Who Are The Real Animals?

by Colleen Ahern
Class of 2016

Imagine a life locked in a cage, only taken out to be burned, poisoned, starved, or blinded; injected with chemicals; even tied down and cut open, all while completely conscious. This is the life of test animals. Although advocates for animal testing claim that it is necessary to save human lives, animal experimentation is an unethical and ineffective method that needs to be abolished.

The phrase “beauty is pain” holds a completely different meaning for lab animals. Ethical guidelines for research on humans demand the right to withdraw, protection from harmful procedures, explanation of deception, and the right to privacy (A.P.A). In contrast, it allows for the maltreatment and killing of animals as long as “the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value” (A.P.A). Researchers deprive defenseless animals of all rights and subject them to unspeakable horrors, often for trivial reasons. Animals feel pain the same way as humans do: if society deems painful experimentation on humans unethical, it ought to do so for all species.

Animal testing is nonessential for scientific progression and often produces unreliable results. Advocates of animal testing assert “that animal-based research has contributed to significant improvement in the length and quality of [human] lives” (“Medical Progress Depends on Animal Research”). While animal experimentation has certainly played a role in scientific developments, it is not essential for future progress. Often times, advocates of animal testing believe that scientists can either save animal or human lives, not both; that killing a rat guarantees saving a sick child. This, however, is incorrect: humans cannot rely on data from animals because, according to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, “Species [differ] in anatomy, organ structure and function, toxin metabolism, chemical and drug absorption, and mechanisms of DNA repair.” Moreover, results are not only inaccurate, but also costly: “despite millions of animals used and billions of taxpayer dollars spent on cancer research, roughly 95 percent of cancer drugs that enter human clinical testing fail” (New England Anti-Vivisection Society). Animal experimentation demands an exorbitant amount of money from taxpayers, but provides unreliable data. Additionally, there are other available methods for testing. Due to “the advent of …more sophisticated model systems,” scientists can study tissue without torturing animals (Rowan). The scientific community should be putting taxpayers’ money towards new means of pursuing scientific developments that are less expensive, more accurate, and more moral.

The scientific community should pursue the new efficient and moral methods of experimentation rather than continue the cruel and inaccurate method of animal testing. Animals have little protection from dangerous experiments and suffer excruciating pain in the name of scientific progress. Although supporters of this approach claim that humans would suffer without animal experimentation, people would actually pay less money and receive trustworthy results by using new technological models. No animal deserves to live more than another, and humans should not abuse their power as the highest-developed species.

Colleen Ahern is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition