. After reading this article, I reflected upon an argument that goes against the idea of testing on animals. According to ethics, there are three conditions that must be followed in order to be considered as autonomous. These conditions are as follows: 1) the individual is free of external constraints and internal compulsion, 2) an individual must be capable of rational deliberation, and 3) an individual must be capable of discerning, reflecting upon and choosing his/her own goal. With this being said, animals do not have autonomy when it comes to the topic of animal testing. If animals are not autonomous, should we, as humans, be given the right to decide what can and can’t be done to them?

hey, nice point, i didnt thought of bringing the argument of autonomous into this post. 
you are right, according to the idea of autonomous, animals are not making their choices freely
they dont even have a choice i should say... however, maybe we can consider those "greater good" mentioned in my article are also benefiting animal's life quality? even though it's still sounds wrong in the sense that we make the choice for them, but i think it will make the whole argument a little bit stronger?
at the end, like i said, animal rights can only be establish when we start seeiing them as us no differently :)
by then, they will have every rights because we cannot do anything to them but respect their rights of life just like how we deal with other human beings. 

I really like the comparison between animal testing and human slavery. They both remove the individuals right for free will and with that, if slavery is wrong then so is animal testing. Someone here in the comments mentioned that it is necessary for us to do animal testing. Therefore using animals as sacrifice for our own selfish needs. But animals are just like us in a sense that they feel pain, hurt, an sadness just like us. Therefore why put them through something that we wouldn't want to go through ourselves? If it is wrong for us then it is wrong for them.

Animal testing is an ethical issue that bring up many questions, mainly on its morality. A product must always be tested before it is released to make sure it isn’t hazardous to society.  Testing on animals is the most popular way of testing products or potential cures for diseases. Like you mentioned, these tests have helped many medical discoveries, however is it ethical to test on animals and plausibly cause harm to them? Many animals suffer or even die during these procedures. Is it right to overlook their lives to improve ours? Should it be allowed to test on animals even though we are causing unnecessary suffering on them? If it is not ethical to test on humans, then why is it acceptable to test on animals?

I think your article is very good and complete. It is very interesting that it presents the good side of animal testing since we rarely hear about it. We more often talk about how it affects animals, but not how it has helped many medical discoveries. Nevertheless, why should humans be considered above animals and thus use them to improve their health?  At the same time, how could we stop animal testing when many medical discoveries have been possible because of it, is there another way to have the same results without involving animals?

Personally I believe animal testing is only acceptable when the research is conducted for medical purposes. In any case animal testing is bound to cause harm and in some extreme cases death. Animal testing for any thing that is related to beauty like makeup or creams is to me unacceptable because those things are not necessities. Also for these things we have other options to test these products. Many companies offer products that are not tested on animals and science is evolving so fast that the need to test on animals is diminishing rapidly. Facts are that animals feel and we have the responsibility to treat them humanly. We do have the resources to abolish animal testing but not right away. I do understand the purpose of this practice but if we keep defending animal rights we will have the means to find effective alternatives to animal testing.

So should we be using animals for any testing? This ethical question can be debated for weeks and no one would find a morally good answer that would be acceptable for both “For or against” opposition. 

I do not agree with Singer’s view on animal testing because it is hard think animal testing being the same as human slavery but I understand his view. The major problems with animal testing are that they will usually suffer in a horrible experience such as enduring burns, hair loss, rashes and gashes, some companies go as far as to place metal wires and rods in the animal’s head.

I am aware that animal testing is used for science such as medical improvement but it has to be done well professionally and the most human as possible. 

To conclude, I am agreeing with you on the statement; “Animal testing can only be allowed when we know it’s worthy, because every animal is a life, we should not abuse it.” The question is what to do?

You have made some good points and I totally agree with them, specifically, the argument concerning seeing animals and humans as equal beings. According to objectivism there are moral standards that are the same for everyone. Meaning, if it’s wrong for you than it must be wrong for me too and vice versa. Then why should we abuse animal rights? As you’ve mentioned before we need animals for the survival of humans. We need them for medical testing that will, eventually, help save lives. Animals are, also, used for cosmetic testing but I believe that using animals for cosmetic testing is not worth it. In addition to these reasons, animals aren’t only used for medical or cosmetic testing; they are used as food, as well. If we see animals and humans as equal beings then is it still right to eat them? I mean, I wouldn’t want to be some ones lunch only because it is beneficial to humans and nor would I want to be used for testing new products. If we believe that animals have just as the same rights as we do then we should free them from animal testing and from turning them into our food. Last but not least, science has improved, so much, I’m sure they can find a replacement to test their products on and I’m sure we can all adapt new life styles that do not involve eating animals. If it is wrong to kill humans then it should be wrong to kill animals, as well. 

This issue has a lot to debate on, but i still think that animal testing is wrong and we should treat them like we treat human. I know that without animal testing, human would not be able to discover new cure, but let think about it, how many animals die before we succeed to create a cure? There have been too many in my opinion, that why government create laws to protect animals rights. But i do understand that it is the only solution for experimenting rather than doing this on actual human.

Yeah, thats the reason why its so hard to say who is on the winning side for this debate. however, stick around with Peter Singer, I think he is correct at the point which he thinks we can do animal testing for the greater good and it must be necessary. in other words if its an experiement like a testing 10 pigs' life for a stronger advil, it should not be allow because the cost doenst fit the profit. but sadly, the other question would be, what is the "greater good", and many scientists will try all they can do to prove their experiment is for the greater good in order to justify their action. so at the end, there's still no solution for this topic yet.. 

  Though I am not totally disturbed by animal testing, I am for it being a banned practice. I feel it is has been the easy solution to testing cosmetics, and that people have grown comfortable with the practice given the amount of time it’s been in active. There are numerous cosmetic companies that do not test on animals, suggesting that there is an alternative to animal testing that does not involve humans. It would likely cost a significant amount of money in order to develop new testing methods and execute them. Cosmetic companies must see this as inconvenient, encouraging them to develop quick solutions   to avoiding the situation. I recently came across this campaign spreading awareness about animal testing to people who aren’t already interested in ending it. Lush Cosmetics organized that humans be the subjects of cosmetic testing in the window displays of their store. The performance was especially disturbing, earning them 350,000 signatures in only a week.

Here is a link to a short clip of the performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4K9iSyj_lk

This question can be answered in different ways. Some people may think that even if it causes harm to animals their contribution to the advancement of our society is more important. However, the issue here is that the society really wants to improve in particular health domains but is not able to determine what is worth it. As Peter Singer said, it is ethically incorrect to make animals suffer only for our benefit. Some acts should never be done, and make other living being harm is one of them. Peter Singer is clearly not open on other arguments than those of a deontological point of view but I agree with him. The advancement of our society cannot be done by causing harm to other populations.

I really like that you researched the good side effects of animal testing, because it is often overlooked. Whenever I hear animal testing, for some reason I always think of them being tested for makeup, so I was always against it. However I do agree with Peter Singer. He said that animal testing should only be used for the GOOD of society, and like a consequentialist, weighs the good consequences that could come from animal testing. Even people who value life could be persuaded to accept animal testing because it could potentially save many lives of people suffering from diseases. However if they can find a better way to test medication, I`d be all for it!

I liked the fact that you compared both sides of the debate, as it allows us to see the complexity of the subject. I strongly agree with your comparison of human slavery and animal testing, as both are indeed very similar. Both establish a superiority of a living “race” to another. Nothing states that humans are superior to animals, in the same way as no human is superior to another. Therefore, why would the lives of many animals be sacrificed for simple testing? Considering the opposite opinion, some questions arise: Seeing that animal testing has saved many lives, should it be regulated to allow only medical testing on animals? Should animal testing be regulated to eliminate any serious pain to animals?

I find it great that both point of views on this eternally debatable subject were included in this post. But I respectfully disagree with your opinion on only testing on animals when we know it is effective. All the medical advances found from animal testing were found using experiments, meaning that the researchers were not aware of the results of their experiments. New discoveries can only be found by taking risk and exploring new ground. Sadly, if more medical discoveries are to be made, animal testing is necessary.

I agree that using animals to test cosmetic products is a bad thing, because it does not do any good, except to the pockets of the rich. However, not all forms of animal testing are ethically equal. If the testing is used to discover lifesaving medical information, then it is good to test on animals. To me, it makes sense to use the life of a mouse to research medicine because it could save many lives. A person who values health would agree with me, because it is very important to test medical products before they are used.

c) I think that in order to reach a decision on the topic of animal testing, it first needs to be separated into two categories. On one side, we have cosmetic companies testing their new beauty products, and on the other side, we have pharmaceutical companies testing their new medications.

In my opinion, the first one is definitely ethically wrong because its only purpose is to feed the materialistic nature of human beings. I understand that beauty products have become a necessity for a lot of people, but I think that they need to reflect on all the suffering that the animals go through simply because they want to get the new mascara that makes eyelashes 30% longer compared to the older one that only makes them 25% longer. If a company managed to create an innovative product that does something that others cannot do, it could at least be justified. However, as it is, most companies are simply releasing new versions of already existing products and animals end up suffering in order to allow them to sell a new kind of mascara when there are already thousands of other kinds of mascara on the market.

On the other hand, when it comes to pharmaceutical companies, there is a lot less potential for criticism because they are truly creating something useful by doing these tests. The testing isn’t done so that people can get a new kind of lipstick; it’s done in order to try to discover new medications that have the potential of saving the lives of millions of people.

Many people are divided on the subject of animal testing. On one hand, we understand that it induces suffering, but on the other, we understand that it plays a huge role in the production and distribution of commercial goods, as well as the development of medicine. The truth is that we wouldn't have many of the products or drugs that we have on the market if it weren't for animal testing. From a deontological point of view, animal testing is wrong because it causes suffering and often death among living things. The act of inducing pain upon another living creature is wrong in and of itself. Someone who holds a biocentric point of view will argue that all life is intrinsically valuable, so it is morally wrong to test harmful products on animals. From a virtue ethics point of view, animal testing is not entirely immoral, because it is done for the greater good of humanity. Think of the human lives it has saved over the past few decades. A consequentialist may be torn on the matter. On one hand, the consequences are beneficial for mankind, but on the other hand, they are detrimental for the animal test subjects. It all depends on whether you believe that a human life is more valuable than an animal's life, or if all organisms are created equal.
It's important to note that the animals used in testing include mice, rabbits, primates, dogs and pigs. These are all mammals with very similar nervous systems to ours. That said, it is very likely that they are capable of experiencing pain and misery, even if they are unable to communicate it through the use of language.
Your post included the pros and cons of animal testing, with convincing points on both sides, and I do agree that it is a very debatable subject.

Your post is interesting and well written. I like the way you stay objective so we don't know what your personal opinion really is. It is really informative and shows well the two side of the debate. You said in your conclusion that you think we still use animals to test products because we can't live without it. After a little research, I found out that it was no longer the case. Like you said in your post that animal testing is judge no longer effective, that the cost do not fit the price, and that the animal suffer too much. Peta, a non lucrative industry that fight over animal rights recently posted an article pointing out an alternative to animal testing. With the technology of today's science, a lot can be done in laboratory. They propose the in vitro technique. This consists of creating ''organs-on-chips'' made of real human cells and those chips can be used to test ''disease research, drug testing, and toxicity testing and have been shown to replicate human physiology, diseases, and drug responses more accurately than crude animal experiments do.'' This alternative sounds really more effective and ethical to me! It may not be effective for cosmetic testing... but for what it is worth we surely can find another way.
http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives...

I believe testing on animal is cruel but I also believe we need to test on animal. Although, I think testing on animal should me restricted for medical use only. If testing on animal can help cure the cancer and save millions of people I will accept it even if it’s against my moral. If medical research are allowed to use animal testing, their needs to be regulations. One of the regulations should be that the animal cannot be in too much pain or that you can only use animal that reproduces in a large number like mice. No cosmetic company should use animal testing because we can live without cosmetic product so why should we risk the life of an animal for the beauty of mankind.

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.

Your article on this ethical dilemma is very interesting. It's a known fact that testing on animals has been a continuous debate. Do they feel pain? Does it even help? Is it right ?
From an ethical point of view, it is possible to prove that animal testing is acceptable.
Firstly animal testing is done out of necessity and not a desire to cause harm, from a deontological outlook as Kant said, "the only thing inherently good is a good will." If it's the will of the scientists to help worlds suffering, to cure diseases and to help then we cannot argue that this is an unethical practice.
By theological standards (another ethical framework based on outcome vs. Action) the action itself isn't bad or good but the outcome of that action on whether it actually help or hurt people is. If we are looking at this dilemma through those lens, the positive outcome of animal testing outweighs the negative, as you wrote " Without animal testing, there will be much less medical improvement than what we have right now, and there will be no new drugs for new or hard-to-treat diseases (815. Lancent)" the outcome of these practices has saved lives and developed more medical resources to continue to help preserve lives. Since the testing is only being done for the greatest good for the greatest number and to benefit our society we can say that it is not unethical but we should not take advantage of and deplete our sources. A solution to this is to making sure the animals are treated and taken care of, that the tests are not deadly and that no animal shall go through testing for the duration of their lives.