The development of researches in the medical field for the last few centuries has resulted in a number of experimental activities. These activities are aimed at developing new drugs and vaccines for treating existing and emerging human ailments. In order to develop the vaccine and drugs series of tests and modifications have to be carried out before the final drug can be released to be used by human species. Biologists know that human race shares common biological ancestry with other living organisms. Due to inherent risks, medical doctors turned to the use of animal experimental testing.
Animal experimental testing involves the use of animals in experimental arrangements and projects with a main aim of determining dosing, efficacy and toxicity of a drug in the test. After the animal experimental testing the drug is taken to the human clinical trials. The most commonly used animals are rabbits, mice, rats, dogs, pigs, cats and primates. A Vivisection study in year 2005 revealed that about 115 million animals were used in scientific experimental studies worldwide, the majority (83.5%) of which were rodents (Randerson). The increased use of animals in this field of medicine has raised different opinions of various stakeholders. The varied opinions on the use of animals in the experiments have resulted in controversy between those who are for and those being against the practice. Therefore, this paper aims at discussing the controversy on why not to use animal experimental testing.
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The first major concern in the use of animals’ experimentations is the ethical issue. Animals, similarly to the human beings, are sentient creatures. The tests and researches take a substantial toll on the victim’s life. Since the laboratory works include surgeries, vaccines, confined arrest, stimulation and even death, animals go through a lot of pain and suffering. Examples include behavioural research, organ transplant and testing of new drugs. More often these animals are not ailing but the ailment is induced to test the new concoctions of drugs. There are people who understand that it is not correct towards the animals. Although the experiments are geared towards arriving at treatment of our ailments, the researchers fail to recognize the fact that animals are not objects to manipulate and generate large datasets. They have their own right and freedom. Some countries have recognized this fact and banned the use of animal experimental testing. For instance, the use of animals to test cosmetics has been forbidden in UK(Randerson). However, scientists who use the animals argue that animals are readily available and human life is superior. Therefore, they cannot compromise human life with that of an animal.
The use of animal experimental tests in the researches is more traditional method than other modes of experimentation. The idea is that there exist different methods of experimentation other than use of animals. Williams, S.M., Haines, J.L., and Moore note that there is no scientific literature supporting use of animals in biomedical researches. With regard to this point, I suppose that the researchers should look for other methods of testing new drugs instead of using animals. For example, cell culture, computer models and other models provide an excellent testing media for drugs. However, there are others who realize that animal testing cannot be abandoned. Their basic argument is that this type of testing has contributed widely to the modern human health approaches. Animal researches contributed to the present organ transplant, surgery, blood transfusion, bypass surgery and many other crucial health methods. Therefore, it cannot be disposed since it saves human lives. However, if such researches must be carried out in order to discover new treatments of diseases through the use of animals, then the humane and highly responsible procedures should be applied to minimize animal suffering.
Very often animal studies do not predict human outcome for most tests. A great percentage of drugs tested successfully and effectively on animals have always failed in human clinical trials. This is because animals and human beings have different body components like fluids, immune systems, genetic compositions. The Food and Drug Administration in US puts this figure at 92%. An example of this type of drug isVoxx, a pain killer. Voxx was withdrawn from the market in 2004 after it had been realized that it caused many premature deaths through heart attacks (Rubin). This is despite the fact that the drug was tested successfully on n eight animal species. Another example is an oral contraceptive which is known for prolonging blood clotting in dogs but increases human risks of clot development. Even if a drug proves to be effective in certain species, disparities will always exist between species, races, sexes and breeds (Rubin). It is also good to note that most of the current illnesses affecting humans are species related and cannot be found in animals. Diseases and disorders arising from the use of cigarettes, cancer cells, drug abuse, psychological disorders and others cannot be found in animals. Hence, using animals in experiments in such cases is irrelevant.
A significant amount of money is wasted for developing new treatments for ailments in animal experimental tests. It is total disregard to the number of animals which lose their lives due to massive breeding and toxicity during the experiments. In 2004, Pfizer reported wasting cash to a tune of $2 billion over the previous decade on drug development tests. Apparently the drugs under consideration failed advanced human testing due to liver toxicity. In the recent past there have been frequent reports of approved drugs causing unexpected health complications. These complications lead to raise hospital admissions and, therefore, the costs associated with these admissions. The Food and Drug Administration Board associates drug related injuries outside the health centres with an additional cost of $76.6 (Murnaghan). These injuries are preventable through the use of the appropriate methods of inventing new drugs other than the use of animal experimental tests. If we can compare the amount of money being lost for the development of a drug by use of animal experiment and the associated benefit from the drug, the both are comparable. This is because most of drugs developed, using time, money and labour resources, end up in ‘pits’. Although some may argue that human life cannot be quantified financially, it may not be worth to lose these amounts if there are other options.
The use of animals could delay the results of the experiment. For any drug to be effective it is usually tested for many times before being tested on human beings. There is a lot of time wasted while breeding the animals. In early experiment with animals, Pfizer’s blockbuster, a drug for reducing cholesterol, did not prove to be effective in early experiments with the animals (Murnaghan). However, after a group of persons volunteered for the test the drug effectiveness was demonstrated and proved.
Animal studies are usually flawed by designs. The fact that animals are poor surrogate to humans disqualifies their use in the development of new medications. In 2004, the University Medical Centre described some of the variables control factors in animals as confused when the procedure was applied to the human beings (Murnaghan).
Until there is controversy between supporters and opponents of animal experimental tests, the facts prove that it is possible to execute successive researches without the use of animals.
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