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xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

What are the pros and cons on animal testing?

Asked by xjustxxclaudiax (1960points) March 17th, 2011

What do you think are the pros and cons on animal testing? What are your opinions about it?

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23 Answers

SeaTurtle's avatar

Cons are animals suffer. Pros are humans suffer less.

I hate to admit I am now in favor of it (as is opposed to my hippy youth views) However it should only be done for serious medical research that can save lives not for BS like make-up and car shampoos etc.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

I’m kind of the same way. I don’t like the fact that animals suffer because of this, but we wouldn’t of gotten this far without it.

Hibernate's avatar

Nice question.

However .. all those who say “nay” to products testing on animals should VOLUNTEER themselves as test subjects. See how it is.
Easy to just be against it and actually don’t do to prevent them.
If people want medical treatments and such they should want to test them on themselves [ but since it’s cheaper to test on animals here we go ]

Brian1946's avatar

If testing can’t be done without a living subject, then I prefer that they use convicted sociopathic/serial murderers instead of presumably innocent and sentient animals.

SeaTurtle's avatar

@Brian1946 ,bahahaha GENIUS!

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

@Brian1946 That’s what I thought too!! Besides rodents, I’d prefer they test on murderers instead of cats, dogs, or monkeys….
I cant say the same about pigs..(I’m not really sure) but aren’t their organs almost the same as humans?...I don’t wanna be mean or anything, but I don’t think its cruel if we use pigs to do some tests….as long as its for the better and they’re treated with some sort of care and not tossed away half alive like trash. And ONLY for medical purposes….not for cosmetic crap like hair spray or eyeliner.

Brian1946's avatar

@xjustxxclaudiax

“I cant say the same about pigs..(I’m not really sure) but aren’t their organs almost the same as humans?”

I think you’re right in that pigs are anatomically the most similar to humans of any quadrupedal animal.

However, I’m not a biologist but I did send an invitation to someone who is more knowledgeable about this to answer the OP.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

@Brian1946 I appreciate that, thanks :)

Brian1946's avatar

My pleasure, Claudia. :-)

I love the kitty pic in your avatar, so In honor of our feline friends, I’ve changed my avatar to a pic of a kitty that my wife re-homed last year.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Thanks :3 your avatar made me go “Awwww” x) so cute.

Summum's avatar

I think we need to test and experiment with animals but there should be strong rules for doing so. The Animals should not have to suffer needlessly. I love animals and treat them with love and respect. I think it is very necessary to test on animals and sometimes they even offer for humans to become a test person. It can be done much with much more concern for the animal.

Seelix's avatar

Speaking of pigs, I read a book called Stiff by Mary Roach a few years ago. At one point, the author visits a “body farm” where unclaimed unidentified corpses (and corpses of people who’ve volunteered them for the purpose) are left to decompose in order to help forensics people to “date” a body that they’ve found. In the book, pigs are also used in similar ways, because their skin and the way that they decompose are apparently similar to humans.

As for the animal testing issue, I’m against it. However, I am also a little conflicted, because as others have mentioned, testing on animals helps us to know what’ll work and what won’t. Maybe those crazy Quebec cloning people can work on a non-sentient human clone to test on.

blueiiznh's avatar

I have to say I was a bit floored when I worked at Mass-General, or Pharma and Bio companies in Cambridge and saw and smelled all the research animals. I was ok with the rodents, but the other animal made my heart hurt a bit.

There is a whole business out there that breeds and raises rodents, etc for medical research.
If the testing is done in an effort for medical research to find cures and help even other animal, then I am ok with it.
If it is related to cosmetics and other non-essential (yes one could debate the essentials of some medical things) things then I am against it.

YoBob's avatar

Pros: Animal testing helps ensure the safety of products in biological systems similar to that of the humans that will ultimately be using them.

Cons: Some side effects of the testing are unpleasant and/or fatal to the animals.

My opinions is expressed pretty well by the following line from a comedian I once heard:

“If electrocuting a monkey will one day keep me from dying of cancer, all I can say is: the positive wire goes here and the negative one there… ZAP!”

Hibernate's avatar

@ Brian1946 i beg to differ. Everyone out there is redeemable. Indeed some crimes are awful but it doesn’t mean they should become lab rats. [ oh and guess what ? i’m glad people like you never make it into politics or never get leading roles because this world would end up like sh*t ]

I don’t say it’s okay. Can’t say the opposite either. But I believe state laws are made to be followed [ even though most laws are meant to be broken ]
Criminals / murderers / thieves / psychopaths are still humans no matter what. For some it’s not even their fault they end up like that. A psychiatric illness is not something one is proud off AND he definitely didn’t want it or choose to suffer from it.

Oh and in the end it doesn’t matter what they did because none will be able to judge them except God [ if you are not a believer then don’t bother with last phrase ] And His ways of thinking and judging are different from ours. He has His own standards.

I’d like to see how you like being forced against your will. Or you support tyranny ? In a way we are doing the same thing to the animals but recall that the world is governed by humans and not by animals and in msot cases survival of the fittest describe us all.

I know you won’t get it but whatever.

My 2 cents.

Brian1946's avatar

@Hibernate

Are you saying the life of a convicted, unrepentant serial murderer is more valuable than that of the kitten in my avatar, e.g., that there is no need for living subjects in medical testing, or something else?

“i’m glad people like you never make it into politics or never get leading roles because this world would end up like sh*t”

I’m sure many serial murderers and their fans feel the same way.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Can we all be mature here and refrain from putting other people down? Thank you.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Hibernate yes, we only have one judge and the question was about opinions.
Opinions and free and worth every cent :)
Can’t we just all get along.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

The cons are the animals suffer, and in my opinion more than necessary. I don’t think animal testing should be used as widely as it is, and I also think that while animals are used for testing they should be given a more humane lifestyle than a small cramped cage.

The pros are that great medical advances have been made thanks to these animals. Since they’re helping humans (though involuntarily) shouldn’t we treat them more humanely and with more appreciation??

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

@BBSDTfamily I think we’d all agree that animals should be treated with more appreciation. I hate the fact that some labs breed too many animals and end up killing not only the ones they use to test on but also the “extra” ones because they have more than they need. I hate how some animals are even thrown away alive to die a slow painful death in a trashcan..Some people have no heart.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have always hated the idea of testing on animals but would I turn down potentially life saving medication if I needed it just because it had been tested on animals? No. The cons are, animals suffer (and, for me, that’s a major con). The pro’s are, it has helped save lives.

As for testing cosmetics on animals, I don’t agree with it. That is why I buy cosmetics that haven’t been tested on animals.

nikipedia's avatar

I hope all of you with reservations about animal research are strict vegetarians.

@xjustxxclaudiax: the situation you describe (animals being thrown in trash cans) is virtually impossible. The use and care of animals in research is very strictly regulated in all western countries, and humane treatment of the animals in question is a primary concern. Wastefulness and cruelty are not tolerated and will get a research lab shut down permanently real fast.

Pros of animal research:
You can breed large numbers of genetically identical subjects with nearly identical life experiences, removing confounds that are inevitable in a human population.
You can isolate tissue to grant even more specific control over your experimental variable in question.
Procedures that cannot be performed on humans are considered to be acceptable on animals.
You can create transgenic models to see the relationship between genes and your variable of interest.
Most model organisms breed faster than humans, so you can create your population on a useful time scale.
Some animal models have simpler biology that is more completely understood, thus again allowing more exquisite control over your variable of interest (e.g., the entire C. elegans nervous system has been mapped, so we know what each neuron does and what other neurons it connects to).

Cons of animal research:
What we learn about biology doesn’t always translate from animals to humans.
Animals sometimes have to undergo painful or uncomfortable procedures.
Animals sometimes need to be killed so we can isolate tissue for study.

I want to emphasize, though, on the last two points, that every possible precaution is taken so that animals are treated humanely and not wasted. Even if scientists were sociopaths who didn’t care about this (and most people who get into research do so because they are NOT sociopaths and they want to make a real contribution to humanity) animal care and use is very tightly regulated on the federal and institutional level.

crisw's avatar

This is an intensely controversial subject.

Many of the pros and cons have already been covered. I’d like to point out a few misconceptions.

@nikipedia
“The use and care of animals in research is very strictly regulated in all western countries”

In the United States, at least, the only Federal regulation on the welfare of lab animals is the Animal Welfare Act. The Act has some gaping holes. Most importantly, it does not cover rats and mice- which, as you know, are the vast majority of mammalian test subjects. It also doesn’t cover any non-mammalian vertebrates. It mandates only some very basic housing standards; it doesn’t in any way regulate what can be done to the animals.

The actual treatment of animals can be regulated by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs). However, facilities that use AWA-exempt species aren’t required to have them.

Even those facilities that use AWA-covered species aren’t inspected very often- the inspection program is chronically underfunded and understaffed, and the inspectors are responsible for many other types of facilities as well.

So I believe that it’s false to say that animal research is tightly regulated.

On the other hand, I do not believe that scientists are sadists. Any one who has read my comments here knows that I am a huge supporter of science. I do believe that animals often suffer in research- not because scientists are wanton torturers, but because the animal is used as a tool, and not necessarily as a being deserving of rights. Much of the suffering is behavioral, as animal housing frequently doesn’t allow for species-typical behavior.

As far as the validity of animal testing- there is no doubt that both animals and humans have benefited a great deal from animal research. Note, however, that the benefits do not automatically make such testing ethically correct. It’s also clear that animal testing has often been inaccurate. This, for example, is a fascinating podcast from Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe on the subject of whether animal testing is predictive of human response.

Whatever the ethical position one takes, the reality is that laboratory research on animals isn’t going to end any time soon. So what do I believe should be the legal mandates in the US?
• All vertebrate animals should be covered by the Animal Welfare Act.
• The Act should be updated to reflect the latest behavioral research on animal subjects and stress, to mandate housing and handling conditions to reduce stress as much as possible. Research should be done on pain and stress perception and alleviation in all test species, and methods developed to alleviate pain and stress. All research protocols should directly address what painful and stressful situations (including behavioral stressors) the animals will experience, and how they will be alleviated.
• All Federally-funded research facilities should be required to have an IACUC, and all meetings should be open to the public.
• The Act should be fully-funded so that all facilities are inspected at least yearly.
• Research should be emphasized that looks at mathematical models to determine what the smallest numbers of animals needed is in order for test results to be valid, and at other procedures to reduce the number of animals used.
• Test facilities should sponsor adoption of those lab animals, such as dogs, cats and rabbits, that could potentially make good pets and are used in non-fatal studies, after those studies are over.
• Research facilities and the government should also sponsor retirement facilities for all primates, such as currently exist for chimpanzees.

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