Greek-Physician Scientists

Summary

Since early Greek-physician scientists lived in 322 BC up until 2018, researchers have been testing our products on animals. It is easy as the consumer to volunteer animals as the testing subjects, very rarely do humans want to be the guinea pig. But as science progresses, and more animals are being tested on against their will, an important question must be observed: Do animals have rights similar to those of humans? It seems this question would have a simple answer, that testing on lab rats, or monkeys is clearly unethical considering that some animals die in the process.

However, there are still people who argue that experimenting on animals is extremely beneficial. When these animals are placed in the lab for experimentation, they are in captivity where they can get sick, separated from their family, be tortured, and sometimes even face death. With these negative responses happening in the lab, it should be clear that the cons far outweigh the pros. Some of the products tested are never used for anything useful and most importantly, animals and humans are never exactly the same, so the test results can be unreliable. And still, supporters argue animal research is a necessary process that should continue.

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It is estimated that more than 100 million animals worldwide are used in experiments each year and by ignoring the consequences of animal experimentation, we are allowing abuse and trauma to these animals. There can be no changes made to help testing on animals be considered more humane or less tortuous; their involuntary participation should be enough to stop future testing. Regardless of claimed scientific breakthroughs, it it morally unethical for animals to be used as tools in laboratories in the name of medical advancements.

Animal experimentation along with the money that goes towards the research funnels money away from human-based research (computer modelling, tissue cultures, etc.) that could actually be helping people. (Toronto Star, 2018, p. A12). An example that Toronto Star uses, is headlines saying humans have found the cure to cancer in animals, only to find out that when the studies are applied to humans, the results are not the same. According to Toronto Star (2018), animals are not, nor ever will be, appropriate “models” for humans. (p. A12). Animal experimentation is proving itself to be unhelpful to humans not only due to genetic differences, but by thousands of dollars going to waste every test. Humans continue to conduct research on innocent animals, even after researchers admit that these test subjects do in fact feel pain.

Today, researchers almost universally agree that animals feel pain. (Global Issues in Context, 2018). This pain can also lead to stress in most animals which needs to be treated. Euthanasia (ending a life painlessly) is considered to researchers an ethical way of dealing with these animals in pain. If an animal test subject seems to suffer severe stress, they are put down. As humans we selfishly take these animals out of their own habitats, test on them while expecting these animals to not deal with stress and proceed to kill them when things go wrong in the lab.

Scientist everywhere are claiming that the potential benefits to human health justify the harm caused to animals, (Goodman, J. R.,Casey A.Borch, & Cherry, E., 2012), but there is nothing ethical about this testing process. Scientists should not be causing enough pain on mice or any other test subjects, that we have to kill these animals to put them out of their misery. Products that are tested on animals can include drugs and cosmetics, while some animals are exposed to pollution and radiation to observe effects.
Pharmaceutical and other industrial laboratories routinely use animals for tests before selling their products for human use. A common animal researchers like to test on is monkeys, pictured below is a pig-tailed macaque in a test capsule.

A pig-tailed macaque in a test capsule reaches for a lever that triggers a food dispenser in an experiment. For decades macaques have been widely used for biomedical research. (Credit: NASA). (Animal rights, 2011). Researchers take animals right from their homes in the wild and bring them to the lab to experiment on. Although scientists argue that monkeys are similar to humans because of their structure and behavior, animal studies are not always applicable to humans because animals and humans react to their environments in different ways. (Animal rights, 2011). Not to mention that the condition of the laboratories can influence test results when analyzing animals. Using animals to test on is not just something scientists do, you can even see the effects in our classrooms.

Some schools require students to dissect frogs, cats, etc. but with technology taking over, there is no need to use real animals when we have excellent computer programs that provide simulations for classroom use. The alternative of using computer models can often be argued not sufficient enough because we cannot produce a specific piece of information without using live animals. However, Wiebers (2006), highlights that we need to be open to the possibility that that piece of information may not be needed to solve the clinical problem we are addressing. The use of innocent animals shouldn’t be needed when most of the time we are focusing on the end result as opposed to specific types of information.

Overall, around the world animal rights are being violated everyday. Though animals cannot communicate with us they still have basic rights and practices such as raising and killing animals simply for their fur, keeping animals in cruel living conditions on factory farms, or using animals for painful scientific research are clear violations of those rights. (Issues & Controversies, 2012). Differences between animals and humans should not stop us from realizing that animals suffer just like we do, as humans we are taking advantage of our power over innocent creatures instead of having empathy. As stated in the Issues & Controversies article, just as it would be morally inconceivable to argue that infants or people with developmental disabilities do not deserve basic rights, it is illogical, supporters maintain, to deny animals those same rights. (2012).

Cosmetics, medications, chemicals and many other products continue to be tested on innocent animals before reaching our stores for consumers. Scientists everyday are volunteering lab rats, monkeys and other animals as test subjects for human products which violates basic animal rights because these creatures face stress, illnesses and even death. Although experimentation on these creatures can be interesting, they prove to be useless to humans because of our genetic differences as well as increasing use of computer simulations. To truly test the safety of products for humans, it is best to experiment on a human ourselves to get the most accurate results in the future.

This will help decrease animal deaths, euthanasia in labs as well as increase leaving animals in their natural habitats without disrupting our ecosystems. Humans for years have destroyed environments where delatice species thrive, which has proven to have negative effects on the earth. Scientist and researchers now need to realize how unethical animal experimentation is, the destruction it causes and prepare to find new and improved ways to test products in the lab without taking innocent lives.

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