More than a hundred million animals are used annually for experiments in the laboratory in the United States alone, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Most animals are used for research and development of new products such as cosmetics, food, drugs, and treatment. This practice is frowned upon by most people, especially animal rights organizations such as PETA, and has been criticized for decades.
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Despite the criticisms, some companies such as Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Colgate-Palmolive still use animals to test their products to make sure that they are safe for humans to use (“Companies That Test on Animals (2021 Update)”). The disadvantages of animal testing such as the pain and sufferings of animals, cost of the equipment, time-consuming procedures, and unreliability of the results still outweigh the benefits because more reliable alternative testing can be done. Thus, animals should not be used for product testing in laboratories.
Like human beings, animals have rights that are being violated when they are used in laboratories. There are also laws in some countries in order to protect them. In the United States, a law was signed in 2019 called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act where any form of animal cruelty can be punished as a federal crime. Also, in 1966, the Animal Welfare Act was signed into law, where standard practices on handling, caring, and treating animals were regulated (“Laws That Protect Animals”). This law regulates it but does not fully prohibit the use of animals in laboratories for experiments. The tests done on animals can cause pain and permanent damage to their bodies and organs. Sometimes, it may lead to death. This is unethical because once they are taken in the laboratory, they are stripped of their rights.
Although animal testing has been routinely done and resulted in many products that are safe for humans, there are some studies questioning its reliability. Some conditions that can cause these inconsistencies are the environment and procedures concerning the animals during the experiment, the difference of diseases for humans and animals, and their difference in physiology and genetics limiting the study (Akhtar 408). The animals used in these experiments are usually trapped in a room that can cause stress for most of the subjects, causing changes in their bodies, which is a variable that is usually eliminated. Furthermore, human bodies are more complex than animals. There are some products or treatments that may work perfectly for animals but not for humans. Thus, animal testing may not be the best option, and other laboratory testing should be considered.
Due to the increasing number of animals used for testing yearly, there are some alternative procedures that can be applied without compromising the results. The 3Rs (reduction, refinement, and replacement) strategy was introduced with the hope to decrease the number of animals used and replace them with other methods if possible (Ranganatha and Kuppast 29). Some alternative methods available that may be more effective are in vivo or computer models, in vitro cells and tissue cultures, or the use of other organisms, depending on the experiment’s requirements (Doke and Dhawale 225). All these methods can lessen the use of animals in scientific experiments.
In conclusion, using animals for experiments or to test products should be stopped because animal rights are being violated. Some results obtained from these tests are not completely reliable since there are a lot of differences between animals and humans in terms of physiology and how their bodies react to products or procedures. In order to obtain accurate results, alternative methods can be used without hurting animals. Companies and laboratories should stop using animals for the benefit of human safety, since it is not enough to compensate for these animals’ lives.
Akhtar, Aysha. “The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation.” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, vol. 4, Oct. 2015, pp. 407–419, doi:10.1017/S0963180115000079.
“Animal Testing Facts and Statistics.” PETA, 25 Nov. 2020, https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-used-experimentation-factsheets/animal-experiments-overview/?v2=1.
“Companies That Test on Animals (2021 Update).” Cruelty Free Kitty, 14 Apr. 2020, https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/.
Doke, Sonali, and Shashikant Dhawale. “Alternatives to Animal Testing: A Review.” Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. 23, no. 3, July 2015, pp. 223–229, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2013.11.002.
“Laws That Protect Animals.” Animal Legal Defense Fund, 29 Oct. 2020, https://aldf.org/article/laws-that-protect-animals/.
Ranganatha, N., and I. J. Kuppast. “A Review on Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods in Drug Development.” International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 4, Jan. 2012, pp. 28–32, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280765029_A_review_on_alternatives_to_animal_testing_methods_in_drug_development.
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