The Ethical Side of Animal Experimentation
The case of animal experimentation begins with the benefits for humanity, but is it morally acceptable to harm animals? From the beginning of science, the method of animal testing has always been in medical studies. However, today, people do not seem to agree with the continuation of the experiments. The true horror of animal experimentation has leaked out into the world, finally receiving some backlash. The feeling of being locked up in a cage for hours poked and prodded, these animals have to live with this for their whole lives because of us, humans. Animal experimentation in its true nature has not been as effective as the population believes.
Nobody knows the actual number of beneficial pharmaceutical drugs, due to the fact that they are never released because of the harmful effect they had on the animals. Drugs such as aspirin, penicillin, and ibuprofen had negative impacts on animals, but have been seen to improve human health. These drugs many years ago would have failed the experiments because of the difference in metabolic processes between species. The use of an invalid animal disease model can lead scientists and researchers in the wrong direction. Which can waste valuable time, and even money. Time after time scientists has been led down the wrong path from information received after the experiments on animals. After these scientists do their experiments, which sometimes can last for years, results proven to be inaccurate to human physiology.
Animal studies have been known not to be completely reliable to human health. There is a difference in physiology from animals to humans. Humans and mice are not the same. The genetic makeup between animals and humans is different, so the effect on medications will be independent. Although scientists have found an animal model that almost mirrors the human body, there still are some major differences between the mechanisms. Humans continue to be harmed because of the misleading information of the results of animal testing. Exposing humans to these risks is completely unnecessary. Many clinical trial patients have been provided false hope in the effectiveness and safety of animal testing.
In fact, the number one reason for abandoning promising drugs is caused by misleading animal tests. There have been innumerable amounts of studies that have proven drugs causing serious health problems in humans. The Food Drug Administration (FDA) had to remove many products off the shelf, even though these drugs have passed animal testing. Of every 5,000-10,000 potential drugs passed, only about 5 of them go through human clinical trials. Numerous drugs are abandoned because of the results in animal experimentation that do not apply to human health. As noted in the article, “The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation,” by Aysha Akhtar,
The National Institutes of Health reports that nearly 95 out of every 100 drugs that were tested on animals fail in humans.
Testing drugs or chemicals on live animals is expensive and time-consuming. More than 16 million dollars of taxpayer money is spent on animal experimentation in the United States each year, and more than half of this money is wasted. Nine out of ten drugs fail to enter clinical trials because we cannot predict how they will act within people. Animal experimentation wastes a significant amount of time and money, more importantly, animal lives. In 2004, Maria Palondi notes that Pfizer reported that these experiments had wasted more than two billion U.S dollars over the past ten years on drugs that have failed.
The federal government does not provide funding for some medical procedures because a significant number of people object to them. Then why does the federal government provide funding for laboratory experiments involving animals?
The opportunity to find an alternative to medicine is impeded because of the people’s belief that animals are still needed. Even if animals could impact human health, the greater question to ask is how this data can be applied to humans, considering the variability within the human species. Such as genetic, diet, lifestyles, and even environmental differences.
A notable experiment to remember has to do with the polio vaccine. Scientists have tried inflicting the diseases into primates over decades but failed to get anywhere. The key reason the vaccine was invented was not about the animals, rather humans, human cells. The poliovirus was injected into human cell cultures, which then grew into the vaccine known today.
Finding an alternative for animal testing can benefit human health, cost, time, and the lives of animals. Computer modeling is a lightning-fast technology, which can be used to create human-like cells, vitro. This method lowers the cost and without wasting energy on false information. Researchers from the University of Oxford have already begun using computer simulation to perform drug trials, such as testing arrhythmia. The research had already won an international prize for its efforts to replace animal experimentation. The group is now working on larger more intricate computer models to build a virtual human, that can completely take over the animal testing world.
Akhtar, A. (2015, October). The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation. Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics: CQ: the international journal of healthcare ethics committees. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594046/.
Cornett, E. M., Jones, M. R., & Kaye, A. D. (2019, May 11). Ethics of animal experimentation – springer. Ethics of Animal Experimentation. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-99124-5_25.
Gleeson, A. (2020, August 6). Animal testing outperformed by computer modelsALFIE GLEESON. BioTechniques. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.biotechniques.com/drug-discovery-development/animal-testing-outperformed-by-computer-models/.
Humane Society International. (2019, March 31). Limitations of animal tests. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.hsi.org/news-media/limitations-of-animal-tests/.
Schiffelers, M. J., Hagelstein, G., Harreman, A., & Spek, M. van der. (2005, August 1). Regulatory animal testing : A survey of the factors influencing the use of animal testing to meet regulatory requirements. DSpace Home. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/45061.