Animal experimentation is a hot button issue in the United States. With reports of unnecessary animal cruelty being mixed with research that is dramatically helping to improve people’s lives, it is easy to fall onto one side or another of this debate. With that in mind, lets take a moment to objectively look at the pros and cons of animal experimentation.
The Pros of Animal Experimentation
1. Helps Forward Necessary Research
The primary reason why animal experimentation is a pro is because it helps to advance necessary research and drug experimentation. Without animal experimentation, the advancement of things like vaccines would be dramatically slowed. The end result of no animal experimentation is that drug trials would require more humans in order to see if something was working or not. The added risk to humans would invariably lead to more sickness and death. Because of this, many people who are against animal experimentation still ultimately support it because it saves lives and stops people from unnecessary suffering.
2. Can Follow Humane Guidelines
Not all animal experimentation is cruel or inhumane. In fact, there are guidelines set in place for how animals should be treated in a laboratory setting. While this does not mean animals will not suffer, it at least provides rules regarding the health and well being of these test animals. In addition, not all test animals or animal experimentation is harmful to the animals. Sometimes animals are needed for things like a control group. As a final note, the majority of animals in animal experimentation are mice and other small mammals. While most people think of monkeys or larger animals when considering animal experimentation, the majority of animals tested on are considered by the wider world to be a pest that they would otherwise work to get rid of.
3. Can Provide Jobs
Animal experimentation normally takes place in a lab setting. These labs require a staff of people who are paid over minimum wage to take care of the animals currently under experimentation. Given that these labs employ a large number of people that do not necessarily need specific skills, animal experimentation can be considered a job creator for individuals without higher levels of education. With this type of job disappearing in the United States, it would hurt a shrinking middle class even more if these jobs were not around.
The Cons of Animal Experimentation
1. Can Lead To Suffering and Pain
One of the biggest criticisms of animal experimentation is that it can lead to suffering, pain, and death of animals. Few people enjoy seeing animals suffer, and it can be a real challenge to see how this experimentation will affect the test animals. In addition, some experiments in the past have been reported to cause unnecessary cruelty to animals through suffering.
2. May Not Always Be Necessary
Animals are not always needed for testing. A popular example was cosmetic companies using animals to test various cosmetic materials before bringing them to market. This kind of unnecessary testing only serves to hurt the animals and cause pain.
3. Can Cost A Great Deal
Running an animal experimentation lab costs a lot of money. First there is getting the go ahead to run the lab in the first place which requires going in front of a review board. This process requires countless hours of preparation. After the go ahead is given, there has to be a facility large enough and with the right equipment. Getting all the equipment and animals you need can cost a lot. In addition to these costs, there is the cost of hiring lab techs to take care of the animals, as well as feed and cleaning for the animals. When considering all of these costs, some companies choose not to do animal experimentation if they can manage it.
4. The Industry of Animal Production
All of the animals used in animal experimentation must come from somewhere. Many people who are against animal experimentation are also against the various companies that mass produce animals to be tested. Considered poor living conditions for these animals, the facilities that produce test animals may strike you as sickening.
So Where Does This Leave Us?
Animal experimentation means that necessary vaccines, cures, treatments, and live saving techniques can be quickly developed. Individuals who have benefited from such treatments owe their lives to animal experimentation. At the same time, this animal experimentation may lead to the painful deaths of animals that are capable of feeling pain, anxiety, worry, and fear. In the end, for animal experimentation to continue, it must follow a more strict set of ethical guidelines designed to minimize adverse and harmful effects to animals. Often considered a necessary evil, animal experimentation does not have to be needless or cruel.