Animal Use in Pharmacology: Negative Effects on Humans and Animals

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Topic: Health & Medicine
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Animal testing has been a contentious issue in biomedical research for a long time. For decades, scientists have used animals to carry out tests before they implement them on humans. Supporters of the animal testing claim that it enables scientists to understand physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, and pathology in humans. On the other hand, animal rights movements are against the use of animals for biomedical research.

Some countries have enacted laws to ensure that the practice of animal testing is carried out in a humane manner. The opponents of animal testing claim, “Animals are inferior to humans and very different from them” (Hajar, 2011, p. 43).

Therefore, the results obtained from animals may be of little help to humans. Scientists have conducted numerous successful experiments on animals. However, the tests failed to work on humans. I do not think that animal testing is necessary since it is hard to predict how drugs tested on animals will respond to humans.

Disadvantages of Animal Testing

Many pharmaceutical companies have doubted the effectiveness of animal testing in the development of medications and vaccines. For instance, Pfizer, a renowned pharmaceutical company, claimed that animal experiments could not help to solve the mystery of carcinogenic substances.

The company argued that many substances have different impacts on animals and humans. Not all substances that are harmful to a person are dangerous to animals. Consequently, scientists may get wrong results by relying on animal testing. Scientists have approved numerous pharmaceutical drugs developed based on animal experiments only for the medicines to be dangerous to humans later.

Animal experiments had found drugs like Trasylol®, Lipobay®, and Acomplia® to be safe for human use (Pound, Ebrahim, Sandercock, Bracken & Roberts, 2004). Later, the drugs were found to have adverse effects on people. In Germany, many people died as a result of using medicines that were developed through animal testing.

According to Pound et al. (2004), animal testing has made the pharmaceutical companies to abandon the development of valuable drugs due to unreliable experimentations. In fact, a majority of the drugs that are of significant value to humans like ibuprofen, penicillin, aspirin, insulin, and phenobarbital would not have seen the light of day had the pharmaceutical companies relied on animal testing.

The substances used to manufacture these drugs have adverse impacts on animals. Therefore, conducting animal experimentation would have sent misleading signals to scientists. To conduct a single animal test, it requires the death of thousands of animals. Many times, the experiments do not contribute to the growth of medical science.

Pound et al. (2004) maintain, “In Germany, approximately 2,500 new applications for pharmaceutical drug approval are filed each year, of which there is only one real innovation every two years” (p. 515). A majority of the drugs that are presently developed through animal testing already exist in the market. The pharmaceutical companies only change the name of the drugs to get a market.

Animal testing is unethical and an awful science. A majority of the human ailments do not affect animals. The scientists have to make some alterations to induce diseases in animals. Pound et al. (2004) claim, “To cause Parkinson’s disease, monkeys, rats or mice are injected with a neurotoxin that destroys brain cells” (p. 516). On the other hand, scientists use genetic engineering techniques to stimulate cancer in mice.

The synthetically stimulated signs are different from the human diseases that they intended to trigger. The scientists do not consider various critical features of the causes of ailments like drug consumption, stress, lifestyle habits, social factors, and environmental influence. Hence, the outcomes of animal testing are, in most cases, immaterial and misleading.

Pound et al. (2004) argue that a majority of the researches carried out through animal experimentations do not succeed. Over 90% of the drugs that prove to be effective in animals are dropped at the medical trials. The drugs turn out to have adverse impacts on humans.

In spite of the many scientific explanations, numerous ethical grounds rebuff animal testing. Hajar (2011) claims that over 115 million animals die every year due to experiments. Animal testing is a violation of animal rights.

Animals are conscious creatures that feel pain and other forms of suffering. Thus, there is a need for scientists to treat animals with the utmost respect. Animal testing is not congruent with morally reasonable medicine and science.

Conclusion

Animal testing is not necessary. Animals do not suffer from the majority of the illnesses that affect human beings. Therefore, the use of the animal to develop drugs for human use may result in the manufacture of harmful medicines.

Many drugs developed through animal testing have been pulled out of the market after being found to have negative impacts on humans. Conversely, animal testing has led pharmaceutical companies to abandon the development of essential drugs due to misleading results.

The scientists would not have developed essential medicines like aspirin, insulin, and phenobarbital had they relied on animal testing. The substances used to manufacture the drugs have adverse impacts on animals. Animal testing is an awful science, which does not contribute to the growth of medical science. In spite of the increased use of animals in drug production, the pharmaceutical companies report very few innovations.

References

Hajar, R. (2011). Animal testing and medicine. Heart Views, 12(1), 42-49.

Pound, P., Ebrahim, S., Sandercock, P., Bracken, M., & Roberts, I. (2004). Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans? The British Medical Journal, 328(7438), 514-517.