This article is a part of The Ascent Summer Program 2020
By Anoushka Kumar
Over a hundred million animals are crippled, burned, abused and poisoned in US labs every year. Animal trials are procedures performed on living animals for purposes of research within biology and on different diseases. It’s also used for assessing the efficacy of new medicinal products, and testing the safety of products like drugs and cosmetics.
Although it may seem like the most viable solution, animal testing is not only cruel, but also can be ineffective. Animals don’t get most diseases that we get, like HIV, Parkinson’s disease, most types of cancer, schizophrenia, and many more. The animals used are also treated degradingly, and are often euthanized after experiments.
Even if these experiments were more successful, it would still be morally wrong and unethical to continue this brutality, as it sentences living breathing animals to live in a laboratory and intentionally causing them pain and fear.
All these reasons are overlooked because of the belief that we are benefitting from this, which isn’t true! Numerous studies show that these tests are wasteful, unreliable, and even dangerous. 90% of drugs in human trials fail despite showing promising results on animals because of safety grounds or simply because they don’t work. There is a lot of money invested in these projects, but rarely do these actually have any success, and going ahead with encouraging results from these tests can go horribly wrong if applied to humans. For example, Vioxx, a drug used to cure arthritis, was found safe in six animal species, but caused 140,00 deaths worldwide.
One of the main reasons this seems like a reasonable solution for testing is because at the time it was introduced, there were no other options for testing products without harming humans. But, now there are safer alternatives, which include tests using human cells and tissues, advanced computer modeling techniques and safe studies with human volunteers, and these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. As technology advances we will have more and more substitutes for these trials. When we are using this revolutionary technology for our benefit in many ways, why not use it for animals who help us in their own ways.
In conclusion, animal testing should be eliminated because it exploits animal rights and causes agony and suffering to the experimental animals. Also as it is redundant; other safer methods of testing products are now available and certainly more fruitful.