The Horrors of Animal Testing

Ever since I was young, I have always loved animals. My aunt is a veterinarian and has extreme compassion and empathy for all animals. She would constantly bring over stray pets left at her clinic for my family to foster which further stimulated my love for animals.  A couple of years ago, my family and I had fostered our fifth homeless cat and eventually we adopted him after I was no longer allergic to the cat. Since then, my cat has brought me much companionship and happiness to my life. After spending time learning about abandoned and homeless pets and shelter animals, I became aware of a growing national animal welfare problem. Local shelters get increasing number of animals that must be cared for and these shelters don’t receive enough donations which they can rely on to care for these abandoned and homeless animals. Given my love for animals, I wanted to help shelter animals and make a difference in their lives and was motivated to raise awareness of this growing animal welfare issue in my community.  In 2016, I organized and led a successful animal needs drive at my local animal shelter and collected donated pet foods and supplies. In only a couple of months, I collected over 160 lbs of dry dog food, 20 cans of dog food, 50 lbs of dry cat food, 40 cans of cat food, a dozen bags of dog and cat treats, blankets, pet carriers and many pet toys and clothes. 

Another growing concern over animals is the public opposition to the use of animals in medical research.  I have become a strong advocate against animal testing and have made great strides in spreading awareness and educating my community about the dangers and negative aspects of this research. I used my platform as a staff writer on my school newspaper to speak out against this issues as it is a topic I am very passionate about. 

Locked up, abused, tortured, and killed, animals every day are forced to endure the pain and suffering that results from animal testing. According to PETA, over 100 million animals are killed every year due to this cruel and inhumane process, including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds. The purpose of animal testing is to benefit the future of science by further improving medical, drug, biology, and cosmetic advances, however, it comes at the expense of innocent animals’ lives. There is no justification that makes it morally acceptable for animals to die on human behalf.

Animal testing is meant to benefit humans and the scientific world, so it may seem like the death of these animals is only a small price to pay in exchange for the “greater good.” However innocent lives should not be lost just to benefit humans. The amount of torture and inhumane treatment than animals must endure is overwhelming and unnecessary. The Humane Society states that they are subjected to forced chemical exposure, genetic manipulation, physical restraint, food and water deprivation, pain infliction, ear notching and tail clipping, and more. They are deliberately harmed and usually killed at the end of the experiment. The Draize eye test, where rabbit eyelids are held open for multiple days, is only one example of the numerous inhumane treatments that animals suffer through. This test evaluates the irritation produced by cosmetics, so the product remains in the rabbits’ eyes for long time periods and is unable to be blinked away. Another test, known as the lethal dose 50 test intentionally causes the death of 50% of the animal subjects. These cruel experiments must end because animals do not deserve to be put through such terrible conditions.

Animals differ from humans in many ways, therefore they are not even accurate test subjects and experimenting on them is counterproductive. Due to the anatomic, metabolic, and cellular differences between animals and people, animals are poor models for human beings. The results on an animal can produce drastically different results on humans, which is why drugs that pass on animals are not necessarily safe for humans. For instance the sleeping pill thalidomide was safe for pregnant animals, however it caused 10,000 birth deformities in humans. These inaccurate test results can also mislead researchers into ignoring potential cures or treatments. Aspirin relieves pain in humans, however it is dangerous to some animal species. Vitamin C contributes to treating sepsis in humans, meanwhile it has no effect on mice. It is clear that animals should not be experimented on when they are not even accurate test subjects to begin with.

Today, science has advanced so greatly that it is unnecessary to still use animals as test subjects. Alternative testing methods already exist that can replace the need for animals. For example, studying cells in a petri dish uses human cells, so it is much more effective than using animal testing. Testing on artificial human skin also produces more useful results than testing on animal skin. As you can see, animal testing is not the way to go when humans are perfectly capable of using alternative testing methods that are actually more efficient.

It is clear that animal testing is not only inhumane, but it is also unnecessary. From a moral standpoint, killing and torturing animals is wrong and unfair, and innocent lives do not deserve to be lost. However it is also proven unnecessary because animals are not even good test subjects and they cause inaccurate results that can lead to negative consequences. There are also efficient alternatives to animal testing that can contribute to creating better and more accurate results. Therefore, eliminating animal testing will actually benefit science and make the world a better place.