Animal Testing in the Pursuit of Scientific Knowledge
Unnatural and/or painful situations are not ethical in the pursuit of the human condition if you ask PETA. But in order to test medicines or other practices, we need test subjects. We can’t always test things on humans as they did to many people back in the day.
The Ethical Predicament
This may be a tough decision to make, but testing has to be done for humanity to continue to grow and thrive. “The balancing process is complicated, on the one hand, by a plurality of views on our duties towards animals, and on the other hand by more recent discussions on uncertainty in the probability of reaching the final aim of the research and problems of translational failure,” (Meijboom, Kostrzewa, & Leenaars, 2020).
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The Moral Dilemma
Testing on animals is necessary. In recent decades, scientists have found it to be more proficient at using rats and mice in various surgeries, drug trials, and observations as opposed to humans. It has been found that without animal research, we would diminish as a race. “ An immediate end to animal research in the U.S. would be a death sentence for millions of people around the world,” she told Newsweek,” (Ericson, 2014).
Various alternatives to animal testing have been proposed in recent decades to outline great concerns and drawbacks associated with animal experiments. Often times experiments on animals have proved to cause unnatural and painful situations (Doke & Dhawale, 2013). It is like taking your pet to the cat or dog and making them go thru pain for science. You would immediately say no. However, if I knew that it would save my child from disease and or help find a cure, I would rethink that decision without a second. No one wants to be that person that suggests a necessary evil. The outcomes of these dreadful tests and experiments have saved many lives.
Alternative Approaches and Progress
Latvia is still experiencing one of the highest human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) mortality rates in the European Union, and HIV is the sixth leading cause of death among young adults (15-39) in the country. The aim of the study was to determine the years of potential life lost (YPPL) as an indicator of premature mortality and the associated factors among people living with HIV in Latvia. Data from the National Registry of HIV?AID Cases were used for the time period 1991-2010. (Karnite, Brigis, & Uuskula, 2012)
HIV testing has come a long way. We see people living healthy lives with the assistance of modern-day science and experiments. “Animal models offer obvious advantages in the study of HIV/AIDS, allowing for a more invasive investigation of the disease and for preclinical testing of drugs and vaccines.” (Hatziioannou & Evans, 2012)
In conclusion, I do not think it is ethical to subject animals to unnatural and/or painful situations in the pursuit of knowledge about the human condition. However, it is a necessary evil. We are growing as a population, and new viruses and diseases are surfacing daily. Even though these animals should not be harmed intentionally. Science has a need for testing and assurance.
- Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S.C. (2015). Alternatives to animal testing: A review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. 23, 223-229. doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2013.11.002
- Ericson, J. (2014, February 21). John Ericson. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/authors/john-ericson
Hatziioannou, T., & Evans, D. T. (2012). Animal models for HIV/AIDS research. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 10(12), 852–867. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2911
- Karnite, A., Brigis, G., & Uuskula, A. (2012). Years of potential life lost due to HIV infection and associated factors based on national HIV surveillance data in Latvia, 1991–2010. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 45(2), 140–146. doi:10.3109/00365548.2012.717710
- Meijboom, F. L. B., Kostrzewa, E., & Leenaars, C. H. C. (2020). Joining forces: the need to combine science and ethics to address problems of validity and translation in neuropsychiatry research using animal models.
- Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 15(1). doi:10.1186/s13010-019-0085-4