Animal Use in Biomedical Research | Free Essay Example

Animal Use in Biomedical Research

Words: 2187
Topic: Sociology


Much attention of the whole society is paid to the problem of animal testing in the modern world. It is impossible to imagine modern biochemical research without using animals. Each new vaccine, each discovery is based on theoretical research and testing of the drawn conclusions on animals. There are three main groups of people divided by their attitude to using animals in biochemical research.

The first group of people is sure that this is a norm and there is no another way out to understand whether the discovered medicine may be used on human beings or not. The second group considers animal testing as violent and inadmissible action which must be prohibited. The third group involves people who do not really care whether animals are tested or not (“Animal Testing is bad science”).

Main Body

Many scientists all over the world provide arguments that the use of animals in research makes their discoveries more useful. Absence of the possibility for animal testing may stop research process or make it slower. Scientists would have to conduct more calculations and other types of research to make sure that the medicine may be used on people. At the same time, animal protection organizations offer counterarguments, stating that testing animals make those suffer which is cruel and useless.

Scientists should stop mockery and refuse from violent methods in research. People and animals are too different to assure that he positive results of testing animals may be referred with 100% guarantee to human beings. Therefore, many animal protection organizations do all possible to stop scientific experiments on animals and protect the latter from suffering. The main purpose of this research is to check whether the research discoveries based on animal testing are useful for society or the experiments may be forbidden without much harm to the research outcomes and conclusions.

Reasons for Using Animals in Biochemical Research

Dwelling upon advantages of using animals in biochemical research, one should think of the number of human lives those animals have saved. Scientists use animals to learn more about health problems, and to assure the safety of new medical treatments. Some diseases and health problems involve processes that can only be studied in living organisms (Murnaghan).

“One of the most supportive reasons for using animals in medical research is the discovery of insulin, different antibiotics and vaccines. Much research is conducted in the sphere of HIV and cancer treatment. Scientists have too much material to be tested and the prohibition of animal testing may close too many projects which may save human life in the future. Animals are necessary to medical research because it is impractical or unethical to use humans “(SUBR).

Until we cross the historic landmark of actually discovering better ways of testing drugs and surgical procedures, animal testing will continue and so long as man are saved, it remains ethical, even though many people try to contradict this opinion. The breakthroughs scientists have been made and the knowledge gained from animal testing has surpassed anything human beings could hope for.

Each day, dedicated scientists are using animal models to find cures for the diseases and conditions that ravage all cultures. “From antibiotics to blood transfusion, dialysis to organ transplantation, vaccinations to chemotherapy, bypass surgery, and joint replacement, practically every present -day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure, and control of disease, pain, and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with laboratory animals” (Pippin). Researchers use animals to gain knowledge as to how to fight diseases.

Animal right supporters claim that above stated experiments are useless as every year American Federal Drug Authority takes thousands of drugs off the market after they have been proven safe on animals (Pippin). Pros of animal testing are way deeper and beneficial then its cons. Animal right activists don’t realize that the discomfort of a few animals have not only given a new outlook to their lives in one way or another, but have changed the lives and quality of lives of their friends and families, by provision of vaccines and antibiotics (SUBR).

Animal testing has resulted in medical discoveries which have eradicated some diseases which threatened to exterminate human race from the face of the earth, controlled and prevented of many other diseases, and saved billions of human lives (Murnaghan). Millions of diabetic patients around the world are thankful to animals on which research was performed and insulin was created, without this it would be impossible for them to live a normal life or to live at all.

In the field of surgery, almost all the modern procedures performed today are a result of experimentation on animals. Animal research has increased the understanding of fetal development and reduced the morbidity and mortality in children. “Animals will continue to play vital role in biomedical research”(Dennis and Melvin 323).

Billions of precious human lives are saved each year because of animals’ bearing of discomfort for testing a new drug or surgery. What we all should bear in mind that instead of claiming, believing, and preaching that an animal was brutally killed or its life was wasted, it was used as a stepping stone for betterment of human beings for hundreds of years to come. “Most people feel that it would be wrong to deliberately expose human beings to health risks in order to observe the course of a disease”(SUBR).

The inability to test a newly discovered vaccine or any specific medicine on animals will lead to the increase of the time spend on understanding whether research is safe for human beings. It is obvious that practical animal testing is faster and much more effective in comparison with laboratory calculations, predictions, and theoretical application of some theories. Animals make good research subjects for a variety of reasons. Animals are biologically similar to humans. “They are susceptible to many of the same health problems, and they have short life-cycles so they can easily be studied throughout their whole life-span or across several generations”(SUBR). Therefore, animal testing must remain as one of the best and fastest ways for research.

Reasons Against Using Animals in Biomedical Research

There are factions of modern society which are for the use of animals in medical research, as it has already been discussed above, and the ones which argument that the use of animals in medical research should be banned as it is ethically wrong. Moreover, some experts believe that there are alternative ways to animal testing which may be successfully used. Use of animals in medical research should be banned as it is “brutal, unethical, unnecessary and most importantly inhumane” (Pippin). Many drugs have had severe and even lethal effects in people after demonstrating safety in animal tests.

“The Food & Drug Administration tells us that 92% of drugs tested safe and effective in animals fail in human trials. The blockbuster arthritis drug Vioxx from Merck killed more Americans than the people who died in the Vietnam War, yet it was deemed safe in eight studies using six animal species” (Pippin).

Animals feel pain during the testing which is a mental event and cannot be observed physically. Human beings feel pain and it can be observed from indications such as crying, jerking away or screaming. “Hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in outdated product tests for cosmetics, personal-care products, household-cleaning products, and even fruit juices”(PETA). This calls for scientist who use animals to know that they feel pain as in human beings and we cannot turn blind about the pain and suffering of animals caused by the medical research. Animals, like human beings, feel pain when it used for these procedure by yelps running or jerking. Thus, being one of the arguments for banning animal testing, mockery is one of the strongest as it touches ethical issues which are highly valued in the modern society.

“Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and several British universities published a paper in the British Medical Journal titled Where Is the Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans?” (PETA). “In fact, many of the most important advances in health are attributable to human studies, including the discovery of the relationships between cholesterol and heart disease and smoking and cancer, the development of X-rays, and the isolation of the AIDS virus” (PETA). Animals should be treated the same way as human beings are in case of any medical procedures. Giving anesthesia to animals when carrying out surgical procedures, scientists may become closer to making animal testing ethically approved.

However, when surgical or other medical procedures are performed on animals, they are not given any anesthesia as the researchers claim that anesthesia may interfere with research results. “Ethics dictate that the value of each life in and of itself cannot be superseded by its potential value to anyone else” (PETA). Experimenters claim a “right” to inflict pain on animals based on any number of arbitrary physical and cognitive characteristics, such as animals’  upposed lack of reason. But if lack of reason truly justified animal experimentation, experimenting on human beings with “inferior” mental capabilities, such as infants and the intellectually-disabled, would also be acceptable (PETA). In today’s society and the laws someone cannot kill a dog in the middle of a street in broad daylight and escape prosecution.

Then how can these businesses and authorities avoid any repercussion for killing innocent animals? There are laws in place for protection of animals but still no one even raises their voice when the researchers slice a dog open to take tests of its liver or heart, while it is still alive and without administration of any anesthesia. The irony of this whole issue is animals cannot raise their voices and tell researchers not to do that, only we human beings can. We have to put our foot down and say enough to this cruelty.

There is one more specific argument applied by animal protectors. If there had been any correlation between animal testing and human health, then we would have witnessed eradication of almost all the diseases by now but the truth is now the world has new and more deadly diseases than at any other given time in history. The statistics speak for themselves. Having too many successful research results applied to animals, scientists cannot say for sure that all those results were successfully implemented while human testing.

At the same time, some scientists violate the requirements for thorough analysis of the information and theoretical calculations, appropriately thinking that animal testing may show results faster. Additionally, modern innovative technologies may become great substitutes to animal testing. Why don’t scientists apply to them instead on hurting animals? Much is said about such computer programs and many cases of scientific research continues in this sphere to make sure that the future generations are going to use computers for conducting experiments, not animals as it is done in the modern world (Biever).


It is quite sad that a number of animals go through discomfort and die, but until another way of medical research is found, the experts on the topic have not seen any other way to get rid of the most harmful diseases which affect billions of humans and hundreds of thousands of animal species (“How animals end up in laboratories”).

Medical researchers don’t do the research on animals to draw conclusions out of their suffering. They have a duty to conduct research in a manner that is “humane, appropriate, and judicious”. Scientists continue to look for ways to reduce the number of animals needed to obtain valid results, refine experimental techniques, and replace animals with other research methods whenever feasible. Even though alternatives to animal testing such as computer simulations and cell culture, do exist, but still they are not apt enough to do research on things like kidney transplantation, diarrhea or eye allergies.

Without testing medication on animals we can never be sure that it may be poisonous, cancerous, cause birth defects, or can create some other complications. This should be noted that animals used in the research are not species. Animal testing has been the one of the most significant step man has taken to ensure survival of human life on the face of the earth; it has helped us in finding drugs to combat various diseases, and improve surgical procedures.

In conclusion, I think that the tests on animals are not to kill life but to make sure that it survives. It may be cruel and painful for a number of animals but it is without any doubt the most necessary step for the survival of life, as we know it. Every innocent animal that gave its life during research has not wasted its life; it has contributed something to the life of billions of living beings. Thus, it is important to check pros and cons of using animal testing in biomedical research before drawing conclusions either about supporting this technique or about its prohibiting. “It is exciting to dream of the day when no animal research is needed and no human lives are ended by disease. Until that day comes, we need to continue using the methods that works”(Pippin).

Work Cited

“Animal Testing is bad science.” PETA. 2003. Web.

Biever, Celeste. “Can computer models replace animal testing? (animal experiments).” New Scientist 190. 2551 (2007). 2006. Web.

Dennis, Jr., Melvin B. (1998). Bioethics and the Use of Laboratory Animals: Ethics in Theory and Practice. Laboratory Animal Science 48.4: pp.323-324. 1998. Web.

“How animals end up in laboratories.” PETA. 2010. Web.

Pippin, John. “Put animal testing to sleep.” Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 2011.Web.

”States United for biomedical research.” SUBR n.d. Web.

Murnaghan, Ian. Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons. 2011. Web.