Animal research has played a significant role in different scientific and medical discoveries over the last century and continues to be used to understand various diseases. Medical advances have ensured that people can enjoy better life as research leads to the development of new medications and treatments for different illnesses. Nevertheless, using animals in research has been subjected to intense debate for several years. The opponents of animal research contend that the practice is cruel and pointless regardless of its benefits to the medical world. Others report that using animals in research has brought misleading findings that can harm humans. With the morality of animal testing questionable, the use of animals in research should be banned.
One of the primary cons of animal research is that it subjects animals to extreme cruelty, making it completely unnecessary. According to Festing and Wilkinson (2007), animal rights activists, extremists, and anti-vivisectionist groups contend that animal experimentation is ruthless regardless of its benefits in medical research. These groups believe there is no middle ground, calling for the complete abolition of the practice. During animal experiments, the selected animals are usually subjected to cruel environments that can change their behaviors, including isolation, caging, and dissections. Specifically, animal dissection is increasingly cruel as it leads to the death of animals in challenging conditions. Killing animals is morally wrong as it goes against Christian beliefs that require humans to protect life. At the same time, animals deserve ethical treatment, which should include the same amount of respect humans receive (Liou, 2010). Animals, like humans, can feel pain, making the practice highly cruel to animal lives (Garner, 2016). Thus, killing animals in research centers is increasingly immoral and should be stopped.
Additionally, researchers report that animal experiments can be misleading. Your Genome (2017) reports that there is no perfect animal model as they differ from humans. Some factors influencing the validity and accuracy of animal experiment results include the impacts of the laboratory environment, differences between animal disease models and human illnesses, and the differences in species genetics and psychology (Akhtar, 2015). It can be noted that laboratory environments and procedures can affect experimentation results. Significantly, Akhtar (2015) highlights that laboratory conditions influence animals’ behaviors and psychology that are challenging to control and can impact the overall research findings. Within the laboratories, animals are involuntarily subjected to artificial environments, with the lighting, noise from humans, and restrictions preventing species-specific behaviors, resulting in distress, anxiety, and abnormal behaviors (Akhtar, 2015). Further, there is a growing discordance between animal disease models and human conditions. The low congruence between animal models and human illnesses can challenge the translational reliability of research findings.
Furthermore, the animals deployed in research have interspecies variations in genetics, behavior, pharmacokinetics, and psychology. It is worth noting that interspecies variations can significantly limit the suitability and reliability of animal experiment results. For instance, in spinal cord injury, drug testing findings depend on the species and the strain of the specific animal species used due to the several interspecies and interstrain variations in anatomy, behavior, and neurophysiology (Akhtar, 2015). Spinal cord injury micropathology, repair mechanisms, and injury recovery vary among the various mice and rat strains.
With the lack of accuracy, it can be noted that the results from misleading animal experiments harm humans. Medical research has been subject to various complexities over the past decades, while subtle biological system nuances have resulted in challenges. While some researchers report that some of the findings emerging from animal research are better than the lack of information, it can be argued that misleading information is worse (Akhtar, 2015). The nonpredictive animal experiments generate misleading efficacy and safety data, resulting in the possible abandonment of effective medical treatments and resource misdirection away from potentially efficient testing approaches (Akhtar, 2015). Misleading animal testing findings subject humans to significant harm. Inaccurate animal experiment results can lead to the clinical trials of harmful or biologically faulty substances that can expose patients to risks while also wasting research resources. Animal toxicity tests have emerged as extremely poor predictors of toxic drug effects. For instance, there has been human harm from experiments on stroke and TGN1412 since investigators relied on the efficacy and safety profile of the new medications using animal experiments (Akhtar, 2015). It is reported that around 92% of medicines often fail in human clinical trials despite showing safety and efficacy in animals (Cruelty Free International, 2023). Urology drugs have been shown to have the least success rate at 4%, heart drugs have 5%, and cancer medicines with 6% success rate (Cruelty Free International, 2023). Overall, animal experiments can produce misleading results that can harm humans.
While researchers have continued using animal research findings to find breakthroughs in various human illnesses, the practice remains highly unethical. Animal experimentation subjects animals to cruel treatment. Like humans, animals feel pain and should be treated respectfully, which is not the case in animal testing. The caging, artificial laboratory environment, and dissection subject animals to extremely cruel treatments. Further, animal experiment results are not accurate since the laboratory environment, differences between animal disease models and human infections, and the variances in species genetics and psychology affect the validity and accuracy of the findings. Such inaccuracies can subject humans to enormous suffering. Therefore, there is a need to ban the use of animals in experiments regardless of their contribution to human disease research.
Akhtar, A. (2015). The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 24(4), 407-419. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180115000079
Cruelty Free International. (2023). Arguments against animal testing. https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/about-animal-testing/arguments-against-animal-testing
Festing, S., & Wilkinson, R. (2007). The ethics of animal research: talking point on the use of animals in scientific research. EMBO reports, 8(6), 526-530. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.embor.7400993
Garner, S. (2016, Feb. 14). The ‘necessity’ of animal research does not mean it’s ethical. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/02/14/464265210/the-necessity-of-animal-research-does-not-mean-it-s-ethical
Liou, S. (2010). The ethics of animal experimentation. HOPES Huntington’s Disease Information, 6. https://hopes.stanford.edu/animal-research/
Your Genome. (2017, March 03). Should animals be used in research?https://www.yourgenome.org/debates/should-animals-be-used-in-research/