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Is Animal Testing Ever Justified?

The E.P.A. recently said it would move away from requiring the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on animals. Do you support the decision?

argument article on animal testing

By Natalie Proulx

Find all our Student Opinion questions here.

On Sept. 10, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would move away from requiring the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on animals, a decision that was hailed by animal rights groups but criticized by environmentalists and researchers who said the practice was necessary to rigorously safeguard human health.

What are your thoughts on animal testing? Do you think it is ever justified? Why or why not?

In “ E.P.A. Says It Will Drastically Reduce Animal Testing ,” Mihir Zaveri, Mariel Padilla and Jaclyn Peiser write about the decision:

The E.P.A. Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency plans to reduce the amount of studies that involve mammal testing by 30 percent by 2025, and to eliminate the studies entirely by 2035, though some may still be approved on a case-by-case basis. The agency said it would also invest $4.25 million in projects at four universities and a medical center that are developing alternate ways of testing chemicals that do not involve animals. “We can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing,” Mr. Wheeler said in a memo announcing the changes. The E.P.A. has for decades required testing on a variety of animals — including rats, dogs, birds and fish — to gauge their toxicity before the chemicals can be bought, sold or used in the environment.

The article continues:

The practice of testing with animals has long prompted complex debates driven by passionate views on morality and scientific imperative. Reaction to Tuesday’s announcement was no different. “We are really excited as this has been something we’ve wanted for quite some time,” said Kitty Block, the president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, an animal protection organization. “The alternatives are the future. They’re more efficient and save lives.” Kathleen Conlee, the vice president of animal research issues at the Humane Society, said the E.P.A.’s move is “broad-sweeping and significant.” “This is the first time a government agency has made such a commitment and timelined its specific goals along the way,” Ms. Conlee said. “There’s been a lot of positive action among other federal agencies, but we want to see all government agencies take this step.” Tracey Woodruff, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s school of medicine, said current alternatives to animal testing are somewhat useful. But Dr. Woodruff, who worked at the E.P.A. from 1994 to 2007, said only animal testing — a process honed over decades — was robust enough to gauge chemicals’ impacts on people of various ages, genetics and health backgrounds. “I definitely think we should be investing more in this research,” she said, referring to alternative testing. “But it’s really not ready for making decisions yet — at least the way that E.P.A. is making decisions.” Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, said she was very concerned by the announcement. Dr. Sass said animals were still necessary to study chronic conditions, like cancer and infertility. Cells in a petri dish cannot yet replace whole living systems, she said. “The E.P.A.’s deadline is arbitrary,” Dr. Sass said. “Our interest isn’t in speed, it’s getting it right. We want proper animal testing because we don’t want harmful chemicals to end up in our food, air and water.”

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Do you support the decision by the E.P.A. to move away from requiring the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on animals? Or do you think animal testing is still necessary to regulate harmful substances that can have adverse effects on humans?

How important is it to you that the toxicity of chemicals and other environmental contaminants is rigorously studied and regulated? Why? Do you think not testing on animals hinders those efforts?

The Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs are among the government agencies that still rely on animal testing. Do you think animal testing is important in these sectors or any others? Why or why not?

Do you think animal testing is ever justified? If so, what should be the criteria for when, how and on what animals testing is done?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Natalie Proulx joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2017 after working as an English language arts teacher and curriculum writer. More about Natalie Proulx

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subtitle: Working to create a world where no animals suffer in a laboratory

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Arguments against animal testing

Animal experiments are cruel, unreliable, and even dangerous

The harmful use of animals in experiments is not only cruel but also often ineffective. Animals do not naturally get many of the diseases that humans do, such as major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s disease or schizophrenia. Instead, signs of these diseases are artificially induced in animals in laboratories in an attempt to mimic the human disease. Yet, such experiments belittle the complexity of human conditions which are affected by wide-ranging variables such as genetics, socio-economic factors, deeply-rooted psychological issues and different personal experiences.

It is not surprising to find that treatments showing “promise” in animals rarely work in humans.  Not only are time, money and animals’ lives being wasted (with a huge amount of suffering), but effective treatments are being mistakenly discarded and harmful treatments are getting through. The support for animal testing is based largely on anecdote and is not backed up, we believe, by the scientific evidence that is out there.

Despite many decades of studying cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke and AIDS in animals, none of these conditions have reliable and fully effective cures and some don’t even have effective treatments.

White mouse on black background

The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in human beings.

Unreliable animal testing

  • 92% of drugs fail in human clinical trials despite appearing safe and effective in animal tests, often on safety grounds or because they do not work.
  • Urology drugs have the lowest success rate (only 4% are approved after entering clinical trials) followed by heart drugs (5% success rate), cancer drugs (5% success rate) and neurology drugs (6% success rate).
  • Our research has shown that using dogs, rats, mice and rabbits to test whether or not a drug will be safe for humans provides statistically little useful insight. Our study also revealed that drug tests on monkeys are just as poor as those using any other species in predicting the effects on humans.
  • A recent study found that out of 93 dangerous drug side effects, only 19% could have been predicted by animal tests.
  • Another study showed that over 1,000 potential stroke treatments have been “successful” in animal tests, but of the approximately 10% that progressed to human trials, none worked sufficiently well in humans.
  • One review of 101 high impact discoveries based on basic animal experiments found that only 5% resulted in approved treatments within 20 years. More recently, we conducted an analysis of 27 key animal-based ‘breakthroughs ’ that had been reported by the UK press 25 years earlier. Mirroring the earlier study, we found only one of the 27 “breakthroughs” had been realised in humans, and that was subject to several caveats.

Dangerous animal testing

  • Vioxx, a drug used to treat arthritis, was found to be safe when tested in monkeys (and five other animal species) but has been estimated to have caused around 140,000 heart attacks and strokes and 60,000 deaths worldwide.
  • Human volunteers testing a new monoclonal antibody treatment (TGN1412) at Northwick Park Hospital, UK, in 2006 suffered a severe immune reaction and nearly died. Testing on monkeys at 500 times the dose given to the volunteers totally failed to predict the dangerous side effects.
  • A drug trial in France resulted in the death of one volunteer and left four others severely brain damaged in 2016. The drug, which was intended to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety and Parkinson’s disease, was tested in four different species of animals (mice, rats, dogs and monkeys) before being given to humans.
  • A clinical trial of Hepatitis B drug fialuridine had to be stopped because it caused severe liver damage in seven patients, five of whom died. It had been tested on animals first.

Animals are different

  • Animals do not get many of the diseases we do, such as Parkinson’s disease, major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV or schizophrenia.
  • An analysis of over 100 mouse cell types found that only 50% of the DNA responsible for regulating genes in mice could be matched with human DNA.
  • The most commonly used species of monkey to test drug safety (Cynomolgous macaque monkeys) is resistant to doses of paracetamol (acetaminophen) that would be deadly in humans.
  • Chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocados and macadamia nuts are harmless in humans but toxic to dogs.
  • Aspirin is toxic to many animals and would not be on our pharmacy shelves if it had been tested according to current animal testing standards.

The science relating to animal experiments can be extremely complicated and views often differ. What appears on this website represents Cruelty Free International expert opinion, based on a thorough assessment of the evidence.


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Established in 1898, Cruelty Free International is firmly rooted in the early social justice movement and has a long and inspiring history.

Our History

subtitle: Established in 1898, Cruelty Free International is firmly rooted in the early social justice movement and has a long and inspiring history.

Science Page

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Animal testing is carried out in a wide range of areas, including biological research, and testing medicines and chemicals.

Types of animal testing

subtitle: Animal testing is carried out in a wide range of areas, including biological research, and testing medicines and chemicals.

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Millions of animals are used and killed in the name of progress every year.

Facts and figures on animal testing

subtitle: Millions of animals are used and killed in the name of progress every year.

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Animals used in laboratories are deliberately harmed, not for their own good, and are usually killed at the end of the experiment.

What is animal testing?

subtitle: Animals used in laboratories are deliberately harmed, not for their own good, and are usually killed at the end of the experiment.

Lab on chip (LOC) is a device that integrates laboratory functions on nano chip

Alternatives to animal tests are often cheaper, quicker and more effective.

Alternatives to animal testing

subtitle: Alternatives to animal tests are often cheaper, quicker and more effective.

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Science Publications

Ethical care for research animals


The use of animals in some forms of biomedical research remains essential to the discovery of the causes, diagnoses, and treatment of disease and suffering in humans and in animals., stanford shares the public's concern for laboratory research animals..

Many people have questions about animal testing ethics and the animal testing debate. We take our responsibility for the ethical treatment of animals in medical research very seriously. At Stanford, we emphasize that the humane care of laboratory animals is essential, both ethically and scientifically.  Poor animal care is not good science. If animals are not well-treated, the science and knowledge they produce is not trustworthy and cannot be replicated, an important hallmark of the scientific method .

There are several reasons why the use of animals is critical for biomedical research: 

••  Animals are biologically very similar to humans. In fact, mice share more than 98% DNA with us!

••  Animals are susceptible to many of the same health problems as humans – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

••  With a shorter life cycle than humans, animal models can be studied throughout their whole life span and across several generations, a critical element in understanding how a disease processes and how it interacts with a whole, living biological system.

The ethics of animal experimentation

Nothing so far has been discovered that can be a substitute for the complex functions of a living, breathing, whole-organ system with pulmonary and circulatory structures like those in humans. Until such a discovery, animals must continue to play a critical role in helping researchers test potential new drugs and medical treatments for effectiveness and safety, and in identifying any undesired or dangerous side effects, such as infertility, birth defects, liver damage, toxicity, or cancer-causing potential.

U.S. federal laws require that non-human animal research occur to show the safety and efficacy of new treatments before any human research will be allowed to be conducted.  Not only do we humans benefit from this research and testing, but hundreds of drugs and treatments developed for human use are now routinely used in veterinary clinics as well, helping animals live longer, healthier lives.

It is important to stress that 95% of all animals necessary for biomedical research in the United States are rodents – rats and mice especially bred for laboratory use – and that animals are only one part of the larger process of biomedical research.

Our researchers are strong supporters of animal welfare and view their work with animals in biomedical research as a privilege.

Stanford researchers are obligated to ensure the well-being of all animals in their care..

Stanford researchers are obligated to ensure the well-being of animals in their care, in strict adherence to the highest standards, and in accordance with federal and state laws, regulatory guidelines, and humane principles. They are also obligated to continuously update their animal-care practices based on the newest information and findings in the fields of laboratory animal care and husbandry.  

Researchers requesting use of animal models at Stanford must have their research proposals reviewed by a federally mandated committee that includes two independent community members.  It is only with this committee’s approval that research can begin. We at Stanford are dedicated to refining, reducing, and replacing animals in research whenever possible, and to using alternative methods (cell and tissue cultures, computer simulations, etc.) instead of or before animal studies are ever conducted.

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Organizations and Resources

There are many outreach and advocacy organizations in the field of biomedical research.

  • Learn more about outreach and advocacy organizations

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Stanford Discoveries

What are the benefits of using animals in research? Stanford researchers have made many important human and animal life-saving discoveries through their work. 

  • Learn more about research discoveries at Stanford

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Is animal research ethical?

Posted: by John Meredith on 16/02/22

More on these Topics:

Is animal research ethical?

How can it be right to use an animal for research where we could consider it unethical to use a human being? This is a fundamental question that confronts anybody who benefits from research using animals. If we claim that causing harm to animals is sometimes justifiable where it would be unacceptable to inflict a similar harm or risk on a person, then it seems we are assuming that animals must, in some sense, have less moral value. But is that a justifiable assumption, or is it just a self-serving prejudice? Are there solid rational arguments for treating humans differently from other animals, or are we simply falling back on outmoded habits of thought, a smokescreen that helps us avoid looking the ugly truth of our actions in the eye?

Moral status of animals

In the past, the moral status of animals did not merit a great deal of consideration; raising questions about whether humans were entitled to exploit animals would have struck most people as quaint or absurd. The great moral philosopher Rene Descartes, for example, the man famous for the phrase  cogito ergo sum  - ‘I think therefore I am’ - believed that animals had no inner life at all, that they were essentially as lifeless as clockwork dolls, incapable of emotion, self-awareness, or even feeling pain.  

Such ideas seem laughable to us now. We take it for granted that most animals experience pain and many have complex emotional lives that can depend on relationships with other animals and which can deliver feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Since Descartes’ day, the growing study of animal behaviour makes this seem obvious, and cleverly designed experiments have confirmed what has been learned from observation, forcing us to acknowledge that sentience – inner life – exists in a great number of other species and sometimes at a very high level. 

But what implications does all this have for the moral consideration of animals? How should it affect the way we treat them? Philosopher Peter Singer, whose book  Animal Liberation  transformed the public debate on animal welfare, believes it should have deep and wide-reaching consequences. Singer argues that it is wrong to inflict harm on a person not because of any cosmic or biblical law about harm but because it is against that person’s interests as they themselves understand them. Considering moral questions in that light, he argues, explodes any idea that we can justify distinctions between individuals based on their sex or race, distinctions that have been passionately defended over many centuries. There are many differences between people of all kinds including, of course, both sexes, but they all have interests that are alike: an interest in avoiding pain or hunger for example. There is no rational basis for preferring the interests of any particular individual, or people of one race or sex class over those of another, that is simply racism and sexism. This is an idea has become widely accepted, if only recently, and it doesn’t seem particularly radical to us today, but Singer takes the idea a step further. 

If there is no non-arbitrary reason to prefer the interests of one human animal over another, how can there be any good reason to prefer the interests of a human animal over a non-human animal? Claims that humans are of special moral interest because of their intelligence or capacity for language or any of the many other things that have been suggested cut no ice.  A less intelligent human has as much interest in avoiding pain as a mathematical genius does, and the same goes for a dog, or a mouse, or a fish. To deny this, says Singer is to make a moral mistake akin to sexism or racism and he calls this way of thinking  speciesism .

One objection to the argument from speciesism is that it implies that there can never be a reason to prefer the welfare of a human being over any other animal where considerations of interest are the same. This strikes most people as counter-intuitive to say the least. Jean Kazez, philosopher and animal rights activist, suggests a thought experiment. Imagine a dedicated vegan responsible for the care of ten young children. It so happens that famine strikes and the children are all in danger of starvation except that our vegan carer owns a cow. Would it be morally acceptable for the vegan to stick by her principles and refuse to slaughter the cow to save the children? If the answer is no, then there seems to be some problem with the speciesist position. It would probably not be considered acceptable to slaughter one of the children to feed the others, after all. So, our intuition is that there must be some foundation for our moral preference for a human over an animal, at least in some extreme conditions. Perhaps the intuition is that there is moral value in feelings of kinship because this is a necessary feeling in order to be a fully healthy human, to flourish as a human being. If that is the case, then, kinship, for humans, is a kind of interest in the Singer sense and one that overrides other interests. That may be why we don’t find it reprehensible when a mother prefers the welfare of her child over that of another.

The moral value of ‘kinship’ overrides speciesism

If kinship carries moral weight, then the speciesist argument loses ground and a possible justification for preferring animals over human beings in research emerges.  Medical research is an attempt to save human lives and reduce human suffering (it has similar benefits for animal as well, of course, but we can set that aside for now, for the sake of simplicity). If, as scientists argue, this can only be achieved with the use of an animal model, then we are morally entitled to prefer the use of a non-human animal, so long as kinship has the moral value we are claiming for it and the suffering and distress of the animals is minimised as much as possible.

But what if this is all just a complicated exercise in justifying what we want to do anyway, what if our moral intuitions are just wrong? It is easy to imagine a Singerian arguing, in the case of our starving children and vegan nanny, that the cow has as much moral standing as any of the others: it has the same interest in living and not suffering the pain of hunger as the others and, what’s more, it may be better able to survive the famine given its ability to eat vegetation that cannot sustain humans. In that case, it seems the advocate of speciesism must argue that they all should starve together in the interests of admirable intellectual rigour, even if it feels a little hard on the children.

Using utility to resolve moral conflicts

As usual, though, the situation is more complicated. Peter Singer and his followers recognise that there is often a conflict of moral interests and so we need a framework for finding a resolution. This framework should not be  ad hoc or arbitrary or based on scripture or any other culturally specific text or tradition but should be rational. Within Singer’s argument the rational moral grounding is provided by utilitarianism the ethical doctrine first proposed by Jeremy Bentham in the 19th century. Utilitarianism argues that when two actions are in conflict, the morally correct one is the one that delivers the most happiness for the largest number (Bentham called this ‘utility’ for obscure reasons). In other words, the morality of an action is decided by its consequences, not by the intentions of the actor or anything else. Applied to the problem of our starving infants and their increasingly paranoid cow, a utilitarian might argue that killing the cow is justified despite it having a similar interest in living to the children because the slaughter would maximise future happiness (utility). If they all die, happiness would be at zero, and if a child was sacrificed to save the others, that would reduce overall happiness because of the distress of the survivors at their loss, the suffering endured by the child selected to die, and the indifference of the cow. 

How do you measure happiness?

Problems with utilitarian ways of thinking immediately suggest themselves: how can happiness be measured? How can the ‘happiness’ of a mouse, for example, be weighed against a person, or any other animal? Must we consider a well-intentioned action that has bad outcomes immoral instead of just unfortunate? The literature goes into all these problems and more at great depth, but for our purposes, it is at least clear that a utilitarian moral framework allows for the use of research animals in some circumstances. The human happiness delivered by a successful medical treatment can be great and long lasting while any pain or distress caused to the experimental animals is kept to a minimum and is of very limited duration. In the utilitarian scales, this tips firmly towards an ethical justification of animal research. It is a surprise to many people that Peter Singer, the father of the modern animal rights movement, comes to the same conclusion, although he argues for stricter controls and more work to reduce and mitigate the use of animals. Even without appealing to concepts such as kinship, in other words, the concept of speciesism, perhaps the most formidable intellectual weapon aimed against animal research by protest groups, does not carry the day. It is perfectly possible to allow the moral value of an animal’s interests and still justify its use in research – even if that research causes the animal harm or distress – so long as the future outcomes maximise happiness. 

Animal rights arguments

The only significant ethical argument against animal research that remains is based on the idea of rights. Just as humans have inalienable rights, the argument goes, so do animals. According to this view, the use of animals for research can never be justified for exactly the same reasons that we cannot justify using humans. But argument from rights has many more problems than argument from interests: from where are rights derived? What specific rights do animals have? Should rights be protected even when this is damaging to the welfare of the animal? This last point is perhaps the most salient. If we allow an animal has a right to its freedom, say, not to be kept in captivity (one of the key rights usually claimed by activists), then we are not only committed to ending all ownership of animals, but to the immediate release of all domestic animals into the wild even if that were to the detriment of the animals’ welfare as it surely would be. The problems mount at every step. How can it be possible to reconcile a vole’s right to life with a falcon’s right to eat? What possible mechanism could be constructed to resolve such conflicts and how much irreparable harm to natural ecosystems would follow if we built one? Without answers to questions like this it is hard to see animal rights arguments as much more than rhetoric.

Maximising future happiness and minimising present suffering is enough for an ethical justification of animal research

The case for ethical animal research, then, does not need as much building as it might at first appear. None of the major philosophical arguments for animal welfare exclude the possibility of ethical animal research. The harm that is done to animals in well-regulated research environments serves a higher moral purpose: the reduction of death and suffering by disease and other disorders. Of course, this is only true if pain, suffering and distress, are minimised – as they are through animal welfare regulations in the UK and EU for example. These regulations also require the application of the principles of the 3Rs – but it is quite obvious, all other things being equal, that the use of a mouse in an investigation into cancer development, for example, will create less suffering than using a person for the same purposes. 

So, a utilitarian calculation of maximising future happiness and minimising present suffering is enough for an ethical justification of animal research even for tough minded opponents of animal exploitation such as Professor Singer. But maybe justification is the wrong word. 

Are we not morally obliged to use animals in research?

If, as the biological sciences are almost unanimous in claiming, we cannot have new medicines without some animal research, and if there are hundreds of devastating human illnesses that will continue to cause misery, pain, and heartache without those new treatments, should we not think of animal research as a moral obligation instead? It is difficult science to do, both technically and emotionally, but if we choose not to carry it out, we are effectively choosing to allow human suffering to continue in the future that our efforts today have the potential to reduce or eliminate. We don’t know which suffering we will be successful in mitigating when, but we can be certain that progress is being made. Remove animal research and we don’t not remove suffering, we simply transfer it from the animals now (where it is carefully controlled and minimised, very often to nothing) to future humans. That is the heart of the ethical case for animal research and one that needs to be better addressed by those who oppose it.

Last edited: 7 April 2022 12:16

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The ethics of animal experimentation.

Many medical research institutions make use of non-human animals as test subjects. Animals may be subject to experimentation or modified into conditions useful for gaining knowledge about human disease or for testing potential human treatments. Because animals as distant from humans as mice and rats share many physiological and genetic similarities with humans, animal experimentation can be tremendously helpful for furthering medical science.

However, there is an ongoing debate about the ethics of animal experimentation. Some people argue that all animal experimentation should end because it is wrong to treat animals merely as tools for furthering knowledge. According to this point of view, an animal should have as much right as a human being to live out a full life, free of pain and suffering. Others argue that while it is wrong to unnecessarily abuse animals, animal experimentation must continue because of the enormous scientific resource that animal models provide. Proponents of continued animal experimentation often also point out that progress can still be made to improve the conditions of laboratory animals and they fully support efforts to improve living conditions in laboratories, to use anesthesia appropriately, and to require trained personnel to handle animals.

On closer scrutiny, there exists a wide range of positions on the debate over the ethics of animal testing. The two views mentioned above represent two common positions at the opposing ends of the spectrum. Others endorse a view closer to the middle of the spectrum. Usually, this middle view accepts experimentation on some, but not all, animals and aims to avoid unnecessary use of animals in scientific research by pursuing alternatives to animal testing.

The following sections briefly outline a few of the arguments for and against animal experimentation. They do not represent every possible argument, or even necessarily the best arguments. They also do not necessarily reflect the views of the HOPES team. They are simply our effort to review and raise awareness of the underlying issues.

  • The Case Against Animal Experimentation
  • The Case For Animal Experimentation
  • A Middle Ground

The Case Against Animal Experimentation ^

An important part of the debate over animal rights centers on the question of the moral status of an animal. Most people agree that animals have at least some moral status – that is why it is wrong to abuse pets or needlessly hurt other animals. This alone represents a shift from a past view where animals had no moral status and treating an animal well was more about maintaining human standards of dignity than respecting any innate rights of the animal. In modern times, the question has shifted from whether animals have moral status to how much moral status they have and what rights come with that status.

The strongest pro animal rights answer to this question would be that non-human animals have exactly the same moral status as humans and are entitled to equal treatment. The ethicists who endorse this position do not mean that animals are entitled to the very same treatment as humans; arguing that animals should have the right to vote or hold office is clearly absurd. The claim is that animals should be afforded the same level of respectful treatment as humans; in short, we should not have the right to kill animals, force them into our service, or otherwise treat them merely as means to further our own goals.

One common form of this argument claims that moral status comes from the capacity to suffer or to enjoy life. In respect to his capacity, many animals are no different than humans. They can feel pain and experience pleasure. Therefore, they should have the same moral status and deserve equal treatment.

Supporters of this type of argument frequently claim that granting animals less moral status than humans is just a form of prejudice called “speciesism.” We have an innate tendency, they say, to consider the human species more morally relevant merely because it is the group to which we belong. However, we look upon past examples of this behavior as morally condemnable. Being of a particular race or gender does not give one any grounds for declaring outsiders to be of a lower moral status. Many animal rights advocates argue similarly—that just because we are human is not sufficient grounds to declare animals less morally significant.

The Case For Animal Experimentation ^

Defenders of animal experimentation usually argue that animals cannot be considered morally equal to humans. They generally use this claim as the cornerstone of an argument that the benefits to humans from animal experimentation outweigh or “make up for” the harm done to animals. The first step in making that argument is to show that humans are more important than animals. Below, I will outline one of the more common arguments used to reach this conclusion.

Some philosophers advocate the idea of a moral community. Roughly speaking, this is a group of individuals who all share certain traits in common. By sharing these traits, they belong to a particular moral community and thus take on certain responsibilities toward each other and assume specific rights. For example, in most human moral communities all individuals have the right to make independent decisions and live autonomous lives – and with that right comes the responsibility to respect others’ independence.

Although a moral community could theoretically include animals, it frequently does not. The human moral community, for instance, is often characterized by a capacity to manipulate abstract concepts and by personal autonomy. Since most animals do not have the cognitive capabilities of humans and also do not seem to possess full autonomy (animals do not rationally choose to pursue specific life goals), they are not included in the moral community. Once animals have been excluded from the moral community, humans have only a limited obligation towards them; on this argument, we certainly would not need to grant animals all normal human rights.

If animals do not have the same rights as humans, it becomes permissible to use them for research purposes. Under this view, the ways in which experimentation might harm the animal are less morally significant than the potential human benefits from the research.

One problem with this type of argument is that many humans themselves do not actually fulfill the criteria for belonging to the human moral community. Both infants and the mentally handicapped frequently lack complex cognitive capacities, full autonomy, or even both of these traits. Are those individuals outside the human moral community? Do they lack fundamental human rights and should we use them for experimentation? One philosophical position actually accepts those consequences and argues that those humans have the exact same rights (or lack of rights) as non-human animals. However, most people are uncomfortable with that scenario and some philosophers have put forth a variety of reasons to include all humans in the human moral community. A common way to “return” excluded individuals to the human moral community is to note how close these individuals come to meeting the criteria. In fact, some of them (the infants) will surely meet all of the criteria in the future. With that in mind, the argument runs, it is best practice to act charitably and treat all humans as part of the moral community.

In summary, defenders of animal experimentation argue that humans have higher moral status than animals and fundamental rights that animals lack. Accordingly, potential animal rights violations are outweighed by the greater human benefits of animal research.

A Middle Ground ^

There is a middle ground for those who feel uncomfortable with animal experimentation, but believe that in some circumstances the good arising out of experimentation does outweigh harm to the animal. Proponents of the middle ground position usually advocate a few basic principals that they believe should always be followed in animal research.

One principle calls for the preferential research use of less complex organisms whenever possible. For example bacteria , fruit flies, and plants would be preferred over mammals. This reflects a belief in a hierarchy of moral standing with more complex animals at the top and microorganisms and plants at the bottom. A philosophical grounding for this sort of hierarchy is the “moral worth as richness of life” model. This point of view suggests that more complicated organisms have richer, more fulfilling lives and that it is the richness of the life that actually correlates with moral worth.

Another principle is to reduce animal use as far as possible in any given study. Extensive literature searches, for instance, can ensure that experiments are not unnecessarily replicated and can ensure that animal models are only used to obtain information not already available in the scientific community. Another way to reduce animal use is to ensure that studies are conducted according to the highest standards and that all information collected will be useable. Providing high quality, disease-free environments for the animals will help ensure that every animal counts. Additionally, well designed studies and appropriate statistical analysis of data can minimize the number of animals required for statistically significant results.

A third principle is to ensure the best possible treatment of the animals used in a study. This means reducing pain and suffering as much as possible. When appropriate, anesthesia should be used; additionally, studies should have the earliest possible endpoints after which animals who will subsequently experience disease or suffering can be euthanized. Also, anyone who handles the animals should be properly trained.

The “bottom line” for the middle ground position is that animal experimentation should be avoided whenever possible in favor of alternative research strategies.

For further reading:

  • Singer, Peter. “All Animals are Equal.” Ethics in Practice . LaFollette, Hugh ed. Blackwell Publishing. 2007. Peter Singer is one of the best publicly known advocates of animal rights and animal equality. This philosophical essay briefly presents his views.
  • Fox, Michael Allen. “The Moral Community.” Ethics in Practice. LaFollette, Hugh ed. Blackwell Publishing. 2007. This essay defends animal experimentation.
  • Frey, R.G. “Animals and Their Medical Use.” Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Cohen, Andrew and Wellman, Christopher eds. Blackwell Publishing. 2005 In this essay Frey puts forth a view where animals do matter, but human welfare is considered more important.
  • Regan, Tom. “Empty Cages: Animals Rights and Vivisection.” Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Cohen, Andrew and Wellman, Christopher eds. Blackwell Publishing. 2005. This essay supports animal rights.
  • “Ethics and Alternatives”. Research Animal Resources. University of Minnesota. 2003. Ethics and Alternatives for Animal Use in Research and Teaching . A great resource describing some ways to minimize the use of animals in research and to practice the best standards when using animals.

– Adam Hepworth, 11-26-08

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clock This article was published more than  2 years ago

Opinion Time to rethink how we use animals to test pharmaceuticals

argument article on animal testing

Every now and then, a sliver of sanity seeps through the barricade of national lunacy.

This past week, a handful of bipartisan lawmakers introduced two bills aimed at ending one of our nation’s most-barbaric practices — mandatory animal testing of new pharmaceuticals destined for human trials.

It’s been a while since I’ve performed a midair, double-heeled click, but I managed a reasonable facsimile upon hearing this news. The Senate’s “FDA Modernization Act” and the House’s H.R. 2565 set the stage for a groundbreaking move to end animal suffering while also advancing timelier and more efficient drug development.

In part, the measures result from lessons learned during development of the coronavirus vaccine: We don’t need to wait so long to develop human therapies if we bypass some of the archaic demands of outdated laws, in particular, a 1930’s-era law that required animal testing before human trials. When the pandemic demanded swift action on a vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration worked with government officials and pharmaceutical companies to create lifesaving drugs in record time. This happened because Moderna and Pfizer were allowed to run animal testing and early trials on humans at the same time, rather than completing separate animal trials first.

The best reason to stop using animals in drug tests is the fact that animals don’t respond to drugs the same way people do. (If they did, we might as well all go to veterinarians for our shots.) Although the use of animals in science and medicine has benefited human beings, there’s significant evidence that “human subjects have been harmed in the clinical testing of drugs that were deemed safe by animal studies,” as Gail A. Van Norman wrote in the journal JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

argument article on animal testing

Alarmingly, adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease. It does not sound to me like using animals — normally mice and monkeys — is worth the price in cruelty we pay for our health.

Besides, other ways of conducting research are available and already in use. The first is a technique that performs a procedure in a controlled environment outside of a living organism, which sounds a lot better than the alternative. Such tests are already in use and typically involve tests or experiments performed on computers or via computer simulation. This method also is being used in studies that predict how drugs interact with the body and with pathogens.

Nevertheless, drug companies and the scientific community likely will fight this initiative, just as they have in past years, if only because they don’t want to change how they do business. Several important animal rights victories, including President Trump’s ban on using dogs in experiments , has some firms and many scientists worried about the future of such research.

Cultural trends also seem to suggest that public opinion is shifting on animal research. A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that a slight majority of Americans (52 percent) oppose animal testing. But it is not without exceptions: When asked about genetic engineering of animals, the numbers shift toward the survival of our species over others. Only 21 percent think that engineering aquarium fish to glow is an appropriate use of technology, for example, while 57 percent approve of using animals to grow organs and tissue for humans in need of a transplant.

Though there didn’t seem to be any significant partisan alignments, there was evidence that support for animal testing rises with education. Americans with postgraduate degrees support animal experimentation to a greater degree because, theoretically, they’ve likely had greater exposure to science. The less educated more often oppose animal experimentation.

Still, some in the scientific community are getting worried about the future of animal research. Ken Gordon, executive director of a Seattle biomedical research firm, has tracked U.S. attitudes toward animal research using 17 years of Gallup polls. Extrapolating, he predicts that the portion of the public that finds animal testing “morally wrong” will exceed the portion that finds it “morally acceptable” within the next two to three years.

When that happens, he said, “funding will dry up, and our work will get a lot more difficult.”

That’s probably an overstatement. I’d like to think that science and humane research can coexist. Much of what we do in research today is because of how we’ve always done it — ever since the 4th century B.C. when Aristotle was performing animal experiments to learn about anatomy. Several millennia later is time enough to liberate our animal hostages along with our better angels — and put technology to its highest and best uses. Besides, given what we know, it just makes sense.

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Ethics guide

Experimenting on animals

Animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Many of these experiments cause pain to the animals involved or reduce their quality of life in other ways. If it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer then experimenting on animals produces serious moral problems.

On this page

Animal experimentation, drug safety, are animal experiments useful, ethical arithmetic, other approaches, proposed eu directive, page options.

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A difficult issue

Mouse with human ear on its back

Animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products.

Many of these experiments cause pain to the animals involved or reduce their quality of life in other ways.

If it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer then experimenting on animals produces serious moral problems.

Animal experimenters are very aware of this ethical problem and acknowledge that experiments should be made as humane as possible.

They also agree that it's wrong to use animals if alternative testing methods would produce equally valid results.

Two positions on animal experiments

  • In favour of animal experiments:
  • suffering is minimised in all experiments
  • human benefits are gained which could not be obtained by using other methods
  • Against animal experiments:
  • it causes suffering to animals
  • the benefits to human beings are not proven
  • any benefits to human beings that animal testing does provide could be produced in other ways

Harm versus benefit

The case for animal experiments is that they will produce such great benefits for humanity that it is morally acceptable to harm a few animals.

The equivalent case against is that the level of suffering and the number of animals involved are both so high that the benefits to humanity don't provide moral justification.

The three Rs

The three Rs are a set of principles that scientists are encouraged to follow in order to reduce the impact of research on animals.

The three Rs are: Reduction, Refinement, Replacement.

  • Reduction :
  • Improving experimental techniques
  • Improving techniques of data analysis
  • Sharing information with other researchers
  • Refinement :
  • Using less invasive techniques
  • Better medical care
  • Better living conditions
  • Replacement :
  • Experimenting on cell cultures instead of whole animals
  • Using computer models
  • Studying human volunteers
  • Using epidemiological studies

Animal experiments and drug safety

Scientists say that banning animal experiments would mean either

  • an end to testing new drugs or
  • using human beings for all safety tests

Animal experiments are not used to show that drugs are safe and effective in human beings - they cannot do that. Instead, they are used to help decide whether a particular drug should be tested on people.

Animal experiments eliminate some potential drugs as either ineffective or too dangerous to use on human beings. If a drug passes the animal test it's then tested on a small human group before large scale clinical trials.

The pharmacologist William D H Carey demonstrated the importance of animal testing in a letter to the British Medical Journal:

We have 4 possible new drugs to cure HIV. Drug A killed all the rats, mice and dogs. Drug B killed all the dogs and rats. Drug C killed all the mice and rats. Drug D was taken by all the animals up to huge doses with no ill effect. Question: Which of those drugs should we give to some healthy young human volunteers as the first dose to humans (all other things being equal)? To the undecided (and non-prejudiced) the answer is, of course, obvious. It would also be obvious to a normal 12 year old child... An alternative, acceptable answer would be, none of those drugs because even drug D could cause damage to humans. That is true, which is why Drug D would be given as a single, very small dose to human volunteers under tightly controlled and regulated conditions. William DH Carey, BMJ 2002; 324: 236a

Animal experiments only benefit human beings if their results are valid and can be applied to human beings.

Not all scientists are convinced that these tests are valid and useful.

...animals have not been as critical to the advancement of medicine as is typically claimed by proponents of animal experimentation. Moreover, a great deal of animal experimentation has been misleading and resulted in either withholding of drugs, sometimes for years, that were subsequently found to be highly beneficial to humans, or to the release and use of drugs that, though harmless to animals, have actually contributed to human suffering and death. Jane Goodall 'Reason for Hope', 1999

The moral status of the experimenters

Animal rights extremists often portray those who experiment on animals as being so cruel as to have forfeited any own moral standing.

But the argument is about whether the experiments are morally right or wrong. The general moral character of the experimenter is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the ethical approach of the experimenter to each experiment. John P Gluck has suggested that this is often lacking:

The lack of ethical self-examination is common and generally involves the denial or avoidance of animal suffering, resulting in the dehumanization of researchers and the ethical degradation of their research subjects. John P. Gluck; Ethics and Behavior, Vol. 1, 1991

Gluck offers this advice for people who may need to experiment on animals:

The use of animals in research should evolve out of a strong sense of ethical self-examination. Ethical self-examination involves a careful self-analysis of one's own personal and scientific motives. Moreover, it requires a recognition of animal suffering and a satisfactory working through of that suffering in terms of one's ethical values. John P. Gluck; Ethics and Behavior, Vol. 1, 1991

Animal experiments and animal rights

The issue of animal experiments is straightforward if we accept that animals have rights: if an experiment violates the rights of an animal, then it is morally wrong, because it is wrong to violate rights.

The possible benefits to humanity of performing the experiment are completely irrelevant to the morality of the case, because rights should never be violated (except in obvious cases like self-defence).

And as one philosopher has written, if this means that there are some things that humanity will never be able to learn, so be it.

This bleak result of deciding the morality of experimenting on animals on the basis of rights is probably why people always justify animal experiments on consequentialist grounds; by showing that the benefits to humanity justify the suffering of the animals involved.

Justifying animal experiments

Those in favour of animal experiments say that the good done to human beings outweighs the harm done to animals.

This is a consequentialist argument, because it looks at the consequences of the actions under consideration.

It can't be used to defend all forms of experimentation since there are some forms of suffering that are probably impossible to justify even if the benefits are exceptionally valuable to humanity.

Bottle and pipette

Animal experiments and ethical arithmetic

The consequentialist justification of animal experimentation can be demonstrated by comparing the moral consequences of doing or not doing an experiment.

This process can't be used in a mathematical way to help people decide ethical questions in practice, but it does demonstrate the issues very clearly.

The basic arithmetic

If performing an experiment would cause more harm than not performing it, then it is ethically wrong to perform that experiment.

The harm that will result from not doing the experiment is the result of multiplying three things together:

  • the moral value of a human being
  • the number of human beings who would have benefited
  • the value of the benefit that each human being won't get

The harm that the experiment will cause is the result of multiplying together:

  • the moral value of an experimental animal
  • the number of animals suffering in the experiment
  • the negative value of the harm done to each animal

But it isn't that simple because:

  • it's virtually impossible to assign a moral value to a being
  • it's virtually impossible to assign a value to the harm done to each individual
  • the harm that will be done by the experiment is known beforehand, but the benefit is unknown
  • the harm done by the experiment is caused by an action, while the harm resulting from not doing it is caused by an omission

Certain versus potential harm

In the theoretical sum above, the harm the experiment will do to animals is weighed against the harm done to humans by not doing the experiment.

But these are two conceptually different things.

  • The harm that will be done to the animals is certain to happen if the experiment is carried out
  • The harm done to human beings by not doing the experiment is unknown because no-one knows how likely the experiment is to succeed or what benefits it might produce if it did succeed

So the equation is completely useless as a way of deciding whether it is ethically acceptable to perform an experiment, because until the experiment is carried out, no-one can know the value of the benefit that it produces.

And there's another factor missing from the equation, which is discussed in the next section.

Acts and omissions

The equation doesn't deal with the moral difference between acts and omissions.

Most ethicists think that we have a greater moral responsibility for the things we do than for the things we fail to do; i.e. that it is morally worse to do harm by doing something than to do harm by not doing something.

For example: we think that the person who deliberately drowns a child has done something much more wrong than the person who refuses to wade into a shallow pool to rescue a drowning child.

In the animal experiment context, if the experiment takes place, the experimenter will carry out actions that harm the animals involved.

If the experiment does not take place the experimenter will not do anything. This may cause harm to human beings because they won't benefit from a cure for their disease because the cure won't be developed.

So the acts and omissions argument could lead us to say that

  • it is morally worse for the experimenter to harm the animals by experimenting on them
  • than it is to (potentially) harm some human beings by not doing an experiment that might find a cure for their disease.

And so if we want to continue with the arithmetic that we started in the section above, we need to put an additional, and different, factor on each side of the equation to deal with the different moral values of acts and omissions.

Other approaches to animal experiments

One writer suggests that we can cut out a lot of philosophising about animal experiments by using this test:

...whenever experimenters claim that their experiments are important enough to justify the use of animals, we should ask them whether they would be prepared to use a brain-damaged human being at a similar mental level to the animals they are planning to use. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, Avon, 1991

Sadly, there are a number of examples where researchers have been prepared to experiment on human beings in ways that should not have been permitted on animals.

And another philosopher suggests that it would anyway be more effective to research on normal human beings:

Whatever benefits animal experimentation is thought to hold in store for us, those very same benefits could be obtained through experimenting on humans instead of animals. Indeed, given that problems exist because scientists must extrapolate from animal models to humans, one might think there are good scientific reasons for preferring human subjects. Justifying Animal Experimentation: The Starting Point, in Why Animal Experimentation Matters: The Use of Animals in Medical Research, 2001

If those human subjects were normal and able to give free and informed consent to the experiment then this might not be morally objectionable.

In November 2008 the European Union put forward proposals to revise the directive for the protection of animals used in scientific experiments in line with the three R principle of replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in experiments. The proposals have three aims:

  • to considerably improve the welfare of animals used in scientific procedures
  • to ensure fair competition for industry
  • to boost research activities in the European Union

The proposed directive covers all live non-human vertebrate animals intended for experiments plus certain other species likely to experience pain, and also animals specifically bred so that their organs or tissue can be used in scientific procedures.

The main changes proposed are:

  • to make it compulsory to carry out ethical reviews and require that experiments where animals are used be subject to authorisation
  • to widen the scope of the directive to include specific invertebrate species and foetuses in their last trimester of development and also larvae and other animals used in basic research, education and training to set minimum housing and care requirements
  • to require that only animals of second or older generations be used, subject to transitional periods, to avoid taking animals from the wild and exhausting wild populations
  • to state that alternatives to testing on animals must be used when available and that the number of animals used in projects be reduced to a minimum
  • to require member states to improve the breeding, accommodation and care measures and methods used in procedures so as to eliminate or reduce to a minimum any possible pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm caused to animals

The proposal also introduces a ban on the use of great apes - chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans - in scientific procedures, other than in exceptional circumstances, but there is no proposal to phase out the use of other non-human primates in the immediate foreseeable future.

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Animal Testing: Should Animal Testing Be Allowed? — Argumentative Essay

Animal testing: introduction, animal testing: debatable questions, animal testing: conclusion.

Animal testing denotes the use of animals in medical experiments to unveil the potency, safety, toxicity, and viability of developed drugs. Concurrently, the phenomenon also applies to other biological experiments, which utilize animals as specimens. The method incorporates the administration of pharmaceutical compounds into biological systems (test animals).

This usually occurs for scientific purposes and medical developments. The process is debatable and has been disputed by animal activists, religious groups, and ethical communities who believe that the trend is immoral and inappropriate since animals cannot be compared with human beings (Panza & Potthast, 2010).

Animal testing usually involve vertebrates like rodents, cats, dogs, birds, and Guinea pigs among others. Since this is a disputable phenomenon, where one can argue for or against the act, this paper supports the aspects of animal testing with bountiful reasons based on its viability in investigating pharmacological compounds. Without animal testing, numerous drugs, which currently help the humankind, could have missed.

Since human beings cannot commence crude pharmaceutical investigations as test specimens, using test animals is significant in this context. It is advisable to execute scientific investigations elsewhere before introducing them into human beings. It is crucial to agree that animal testing might be unethical phenomenon as argued by some groups; nonetheless, it should continue following its merits and contributions to the humankind in the realms of drug investigations and scientific discoveries.

With regard to animal testing, debatable questions emerge. In this paper, “Should animal testing be abandoned due to ethical claims surrounding it?” forms the debated question. This question tries to unveil whether it is viable for biologists and medical scientists to cease from using animals for experimental investigations.

Despite the conventional use of these animals in numerous scientific experiments, it is still debatable on their viability and potency. Arguably, the animal testing phenomenon should continue with regard to scientific investigations.

The need for efficacy, safety, novelty, and certainty in the realms of drug-use require thorough investigative experiments, which can only materialize when test animals are incorporated. Firstly, some animal have systems that resemble those of human beings; thus, the ability to use such animals give a broader chance of executing an elaborate experimental investigation.

Using animals as representative of humans is a critical phenomenon when scrutinized critically. There are numerous individuals who have disputed this claim as stated in the research question. The desire to continue with the animal testing phenomenon has infuriated numerous activists who are against it (Panza & Potthast, 2010).

Nonetheless, it is evident and appropriate that this phenomenon should continue for further discoveries to be realized. It is questionable how further medical research will occur and how this will materialize without the use of test animals. This is an impossible phenomenon, which demands those who are arguing against animal testing to reconsider their stands.

Another issue is that human beings cannot be used as experimental animals. The drugs administered into humans must be of some quality, minimized toxicity, viable to use, potent, safe, and effective. This means that they have been investigated and approved by the concerned bodies after scientific investigations. If animal testing will be abandoned, no effective experimentation will occur on biological vessels.

Evidently, invitro (using experimental tubes) experimentations are slow and incomprehensive. This means that scientific investigations will delay and sometimes results might not occur. It is vital to consider that animal testing has helped significantly since its inception several decades ago. It has remained a viable, trusted, and considerable experimental design for pharmaceutical products and other scientific investigations.

Harrison & Hester (2006), which identifies alternative of animal testing, agrees that attaining an alternative of this trend is daunting and minimally achievable. Scientific considerations support this trend since there are limited alternatives to replace the method comprehensively (Harrison & Hester, 2006).

Those who are against animal testing claim that animals are not human beings and equating the two is inconsiderable. Evidently, animal are not exact copies of humans. There are numerous differences noticeable amidst the two factions. Additionally, they argue that what works best in a guinea pig (an experimental animal), might not exactly perform in humans.

The two factions (humans and test animals) are different hence the assumption that they can emulate each other is misled. Notably, this argument is understandable; however, as the situation stands, it is still appropriate to conduct animal testing to help in research investigations. Humans can hardly be used for crude or undeveloped researches as the ones done with test animals. This means that animal testing is still the best option.

According to Schmidt (2001), which discusses the aspects of animal testing, recognizes that it is important to infer that what is inconsumable for test animals is similarly consumable for humans. It is possible to note the adverse effects of drugs with animals, make appropriate changes in the composition of the tested drug, and later emerge with effective, safe, and potent compound worth human utilization.

Watson (2009), which describes the ethical issues related to animal testing, argues that some ethical claims behind the animal testing are baseless when compared to human lives saved daily due to animal testing executed to investigate proper and effective drugs. A mere claim that it is immoral to inject or administer unworthy compounds into an innocent animal while doing research is superfluous. This simply means that those who are against animal testing hardly want researches to be done using animals.

This is good and considerable; however, these very people hardly provide viable alternatives that can work better compared to the conventional animal testing provisions. Besides, they are also among those who gain from the findings and results achieved from such investigations. Evidently, almost all drugs currently used in the world at one point passed through animal testing to unveil their viability, safety, efficacy, toxicity levels, and other viable provisions demanded in this context.

Concurrently, it is inappropriate to abandon animal testing as claimed by the activists. The current discoveries on genetics, reproduction, developmental biology, and study of behaviors among others could have not materialized minus animal testing.

Additionally, there are other viable provisions that characterize the phenomenon besides the known pharmaceutical investigations which usually occur using test animals as stipulated before. In these mentioned fields, there are still considerable knowledge gaps that will necessitate further application of animal testing in order to unveil additional information.

This phenomenon can hardly occur minus animal testing since there will be no specimens for further research. The ethical claims fronted by the mentioned activists should cease from hindering further investigations (Watson, 2009). It is evident that discoveries made from animal testing are numerous and helpful to the human race as indicated earlier. The need for more investigations and application of animal testing will continue to exist following its viability, applicability, and reliability in the aspects of research.

The viewpoint that animals equally have moral rights is evident; however, it is disputable in this context since it acts as a hindrance to lucrative investigations and discoveries that are helpful to the humankind. Hayhurst (2000), which debates on animal rights, denotes that individuals who perceive animal as having rights are equally accurate in their opinions; nonetheless, they should also consider the merits of animal testing to their lives and beyond.

This relates to the ethical arguments posted with regard to this topic. It forms the center of argument from various people. It is crucial to denote that animal testing has numerous provisions worth noting in varying contexts. This relates to its viability and potency in unveiling the less investigated claims with regard to life. According to various sources, some arguments regarding the aspects of animal testing are invalid and misleading (Hayhurst, 2000). They simply emerge from undue compassion for animals.

This contributes to why this paper agrees with the continuity of animal testing. Precisely, its merits surpass its baseless flaws numerous times. It is recommendable to scrutinize these arguments before they derail the realities that encompass a given matter. It is crucial to consider such provisions following their viability in this context.

Additionally, those who argue against animal testing claim that such animals lack the capacity to express themselves hence can hardly show their pain, dissatisfaction, and suffering.

This is a critical claim; however, it is not enough to support the ban against animal testing. Conversely, scientists, medics, and biologists who use such animals apply moral aspects to their undertakings; hence, will barely intend to harm such experimental animals. Since such ethical observations are carried out within the mentioned experimental testing, it is considerable to continue with the animal testing phenomenon. Adjusting the conditions of these tests might equally help in upholding the ethical demands.

Another argument is that animal testing simplifies and speeds the experimental designs meant to make discoveries. This could have not been achievable minus such experimental trends. Testing developed research products on animals elicit the desired results with promptness. It is daunting and time consuming to develop therapeutic and diagnostic compounds from human beings. This relates to the aspects of delay claimed earlier.

Scientists will not be able to attain their demands in time. This might discourage them from continuing with investigations. Since the use of animal testing provides instant results, its application is widespread, applicable, and viable in numerous contexts. The aspects of safety indicated earlier in these claims equally contribute to the applicability of animal testing. It is improper to execute unsafe experiments or unverified drugs on humans.

The repercussions might be devastating than when it was applied on test animals (Schmidt, 2001). For example, developments and investigations on HIV drugs cannot occur on humans at their initial stages. It is advisable to develop them through animal testing before rendering them usable by humans. It is possible to adjust the composition of the given compound to unveil its viable concentrations. Emerging with instant results supports the application of animal testing and contributes massively in this context.

Animal testing is a helpful phenomenon in biological, medical, and other scientific investigations demanding its incorporation. The phenomenon is helpful, viable, and should be embraced despite the opposing opinions. Animal testing helps in developing effective, safe, viable, qualitative, and less toxic drugs. Following the merits of animal testing, its application and advancements should continue while observing ethical concerns.

Harrison, R. & Hester, R. (2006). Alternatives to Animal Testing . Ohio, OH: Cengage Learning.

Hayhurst, C. (2000). Animal testing: The animal rights debate . New York, NY: Rosen Pub. Group.

Panza, C. & Potthast, A. (2010). Ethics For Dummies . Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Schmidt, A. (2001). Animal testing in infectiology . Basel: Karger.

Watson, S. (2009). Animal testing: Issues and ethics . New York, NY: Rosen Pub.

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  • v.63(2 Suppl 3); 2022 Jun

Ethical considerations regarding animal experimentation

Aysha karim kiani.

1 Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Pakistan

2 MAGI EUREGIO, Bolzano, Italy


3 Society and Health, Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe, UK


4 School of Food Science and Environmental Health, Technological University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


5 Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


6 Department of Ophthalmology, Center for Ocular Regenerative Therapy, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA


7 Department of Philosophy and Applied Philosophy, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Trnava, Slovakia


8 Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel


9 Institute of Ophthalmology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli-IRCCS, Rome, Italy


10 MAGI BALKANS, Tirana, Albania


11 Department of Biotechnology, University of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Trnava, Slovakia

12 International Centre for Applied Research and Sustainable Technology, Bratislava, Slovakia


13 UOC Neurology and Stroke Unit, ASST Lecco, Merate, Italy


14 Center for Preclincal Research and General and Liver Transplant Surgery Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca‘ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy

15 Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy


16 Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy

17 UOC Maxillo-Facial Surgery and Dentistry, Fondazione IRCCS Ca Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy


18 Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Near East University, Nicosia, Cyprus


19 Department of Medical Genetics, Erciyes University Medical Faculty, Kayseri, Turkey


20 Vascular Diagnostics and Rehabilitation Service, Marino Hospital, ASL Roma 6, Marino, Italy


21 MAGI’S LAB, Rovereto (TN), Italy


Astrit dautaj, kevin donato, maria chiara medori, tommaso beccari.

22 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy


23 MAGI GROUP, San Felice del Benaco (BS), Italy


24 San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA


25 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, TIMC-IMAG, SyNaBi, Grenoble, France


26 Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy


27 Department of Biotechnology, University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania


28 Total Lipedema Care, Beverly Hills California and Tucson Arizona, USA


29 Federation of the Jewish Communities of Slovakia


30 Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University "G. d'Annunzio", Chieti, Italy


31 Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, UK


Matteo bertelli.

32 MAGISNAT, Peachtree Corners (GA), USA

Animal experimentation is widely used around the world for the identification of the root causes of various diseases in humans and animals and for exploring treatment options. Among the several animal species, rats, mice and purpose-bred birds comprise almost 90% of the animals that are used for research purpose. However, growing awareness of the sentience of animals and their experience of pain and suffering has led to strong opposition to animal research among many scientists and the general public. In addition, the usefulness of extrapolating animal data to humans has been questioned. This has led to Ethical Committees’ adoption of the ‘four Rs’ principles (Reduction, Refinement, Replacement and Responsibility) as a guide when making decisions regarding animal experimentation. Some of the essential considerations for humane animal experimentation are presented in this review along with the requirement for investigator training. Due to the ethical issues surrounding the use of animals in experimentation, their use is declining in those research areas where alternative in vitro or in silico methods are available. However, so far it has not been possible to dispense with experimental animals completely and further research is needed to provide a road map to robust alternatives before their use can be fully discontinued.

How to cite this article: Kiani AK, Pheby D, Henehan G, Brown R, Sieving P, Sykora P, Marks R, Falsini B, Capodicasa N, Miertus S, Lorusso L, Dondossola D, Tartaglia GM, Ergoren MC, Dundar M, Michelini S, Malacarne D, Bonetti G, Dautaj A, Donato K, Medori MC, Beccari T, Samaja M, Connelly ST, Martin D, Morresi A, Bacu A, Herbst KL, Kapustin M, Stuppia L, Lumer L, Farronato G, Bertelli M. Ethical considerations regarding animal experimentation. J Prev Med Hyg 2022;63(suppl.3):E255-E266. https://doi.org/10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2022.63.2S3.2768


Animal model-based research has been performed for a very long time. Ever since the 5 th century B.C., reports of experiments involving animals have been documented, but an increase in the frequency of their utilization has been observed since the 19 th century [ 1 ]. Most institutions for medical research around the world use non-human animals as experimental subjects [ 2 ]. Such animals might be used for research experimentations to gain a better understanding of human diseases or for exploring potential treatment options [ 2 ]. Even those animals that are evolutionarily quite distant from humans, such as Drosophila melanogaster , Zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) and Caenorhabditis elegans , share physiological and genetic similarities with human beings [ 2 ]; therefore animal experimentation can be of great help for the advancement of medical science [ 2 ].

For animal experimentation, the major assumption is that the animal research will be of benefit to humans. There are many reasons that highlight the significance of animal use in biomedical research. One of the major reasons is that animals and humans share the same biological processes. In addition, vertebrates have many anatomical similarities (all vertebrates have lungs, a heart, kidneys, liver and other organs) [ 3 ]. Therefore, these similarities make certain animals more suitable for experiments and for providing basic training to young researchers and students in different fields of biological and biomedical sciences [ 3 ]. Certain animals are susceptible to various health problems that are similar to human diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease [ 4 ]. Furthermore, there are genetically modified animals that are used to obtain pathological phenotypes [ 5 ]. A significant benefit of animal experimentation is that test species can be chosen that have a much shorter life cycle than humans. Therefore, animal models can be studied throughout their life span and for several successive generations, an essential element for the understanding of disease progression along with its interaction with the whole organism throughout its lifetime [ 6 ].

Animal models often play a critical role in helping researchers who are exploring the efficacy and safety of potential medical treatments and drugs. They help to identify any dangerous or undesired side effects, such as birth defects, infertility, toxicity, liver damage or any potential carcinogenic effects [ 7 ]. Currently, U.S. Federal law, for example, requires that non-human animal research is used to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of any new treatment options before proceeding to trials on humans [ 8 ]. Of course, it is not only humans benefit from this research and testing, since many of the drugs and treatments that are developed for humans are routinely used in veterinary clinics, which help animals live longer and healthier lives [ 4 ].


When COVID-19 struck, there was a desperate need for research on the disease, its effects on the brain and body and on the development of new treatments for patients with the disease. Early in the disease it was noticed that those with the disease suffered a loss of smell and taste, as well as neurological and psychiatric symptoms, some of which lasted long after the patients had “survived” the disease [ 9-15 ]. As soon as the pandemic started, there was a search for appropriate animal models in which to study this unknown disease [ 16 , 17 ]. While genetically modified mice and rats are the basic animal models for neurological and immunological research [ 18 , 19 ] the need to understand COVID-19 led to a range of animal models; from fruit flies [ 20 ] and Zebrafish [ 21 ] to large mammals [ 22 , 23 ] and primates [ 24 , 25 ]. And it was just not one animal model that was needed, but many, because different aspects of the disease are best studied in different animal models [ 16 , 25 , 26 ]. There is also a need to study the transmission pathways of the zoonosis: where does it come from, what are the animal hosts and how is it transferred to humans [ 27 ]?

There has been a need for animal models for understanding the pathophysiology of COVID-19 [ 28 ], for studying the mechanisms of transmission of the disease [ 16 ], for studying its neurobiology [ 29 , 30 ] and for developing new vaccines [ 31 ]. The sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that animal research is necessary, and that the curtailment of such research has serious consequences for the health of both humans and animals, both wild and domestic [ 32 ] As highlighted by Adhikary et al. [ 22 ] and Genzel et al. [ 33 ] the coronavirus has made clear the necessity for animal research and the danger in surviving future such pandemics if animal research is not fully supported. Genzel et al. [ 33 ], in particular, take issue with the proposal for a European ban on animal testing. Finally, there is a danger in bypassing animal research in developing new vaccines for diseases such as COVID-19 [ 34 ]. The purpose of this paper is to show that, while animal research is necessary for the health of both humans and animals, there is a need to carry out such experimentation in a controlled and humane manner. The use of alternatives to animal research such as cultured human cells and computer modeling may be a useful adjunct to animal studies but will require that such methods are more readily accessible to researchers and are not a replacement for animal experimentation.

Pros and cons of animal experimentation

Arguments against animal experimentation.

A fundamental question surrounding this debate is to ask whether it is appropriate to use animals for medical research. Is our acceptance that animals have a morally lower value or standard of life just a case of speciesism [ 35 ]? Nowadays, most people agree that animals have a moral status and that needlessly hurting or abusing pets or other animals is unacceptable. This represents something of a change from the historical point of view where animals did not have any moral status and the treatment of animals was mostly subservient to maintaining the health and dignity of humans [ 36 ].

Animal rights advocates strongly argue that the moral status of non-human animals is similar to that of humans, and that animals are entitled to equality of treatment. In this view, animals should be treated with the same level of respect as humans, and no one should have the right to force them into any service or to kill them or use them for their own goals. One aspect of this argument claims that moral status depends upon the capacity to suffer or enjoy life [ 37 ].

In terms of suffering and the capacity of enjoying life, many animals are not very different from human beings, as they can feel pain and experience pleasure [ 38 ]. Hence, they should be given the same moral status as humans and deserve equivalent treatment. Supporters of this argument point out that according animals a lower moral status than humans is a type of prejudice known as “speciesism” [ 38 ]. Among humans, it is widely accepted that being a part of a specific race or of a specific gender does not provide the right to ascribe a lower moral status to the outsiders. Many advocates of animal rights deploy the same argument, that being human does not give us sufficient grounds declare animals as being morally less significant [ 36 ].


Those who support animal experimentation have frequently made the argument that animals cannot be elevated to be seen as morally equal to humans [ 39 ]. Their main argument is that the use of the terms “moral status” or “morality” is debatable. They emphasize that we must not make the error of defining a quality or capacity associated with an animal by using the same adjectives used for humans [ 39 ]. Since, for the most part, animals do not possess humans’ cognitive capabilities and lack full autonomy (animals do not appear to rationally pursue specific goals in life), it is argued that therefore, they cannot be included in the moral community [ 39 ]. It follows from this line of argument that, if animals do not possess the same rights as human beings, their use in research experimentation can be considered appropriate [ 40 ]. The European and the American legislation support this kind of approach as much as their welfare is respected.

Another aspect of this argument is that the benefits to human beings of animal experimentation compensate for the harm caused to animals by these experiments.

In other words, animal harm is morally insignificant compared to the potential benefits to humans. Essentially, supporters of animal experimentation claim that human beings have a higher moral status than animals and that animals lack certain fundamental rights accorded to humans. The potential violations of animal rights during animal research are, in this way, justified by the greater benefits to mankind [ 40 , 41 ]. A way to evaluate when the experiments are morally justified was published in 1986 by Bateson, which developed the Bateson’s Cube [ 42 ]. The Cube has three axes: suffering, certainty of benefit and quality of research. If the research is high-quality, beneficial, and not inflicting suffering, it will be acceptable. At the contrary, painful, low-quality research with lower likelihood of success will not be acceptable [ 42 , 43 ].

Impact of experimentations on animals

Ability to feel pain and distress.

Like humans, animal have certain physical as well as psychological characteristics that make their use for experimentation controversial [ 44 ].

In the last few decades, many studies have increased knowledge of animal awareness and sentience: they indicate that animals have greater potential to experience damage than previously appreciated and that current rights and protections need to be reconsidered [ 45 ]. In recent times, scientists as well as ethicists have broadly acknowledged that animals can also experience distress and pain [ 46 ]. Potential sources of such harm arising from their use in research include disease, basic physiological needs deprivation and invasive procedures [ 46 ]. Moreover, social deprivation and lack of the ability to carry out their natural behaviors are other causes of animal harm [ 46 ]. Several studies have shown that, even in response to very gentle handling and management, animals can show marked alterations in their physiological and hormonal stress markers [ 47 ].

In spite of the fact that suffering and pain are personalized experiences, several multi-disciplinary studies have provided clear evidence of animals experiencing pain and distress. In particular, some animal species have the ability to express pain similarly to human due to common psychological, neuroanatomical and genetic characteristics [ 48 ]. Similarly, animals share a resemblance to humans in their developmental, genetic and environmental risk factors for psychopathology. For instance, in many species, it has been shown that fear operates within a less organized subcortical neural circuit than pain [ 49 , 50 ]. Various types of depression and anxiety disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder have also been reported in mammals [ 51 ].


Some researchers have suggested that besides their ability to experience physical and psychological pain and distress, some animals also exhibit empathy, self-awareness and language-like capabilities. They also demonstrate tools-linked cognizance, pleasure-seeking and advanced problem-solving skills [ 52 ]. Moreover, mammals and birds exhibit playful behavior, an indicator of the capacity to experience pleasure. Other taxa such as reptiles, cephalopods and fishes have also been observed to display playful behavior, therefore the current legislation prescribes the use of environmental enrichers [ 53 ]. The presence of self-awareness ability, as assessed by mirror self-recognition, has been reported in magpies, chimpanzees and other apes, and certain cetaceans [ 54 ]. Recently, another study has revealed that crows have the ability to create and use tools that involve episodic-like memory formation and its retrieval. From these findings, it may be suggested that crows as well as related species show evidence of flexible learning strategies, causal reasoning, prospection and imagination that are similar to behavior observed in great apes [ 55 ]. In the context of resolving the ethical dilemmas about animal experimentation, these observations serve to highlight the challenges involved [ 56 , 57 ].

Ethics, principles and legislation in animal experimentation

Ethics in animal experimentation.

Legislation around animal research is based on the idea of the moral acceptability of the proposed experiments under specific conditions [ 58 ]. The significance of research ethics that ensures proper treatment of experimental animals [ 58 ]. To avoid undue suffering of animals, it is important to follow ethical considerations during animal studies [ 1 ]. It is important to provide best human care to these animals from the ethical and scientific point of view [ 1 ]. Poor animal care can lead to experimental outcomes [ 1 ]. Thus, if experimental animals mistreated, the scientific knowledge and conclusions obtained from experiments may be compromised and may be difficult to replicate, a hallmark of scientific research [ 1 ]. At present, most ethical guidelines work on the assumption that animal experimentation is justified because of the significant potential benefits to human beings. These guidelines are often permissive of animal experimentation regardless of the damage to the animal as long as human benefits are achieved [ 59 ].


Although animal experimentation has resulted in many discoveries and helped in the understanding numerous aspects of biological science, its use in various sectors is strictly controlled. In practice, the proposed set of animal experiments is usually considered by a multidisciplinary Ethics Committee before work can commence [ 60 ]. This committee will review the research protocol and make a judgment as to its sustainability. National and international laws govern the utilization of animal experimentation during research and these laws are mostly based on the universal doctrine presented by Russell and Burch (1959) known as principle of the 3 Rs. The 3Rs referred to are Reduction, Refinement and Replacement, and are applied to protocols surrounding the use of animals in research. Some researchers have proposed another “R”, of responsibility for the experimental animal as well as for the social and scientific status of the animal experiments [ 61 ]. Thus, animal ethics committees commonly review research projects with reference to the 4 Rs principles [ 62 ].

The first “R”, Reduction means that the experimental design is examined to ensure that researchers have reduced the number of experimental animals in a research project to the minimum required for reliable data [ 59 ]. Methods used for this purpose include improved experimental design, extensive literature search to avoid duplication of experiments [ 35 ], use of advanced imaging techniques, sharing resources and data, and appropriate statistical data analysis that reduce the number of animals needed for statistically significant results [ 2 , 63 ].

The second “R”, Refinement involves improvements in procedure that minimize the harmful effects of the proposed experiments on the animals involved, such as reducing pain, distress and suffering in a manner that leads to a general improvement in animal welfare. This might include for example improved living conditions for research animals, proper training of people handling animals, application of anesthesia and analgesia when required and the need for euthanasia of the animals at the end of the experiment to curtail their suffering [ 63 ].

The third “R”, Replacement refers to approaches that replace or avoid the use of experimental animals altogether. These approaches involve use of in silico methods/computerized techniques/software and in vitro methods like cell and tissue culture testing, as well as relative replacement methods by use of invertebrates like nematode worms, fruit flies and microorganisms in place of vertebrates and higher animals [ 1 ]. Examples of proper application of these first “3R2 principles are the use of alternative sources of blood, the exploitation of commercially used animals for scientific research, a proper training without use of animals and the use of specimen from previous experiments for further researches [ 64-67 ].

The fourth “R”, Responsibility refers to concerns around promoting animal welfare by improvements in experimental animals’ social life, development of advanced scientific methods for objectively determining sentience, consciousness, experience of pain and intelligence in the animal kingdom, as well as effective involvement in the professionalization of the public discussion on animal ethics [ 68 ].


Other research ethics considerations include having a clear rationale and reasoning for the use of animals in a research project. Researchers must have reasonable expectation of generating useful data from the proposed experiment. Moreover, the research study should be designed in such a way that it should involve the lowest possible sample size of experimental animals while producing statistically significant results [ 35 ].

All individual researchers that handle experimental animals should be properly trained for handling the particular species involved in the research study. The animal’s pain, suffering and discomfort should be minimized [ 69 ]. Animals should be given proper anesthesia when required and surgical procedures should not be repeated on same animal whenever possible [ 69 ]. The procedure of humane handling and care of experimental animals should be explicitly detailed in the research study protocol. Moreover, whenever required, aseptic techniques should be properly followed [ 70 ]. During the research, anesthetization and surgical procedures on experimental animals should only be performed by professionally skilled individuals [ 69 ].

The Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) guidelines that are issued by the National Center for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) are designed to improve the documentation surrounding research involving experimental animals [ 70 ]. The checklist provided includes the information required in the various sections of the manuscript i.e. study design, ethical statements, experimental procedures, experimental animals and their housing and husbandry, and more [ 70 ].

It is critical to follow the highest ethical standards while performing animal experiments. Indeed, most of the journals refuse to publish any research data that lack proper ethical considerations [ 35 ].


Since animals have sensitivity level similar to the human beings in terms of pain, anguish, survival instinct and memory, it is the responsibility of the investigator to closely monitor the animals that are used and identify any sign of distress [ 71 ]. No justification can rationalize the absence of anesthesia or analgesia in animals that undergo invasive surgery during the research [ 72 ]. Investigators are also responsible for giving high-quality care to the experimental animals, including the supply of a nutritious diet, easy water access, prevention of and relief from any pain, disease and injury, and appropriate housing facilities for the animal species [ 73 ]. A research experiment is not permitted if the damage caused to the animal exceeds the value of knowledge gained by that experiment. No scientific advancement based on the destruction and sufferings of another living being could be justified. Besides ensuring the welfare of animals involved, investigators must also follow the applicable legislation [ 74 , 75 ].

To promote the comfort of experimental animals in England, an animal protection society named: ‘The Society for the Preservation of Cruelty to Animals’ (now the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was established (1824) that aims to prevent cruelty to animal [ 76 ].


Legislation for animal protection during research has long been established. In 1876 the British Parliament sanctioned the ‘Cruelty to Animals Act’ for animal protection. Russell and Burch (1959) presented the ‘3 Rs’ principles: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement, for use of animals during research [ 61 ]. Almost seven years later, the U.S.A also adopted regulations for the protection of experimental animals by enacting the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 [ 60 ]. In Brazil, the Arouca Law (Law No. 11,794/08) regulates the animal use in scientific research experiments [ 76 ].

These laws define the breeding conditions, and regulate the use of animals for scientific research and teaching purposes. Such legal provisions control the use of anesthesia, analgesia or sedation in experiments that could cause distress or pain to experimental animals [ 59 , 76 ]. These laws also stress the need for euthanasia when an experiment is finished, or even during the experiment if there is any intense suffering for the experimental animal [ 76 ].

Several national and international organizations have been established to develop alternative techniques so that animal experimentation can be avoided, such as the UK-based National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) ( www.caat.jhsph.edu ), the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) [ 77 ], the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) ( www.ufaw.org.uk ), The Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) [ 78 ], and The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) ( www.caat.jhsph.edu ). The Brazilian ‘Arouca Law’ also constitutes a milestone, as it has created the ‘National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation’ (CONCEA) that deals with the legal and ethical issues related to the use of experimental animals during scientific research [ 76 ].

Although national as well as international laws and guidelines have provided basic protections for experimental animals, the current regulations have some significant discrepancies. In the U.S., the Animal Welfare Act excludes rats, mice and purpose-bred birds, even though these species comprise almost 90% of the animals that are used for research purpose [ 79 ]. On the other hand, certain cats and dogs are getting special attention along with extra protection. While the U.S. Animal Welfare Act ignores birds, mice and rats, the U.S. guidelines that control research performed using federal funding ensure protections for all vertebrates [ 79 , 80 ].

Living conditions of animals

Choice of the animal model.

Based on all the above laws and regulations and in line with the deliberations of ethical committees, every researcher must follow certain rules when dealing with animal models.

Before starting any experimental work, thorough research should be carried out during the study design phase so that the unnecessary use of experimental animals is avoided. Nevertheless, certain research studies may have compelling reasons for the use of animal models, such as the investigation of human diseases and toxicity tests. Moreover, animals are also widely used in the training of health professionals as well as in training doctors in surgical skills [ 1 , 81 ].

Researcher should be well aware of the specific traits of the animal species they intend to use in the experiment, such as its developmental stages, physiology, nutritional needs, reproductive characteristics and specific behaviors. Animal models should be selected on the basis of the study design and the biological relevance of the animal [ 1 ].

Typically, in early research, non-mammalian models are used to get rapid insights into research problems such as the identification of gene function or the recognition of novel therapeutic options. Thus, in biomedical and biological research, among the most commonly used model organisms are the Zebrafish, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans . The main advantage of these non-mammalian animal models is their prolific reproducibility along with their much shorter generation time. They can be easily grown in any laboratory setting, are less expensive than the murine animal models and are somewhat more powerful than the tissue and cell culture approaches [ 82 ].

Caenorhabditis elegans is a small-sized nematode with a short life cycle and that exists in large populations and is relatively inexpensive to cultivate. Scientists have gathered extensive knowledge of the genomics and genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans ; but Caenorhabditis elegans models, while very useful in some respects, are unable to represent all signaling pathways found in humans. Furthermore, due to its short life cycle, scientists are unable to investigate long term effects of test compounds or to analyze primary versus secondary effects [ 6 ].

Similarly, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has played a key role in numerous biomedical discoveries. It is small in size, has a short life cycle and large population size, is relatively inexpensive to breed, and extensive genomics and genetics information is available [ 6 ]. However, its respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems differ considerably from human beings. In addition, its immune system is less developed when compared to vertebrates, which is why effectiveness of a drug in Drosophila melanogaster may not be easily extrapolated to humans [ 83 ].

The Zebrafish ( Danio rerio ) is a small freshwater teleost, with transparent embryos, providing easy access for the observation of organogenesis and its manipulation. Therefore, Zebrafish embryos are considered good animal models for different human diseases like tuberculosis and fetal alcohol syndrome and are useful as neurodevelopmental research models. However, Zebrafish has very few mutant strains available, and its genome has numerous duplicate genes making it impossible to create knockout strains, since disrupting one copy of the gene will not disrupt the second copy of that gene. This feature limits the use of Zebrafish as animal models to study human diseases. Additionally they are rather expensive, have long life cycle, and genomics and genetics studies are still in progress [ 82 , 84 ].

Thus, experimentation on these three animals might not be equivalent to experimentation on mammals. Mammalian animal model are most similar to human beings, so targeted gene replacement is possible. Traditionally, mammals like monkey and mice have been the preferred animal models for biomedical research because of their evolutionary closeness to humans. Rodents, particularly mice and rats, are the most frequently used animal models for scientific research. Rats are the most suitable animal model for the study of obesity, shock, peritonitis, sepsis, cancer, intestinal operations, spleen, gastric ulcers, mononuclear phagocytic system, organ transplantations and wound healing. Mice are more suitable for studying burns, megacolon, shock, cancer, obesity, and sepsis as mentioned previously [ 85 ].

Similarly, pigs are mostly used for stomach, liver and transplantation studies, while rabbits are suitable for the study of immunology, inflammation, vascular biology, shock, colitis and transplantations. Thus, the choice of experimental animal mainly depends upon the field of scientific research under consideration [ 1 ].


Researchers should be aware of the environment and conditions in which laboratory animals are kept during research, and they also need to be familiar with the metabolism of the animals kept in vivarium, since their metabolism can easily be altered by different factors such as pain, stress, confinement, lack of sunlight, etc. Housing conditions alter animal behavior, and this can in turn affect experimental results. By contrast, handling procedures that feature environmental enrichment and enhancement help to decrease stress and positively affect the welfare of the animals and the reliability of research data [ 74 , 75 ].

In animals, distress- and agony-causing factors should be controlled or eliminated to overcome any interference with data collection as well as with interpretation of the results, since impaired animal welfare leads to more animal usage during experiment, decreased reliability and increased discrepancies in results along with the unnecessary consumption of animal lives [ 86 ].

To reduce the variation or discrepancies in experimental data caused by various environmental factors, experimental animals must be kept in an appropriate and safe place. In addition, it is necessary to keep all variables like humidity, airflow and temperature at levels suitable for those species, as any abrupt variation in these factors could cause stress, reduced resistance and increased susceptibility to infections [ 74 ].

The space allotted to experimental animals should permit them free movement, proper sleep and where feasible allow for interaction with other animals of the same species. Mice and rats are quite sociable animals and must, therefore, be housed in groups for the expression of their normal behavior. Usually, laboratory cages are not appropriate for the behavioral needs of the animals. Therefore, environmental enrichment is an important feature for the expression of their natural behavior that will subsequently affect their defense mechanisms and physiology [ 87 ].

The features of environmental enrichment must satisfy the animals’ sense of curiosity, offer them fun activities, and also permit them to fulfill their behavioral and physiological needs. These needs include exploring, hiding, building nests and gnawing. For this purpose, different things can be used in their environment, such as PVC tubes, cardboard, igloos, paper towel, cotton, disposable masks and paper strips [ 87 ].

The environment used for housing of animals must be continuously controlled by appropriate disinfection, hygiene protocols, sterilization and sanitation processes. These steps lead to a reduction in the occurrence of various infectious agents that often found in vivarium, such as Sendai virus, cestoda and Mycoplasma pulmonis [ 88 ].

Euthanasia is a term derived from Greek, and it means a death without any suffering. According to the Brazilian Arouca Law (Article 14, Chapter IV, Paragraphs 1 and 2), an animal should undergo euthanasia, in strict compliance with the requirements of each species, when the experiment ends or during any phase of the experiment, wherever this procedure is recommended and/or whenever serious suffering occurs. If the animal does not undergo euthanasia after the intervention it may leave the vivarium and be assigned to suitable people or to the animal protection bodies, duly legalized [ 1 ].

Euthanasia procedures must result in instant loss of consciousness which leads to respiratory or cardiac arrest as well as to complete brain function impairment. Another important aspect of this procedure is calm handling of the animal while taking it out of its enclosure, to reduce its distress, suffering, anxiety and fear. In every research project, the study design should include the details of the appropriate endpoints of these experimental animals, and also the methods that will be adopted. It is important to determine the appropriate method of euthanasia for the animal being used. Another important point is that, after completing the euthanasia procedure, the animal’s death should be absolutely confirmed before discarding their bodies [ 87 , 89 ].

Relevance of animal experimentations and possible alternatives

Relevance of animal experiments and their adverse effects on human health.

One important concern is whether human diseases, when inflicted on experimental animals, adequately mimic the progressions of the disease and the treatment responses observed in humans. Several research articles have made comparisons between human and animal data, and indicated that the results of animals’ research could not always be reliably replicated in clinical research among humans. The latest systematic reviews about the treatment of different clinical conditions including neurology, vascular diseases and others, have established that the results of animal studies cannot properly predict human outcomes [ 59 , 90 ].

At present, the reliability of animal experiments for extrapolation to human health is questionable. Harmful effects may occur in humans because of misleading results from research conducted on animals. For instance, during the late fifties, a sedative drug, thalidomide, was prescribed for pregnant women, but some of the women using that drug gave birth to babies lacking limbs or with foreshortened limbs, a condition called phocomelia. When thalidomide had been tested on almost all animal models such as rats, mice, rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters, armadillos, ferrets, swine, guinea pig, etc., this teratogenic effect was observed only occasionally [ 91 ]. Similarly, in 2006, the compound TGN 1412 was designed as an immunomodulatory drug, but when it was injected into six human volunteer, serious adverse reactions were observed resulting from a deadly cytokine storm that in turn led to disastrous systemic organ failure. TGN 1412 had been tested successfully in rats, mice, rabbits, and non-human primates [ 92 ]. Moreover, Bailey (2008) reported 90 HIV vaccines that had successful trial results in animals but which failed in human beings [ 93 ]. Moreover, in Parkinson disease, many therapeutic options that have shown promising results in rats and non-human primate models have proved harmful in humans. Hence, to analyze the relevance of animal research to human health, the efficacy of animal experimentation should be examined systematically [ 94 , 95 ]. At the same time, the development of hyperoxaluria and renal failure (up to dialysis) after ileal-jejunal bypass was unexpected because this procedure was not preliminarily evaluated on an animal model [ 96 ].

Several factors play a role in the extrapolation of animal-derived data to humans, such as environmental conditions and physiological parameters related to stress, age of the experimental animals, etc. These factors could switch on or off genes in the animal models that are specific to species and/or strains. All these observations challenge the reliability and suitability of animal experimentation as well as its objectives with respect to human health [ 76 , 92 ].


Certainly, in vivo animal experimentation has significantly contributed to the development of biological and biomedical research. However it has the limitations of strict ethical issues and high production cost. Some scientists consider animal testing an ineffective and immoral practice and therefore prefer alternative techniques to be used instead of animal experimentation. These alternative methods involve in vitro experiments and ex vivo models like cell and tissue cultures, use of plants and vegetables, non-invasive human clinical studies, use of corpses for studies, use of microorganisms or other simpler organism like shrimps and water flea larvae, physicochemical techniques, educational software, computer simulations, mathematical models and nanotechnology [ 97 ]. These methods and techniques are cost-effective and could efficiently replace animal models. They could therefore, contribute to animal welfare and to the development of new therapies that can identify the therapeutics and related complications at an early stage [ 1 ].

The National Research Council (UK) suggested a shift from the animal models toward computational models, as well as high-content and high-throughput in vitro methods. Their reports highlighted that these alternative methods could produce predictive data more affordably, accurately and quickly than the traditional in vivo or experimental animal methods [ 98 ].

Increasingly, scientists and the review boards have to assess whether addressing a research question using the applied techniques of advanced genetics, molecular, computational and cell biology, and biochemistry could be used to replace animal experiments [ 59 ]. It must be remembered that each alternative method must be first validated and then registered in dedicated databases.

An additional relevant concern is how precisely animal data can mirror relevant epigenetic changes and human genetic variability. Langley and his colleagues have highlighted some of the examples of existing and some emerging non-animal based research methods in the advanced fields of neurology, orthodontics, infectious diseases, immunology, endocrine, pulmonology, obstetrics, metabolism and cardiology [ 99 ].


Several computer models have been built to study cardiovascular risk and atherosclerotic plaque build-up, to model human metabolism, to evaluate drug toxicity and to address other questions that were previously approached by testing in animals [ 100 ].

Computer simulations can potentially decrease the number of experiments required for a research project, however simulations cannot completely replace laboratory experiments. Unfortunately, not all the principles regulating biological systems are known, and computer simulation provide only an estimation of possible effects due to the limitations of computer models in comparison with complex human tissues. However, simulation and bio-informatics are now considered essential in all fields of science for their efficiency in using the existing knowledge for further experimental designs [ 76 ].

At present, biological macromolecules are regularly simulated at various levels of detail, to predict their response and behavior under certain physical conditions, chemical exposures and stimulations. Computational and bioinformatic simulations have significantly reduced the number of animals sacrificed during drug discovery by short listing potential candidate molecules for a drug. Likewise, computer simulations have decreased the number of animal experiments required in other areas of biological science by efficiently using the existing knowledge. Moreover, the development of high definition 3D computer models for anatomy with enhanced level of detail, it may make it possible to reduce or eliminate the need for animal dissection during teaching [ 101 , 102 ].


In the current scenario of rapid advancement in the life sciences, certain tissue models can be built using 3D cell culture technology. Indeed, there are some organs on micro-scale chip models used for mimicking the human body environment. 3D models of multiple organ systems such as heart, liver, skin, muscle, testis, brain, gut, bone marrow, lungs and kidney, in addition to individual organs, have been created in microfluidic channels, re-creating the physiological chemical and physical microenvironments of the body [ 103 ]. These emerging techniques, such as the biomedical/biological microelectromechanical system (Bio-MEMS) or lab-on-a-chip (LOC) and micro total analysis systems (lTAS) will, in the future, be a useful substitute for animal experimentation in commercial laboratories in the biotechnology, environmental safety, chemistry and pharmaceutical industries. For 3D cell culture modeling, cells are grown in 3D spheroids or aggregates with the help of a scaffold or matrix, or sometimes using a scaffold-free method. The 3D cell culture modeling conditions can be altered to add proteins and other factors that are found in a tumor microenvironment, for example, or in particular tissues. These matrices contain extracellular matrix components such as proteins, glycoconjugates and glycosaminoglycans that allow for cell communication, cell to cell contact and the activation of signaling pathways in such a way that the morphological and functional differentiation of these cells can accurately mimic their environment in vivo . This methodology, in time, will bridge the gap between in vivo and in vitro drug screening, decreasing the utilization of animal models during research [ 104 ].


There are moves to reduce the use of animal derived products in many areas of biotechnology. Microbial culture media peptones are mostly made by the proteolysis of farmed animal meat. However, nowadays, various suppliers provide peptones extracted from yeast and plants. Although the costs of these plant-extracted peptones are the same as those of animal peptones, plant peptones are more environmentally favorable since less plant material and water are required for them to grow, compared with the food grain and fodder needed for cattle that are slaughtered for animal peptone production [ 105 ].

Human cell culture is often carried out in a medium that contains fetal calf serum, the production of which involves animal (cow) sacrifice or suffering. In fact, living pregnant cows are used and their fetuses removed to harvest the serum from the fetal blood. Fetal calf serum is used because it is a natural medium rich in all the required nutrients and significantly increases the chances of successful cell growth in culture. Scientists are striving to identify the factors and nutrients required for the growth of various types of cells, with a view to eliminating the use of calf serum. At present, most cell lines could be cultured in a chemically-synthesized medium without using animal products. Furthermore, data from chemically-synthesized media experiments may have better reproducibility than those using animal serum media, since the composition of animal serum does change from batch to batch on the basis of animals’ gender, age, health and genetic background [ 76 ].


Animal friendly affinity reagents may act as an alternative to antibodies produced, thereby removing the need for animal immunization. Typically, these antibodies are obtained in vitro by yeast, phage or ribosome display. In a recent review, a comparative analysis between animal friendly affinity reagents and animal derived-antibodies showed that the affinity reagents have superior quality, are relatively less time consuming, have more reproducibility and are more reliable and are cost-effective [ 106 , 107 ].


Animal experimentation led to great advancement in biological and biomedical sciences and contributed to the discovery of many drugs and treatment options. However, such experimentation may cause harm, pain and distress to the animals involved. Therefore, to perform animal experimentations, certain ethical rules and laws must be strictly followed and there should be proper justification for using animals in research projects. Furthermore, during animal experimentation the 4 Rs principles of reduction, refinement, replacement and responsibility must be followed by the researchers. Moreover, before beginning a research project, experiments should be thoroughly planned and well-designed, and should avoid unnecessary use of animals. The reliability and reproducibility of animal experiments should also be considered. Whenever possible, alternative methods to animal experimentation should be adopted, such as in vitro experimentation, cadaveric studies, and computer simulations.

While much progress has been made on reducing animal experimentation there is a need for greater awareness of alternatives to animal experiments among scientists and easier access to advanced modeling technologies. Greater research is needed to define a roadmap that will lead to the elimination of all unnecessary animal experimentation and provide a framework for adoption of reliable alternative methodologies in biomedical research.


This research was funded by the Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano in the framework of LP 15/2020 (dgp 3174/2021).

Conflicts of interest statement

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Author's contributions

MB: study conception, editing and critical revision of the manuscript; AKK, DP, GH, RB, Paul S, Peter S, RM, BF, NC, SM, LL, DD, GMT, MCE, MD, SM, Daniele M, GB, AD, KD, MCM, TB, MS, STC, Donald M, AM, AB, KLH, MK, LS, LL, GF: literature search, editing and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Contributor Information

INTERNATIONAL BIOETHICS STUDY GROUP : Derek Pheby , Gary Henehan , Richard Brown , Paul Sieving , Peter Sykora , Robert Marks , Benedetto Falsini , Natale Capodicasa , Stanislav Miertus , Lorenzo Lorusso , Gianluca Martino Tartaglia , Mahmut Cerkez Ergoren , Munis Dundar , Sandro Michelini , Daniele Malacarne , Tommaso Beccari , Michele Samaja , Matteo Bertelli , Donald Martin , Assunta Morresi , Ariola Bacu , Karen L. Herbst , Mykhaylo Kapustin , Liborio Stuppia , Ludovica Lumer , and Giampietro Farronato

Animal Testing Argumentative Essay: Guidelines

Argumentative Essay on Animal Testing

How to Write a Great Animal Testing Argumentative Essay?

Animal testing sample.

According to the statistical data, testing in the US is conducted on 26 million animals. Those animals are used for research in the field of commercial products and various scientific advancements. Besides, animals are used to test the latest medical treatment, check on the toxicity of drugs, and verify the level of safety that the products aimed at people will have. Animal testing is also in demand in the commercial industry and the area of health care. Since it is an issue of intense arguments whether it is ethically correct to use the animals in experiments, an animal testing argumentative essay is among the most popular topics at schools, colleges, and universities.

The idea to use animals in experiments is not new. Actually, it is a practice that dates back to 500 BC; and even at that time, there were those who supported this idea and those who were against it. The latter claim that it is cruel and inhumane to test the products using animals, and they call for the development of the new alternative techniques which will eliminate the need for animal testing.

Such organizations as PETA campaign in order to increase the range of relevant research and make the process of developing alternative testing methods faster and more efficient. It is reasonable that an animal testing essay of a student who supports this point of view will state the requirement to alleviate testing on animals. It will also contain an argument that animal testing does not ensure absolutely valid results as tests conducted on animals are different from those done to humans; that is why the question is whether animal testing has any practical sense at all.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

On the other hand, an argumentative essay on animal testing can be written from the point of view of the advantages of the use of animals in medicine. It is wrong to hurt living beings, but it is necessary to test the safety of new products before using them for the benefit of people. Typically, rats are the first animals used for research. In case the tests prove to be effective, monkeys are the next subjects for a series of tests. Only if these experiments are successful, the product can be given to people.

An animal testing argumentative essay always mentions the benefit of reducing the number of errors and fatal mistakes owing to a round of tests on animals. It also mentions that the number of saved people’s lives is enormous owing to the sacrificed lives of animals. Actually, there is hardly any effective alternative to animal testing. Furthermore, it is subject to following strict regulations to ensure the prevention of all kinds of animal mistreatment.

In general, the debates over the use of animals in testing for medical research testing have been historically known for centuries. After the animal testing essay introduction, it is typical to present the claims of the proponents. They imply that there is no intentional harm in animal testing; moreover, the animals are well kept, fed, and treated nicely. Besides, they state that the absence of effective alternatives makes it impossible to eliminate this practice. They also emphasize the benefit of saving lives owing to animal testing. Nevertheless, certain environmental organizations aimed at the protection of animals call for no more animals in research and testing because of the cruel and inhumane practices.

Writing an animal testing argumentative essay outline , one should take into consideration that animal testing is a matter of various discussions. Thus, it is important to choose a certain position and focus the whole assignment on this point of view. A common task for the students is to work on an argumentative paper; thus, it is essential to determine and specify a definite position and then develop a thesis statement with the supporting arguments appropriately. For instance, if you make up your mind to look at the animal testing from the angle of supporting position, it is recommended to use the following arguments or similar ones.

Writing Prompts for Animal Testing Essays

Writing Prompts for Argumentative Essay on Animal Testing

Advantages to Write About in Animal Testing Essay

It is impossible to eliminate animal testing as it saves people’s lives.

According to medical researchers, the contribution of testing on animals in the advancement of health care and medicine cannot be overestimated. It is owing to the experiments conducted on animals, people can be treated for breast cancer, tuberculosis, diabetics, malaria, brain injury, and other diseases. Physicians also emphasize the role of chimpanzees in experiments aimed at looking for treatment for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

There Is No Alternative to Experimenting with Animals Because Its the Safest Testing Method Known

An animal testing essay conclusion always refers to the fact that the structure of animals’ organisms that resembles that of humans makes them the most suitable material for research in product testing in the fields of medicine and cosmetics. Animal and human bodies have identical or similar processes. There is an assumption that testing can be conducted on cell organisms, but it is doubtful that it will work, as those tissues cannot be tested for blindness or blood pressure issues.

Currently, animal testing is used as a model for computer programs that will probably substitute it in the future. The provided data prove to be accurate; however, living organisms cannot be replaced with less complex computer programs that do not ensure stimulation of the brain activity.

The Biological Similarity between Animal Species and People Is the Best

The organs of the mammals are identical to those of people; besides, there is a striking genetic closeness between them. The statistical data prove that the genetic similarity between the people and mammals can be up to 98%. Animals have the same bloodstream and central nervous systems with humans; that is why the susceptibility to diseases of both of them is similar.

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Ethical Side of Animal Testing

Each essay about animal testing contains an argument about checking of medical treatment for toxicity during the animal testing procedures. It is against all ethical norms to test a new medicine on people and risk their lives. Helsinki Medical Association claims that animal testing should always go before human experiments

Additional Benefits for Animals

As a result of vaccine testing on animals, not only people but animals are saved from terminal diseases. Besides, the development of new medical products contributes to the prevention of species extinction.

Animal Testing Has the Strict Regulations

Various animal testing essay examples demonstrate that there are strict regulations for experimenting with animals nowadays. A topical issue of present-day life is the protection of animal rights, and numerous organizations control the situation. It is important to make sure that there is neither violation of animal rights not the suffering of animals from abuse.

Further Advantages of Animal Testing

The life cycles of animals are shorter than those of people; thus, the experiments on them are more reasonable than those on humans. It is possible to observe all consequences and effects of certain drugs owing to short life cycles in the course of several years or even months.

Animal Testing Implies Humane Treatment

Some students even use the fact of humane treatment of animals in the animal testing essay title. Researchers always take into account the conditions and consequences of experiments and care about animals.

Disadvantages to Write About in Animal Testing Essay

A variety of animal testing essay topics implies considering different opinions of the pros and cons of those experiments. It is important to ensure the presence of alternative ideas to prevent all kinds of bias and ensure having different perspectives on the same issue.

Human societies have always been oriented at innovation and adaptability as desired features. On the other hand, old practices have the tendency of being kept by the researchers and organizations for a number of reasons. In an animal testing argumentative essay, the aspects should be explored in detail.

First of all, let us talk about the benefits.

Ethics in Animal Testing

If the essay is written in support of animal testing, this is one of the easiest points. Animals used for testing lack moral capabilities and conscious mind despite having their DNA equal to the human one in 98 %. A good animal testing essay title always mentions this somehow. Nevertheless, animals suffer and their agony can lead to death in some serious cases.

Try to explore the issues philosophically. Touch upon attributing value to people and animals. Mention the patients with mental illnesses who have no morality or consciousness. Consider the appropriateness of experimenting on such people along with the animals.

An efficient animal testing pros and cons essay should be based on a broad topic and numerous implications for analysis.

Availability of Alternatives

The progress cannot be stopped in the present-day world. It is normal now to get rid of outdated things and introduce innovations. In a perfect why animal testing should be banned essay, try to note that there are and there will be other ways to experiment on new products. For example, it is possible to cultivate human cells and do organ replication in the laboratories to use the obtained organs for testing of biological processes.

Right, all challenges in modern research cannot be addressed via cell testing; besides, the immune system, endocrine system, blood pressure issues and other aspects of the human body cannot be analyzed using cells. On the other hand, testing practices in the laboratories can substitute some animal alternatives, if possible.

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Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement

The mentioned three RRRs (reduction, refinement, and replacement) represent a plan developed by numerous countries to ensure the decrease in the testing with the use of animals. A cosmetic animal testing essay should contain this argument for explanations of why it is important to eradicate the common practice.

  • What is the reduction ?

It is the minimization of the animal testing practice by research centers, laboratories, and companies, and regulation of the affected living creatures via introducing innovative practices and improving the experimental techniques.

  • What is refinement ?

It is changing the lives of tested animals, ensuring good living conditions, the introduction of obligatory anesthesia, and the provision of necessary medical treatment.

  • What is the replacement ?

It is a procedure of transition to innovative methods of conducting experiments with the use of computers, cell culture, micro-dosing by volunteers, human tissue tissues, and other methods.

Overrating of the Contribution

An argument that animal testing should be illegal is used by numerous researchers against the current testing practices. The supporters of the theory cite examples to prove the inevitability of animal experiments for the progress of humans. Nevertheless, it is complicated to make a prediction on how the discoveries can be made without animal testing, but the ideas of progress cannot be based on outdated practices.

It cannot be denied that the development of insulin was made owing to the dogs that had pancreases injected. On the other hand, a medical student from Germany, Paul Langerhans, saw the strange pancreatic tissue cells and encouraged Frederick Banting to make a discovery without any animal testing. Thus, there is a question of whether the disadvantages of animal testing outweigh the benefits obtained. The use of dogs sped up the process but kills many innocent animals. Insulin helped many people survive, but it is complicated to determine how the studies will be affected by animal testing results.

Insufficient Reliability

The efficiency of the animal tests on people is 95% because of the 2% genome divergence between animals and people. The European Union banned the use of animals in testing cosmetics for two reasons. Firstly, the eyes of humans are less sensitive than the eyes of rats and some other animals, thus the experiment results are unreliable. Secondly, other alternatives, for example, tissue testing, can be more effective.

Some researchers claim that animal testing should be allowed, but insufficient reliability may result in tragedies. For instance, tension, anxiety, and insomnia were treated with thalidomide medication in West Germany, and in 1957, as many as 5,000 infants died, and many lost sights, hearing or suffered severe deformities. It is not always right to use the products suitable for animals on humans. Another example is Rezulin that was a trigger of liver failure in people but treated rats with diabetes type 2 perfectly.

High Price of Animal Tests

It is common to pay no attention to this fact. It is assumed that more innovative technology will be even more expensive; however, progress always implies durability, and that should be noted. Financial losses are huge even for common dissection classes. Reliable results require numerous life forms, but computer models can use the required data for analysis in a different way.

Leaving out the Rights

The governments adopted a number of regulations in different countries of the world to ensure the protection of animals’ rights; however, it is a common practice to forget about the animals used for testing when it goes about laws.

Thinking about a good title for an essay on animal testing for medical purposes, do not forget to take into consideration this debatable point. How can it happen that the Animal Welfare Act omits fish, mice, and rats? The researchers are allowed to treat those animals in the way they need for their experiments. Try to explore how moral this situation is.

Global Progress

Your essay should emphasize the crucial importance of certain practices and lack of alternatives; however, it is also essential to touch upon the better options, available now o expected in the future. Every year, the development of technologies causes the emergence of new experimenting methods, making science more efficient and more humane. Mention the subjective opinions of the researchers and limitations of the control samples when talking about animal testing. On the other hand, note the advantages of new computer models that avoid bias and manipulation of data. Animals are less close to people than in cell cultures. All in all, it is more ethical to try alternative testing techniques as they not only protect the animals but also increase the efficiency of science.

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In This Section (Click Below)

- Laws and Regulations

- The Arguments for and Against Animal Testing

- The Ethics of Animal Testing

- Unnecessary Animal Testing

- Solutions and Alternatives for Animal Testing

- Take Action: Help Stop Needless Animal Testing

- Resources and Further Learning

To simplify the opinions of both sides of the argument, this section will focus exclusively on the testing of animals for medical purposes.

Opponents of vivisection believe that animals are too different from humans for animal testing to produce relevant results.  

They point out the many times that a drug has passed the animal trials only to fail the following human trials. The suffering of the animals used in these experiments is seen as pointless and a waste of time and money.  

There is also the chance that a drug that could potentially work on humans never even makes it to human trials because it failed animal trials. ​

Opponents believe that all types of animal testing are wrong and that the burden greatly outweighs the benefit.

Proponents of vivisection believe that the extensive list of medical advances achieved through animal research justifies the practice.

Insulin, which has saved the lives of countless diabetics, was discovered through lab research on dogs.   

Vaccines for deadly diseases like smallpox, polio, anthrax and rabies were all developed through animal testing.   

The invention of pacemakers and the development and refining of life-saving procedures such as open heart surgery are also results of animal testing.

The Centers for Disease Control claim that their animal research has led to numerous advances resulting in people living healthier and longer lives than ever before. These include, but are not limited to:

development and evaluation of vaccines, treatments, and new diagnostic tests for hepatitis  

better understanding of the transmissibility of influenza  

licensure of the first DNA vaccine, used to protect horses and condors from West Nile virus  

significant enhancement of a clinical trial underway in the US and Africa of an antiretroviral drug in which it was determined that a more potent drug regimen (with an acceptable safety profile) will work for pre-exposure treatment to repeatedly prevent sexual transmission of an HIV-like virus  

evaluation of the effectiveness of an Ebola vaccine (developed at NIH)  

evaluation of the effectiveness of smallpox interventions (in collaboration with the Department of Defense)

In 1956 the drug thalidomide was introduced as a sedative that many pregnant women took to help with the nausea associated with pregnancy.

To everyone’s horror, the drug turned out to cause severe birth defects, loss of limbs, and death in more than 15,000 unborn children.

Those against vivisection claim that thalidomide is proof that animal testing is useless because the drug was tested on animals and deemed safe.

Those in support of vivisection claim that thalidomide is proof that the more animal testing, the better. If the drug had been tested on pregnant animals, the disaster would have been avoided.

Because of thalidomide all drugs are now tested on pregnant animals before going to human trials.

Proponents of vivisection have a strong case, but their case is based solely on the medical advances that have resulted from animal testing.

There are many other types of animal experimentation that are questionable.

Many of the supporters of animal testing draw the line at medical research and do not support these other kinds of vivisection for ethical reasons.

Animal testing, against animal testing, cosmetic testing on animals, animal experimentation, animal research

The Ethics of Animal Testing

Animal testing, against animal testing, cosmetic testing on animals, animal experimentation, animal research

The Arguments for and Against Animal Testing

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Canine respiratory disease outbreaks

Canine respiratory disease of unknown origin .

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is investigating the canine respiratory syndrome through a rapid response research project funded by the Riney Canine Health Center. The project is based at the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center. This grant supports diagnostic testing on a limited number of acute cases but does not support the treatment of sick dogs. Please contact your local veterinarian when your dog is sick.

The Cornell Animal Health Diagnostics Center is available for consultation with veterinarians about suspected cases and laboratory diagnostic strategies at the link below.

Practitioner Resources for Diagnostic Testing

For treatment of sick dogs, your veterinarian can contact the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) with questions about treating your dog, or if they wish to refer the dog to CUHA.

Contact Cornell University Hospital for Animals

What is this illness?

Veterinarians across the country are reporting an increased incidence of cases of canine respiratory disease that do not respond to regular treatment protocols. Affected dogs experience a longer and more severe disease course than is typical for canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) complex. A common etiology or set of etiologies have not been determined.

What to Watch for - Common Signs of Respiratory Disease

  • Labored breathing
  • Nose or eye discharge
  • Decreased appetite


Respiratory diseases commonly spread through direct contact, through water droplets from sneezing and coughing, or via fomites (contaminated objects and surfaces).

  • Avoid high risk situations for your dog such as boarding kennels, dog parks, and doggy day care facilities if you are unsure about the health status of other dogs in those environments.
  • Don’t share dog bowls, toys or doggy chews between dogs. Make sure your dog is up to date on their routine vaccinations. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure when your dog was last routinely vaccinated.

Where to find more information:

  • Please check back here periodically on developments regarding this widespread canine respiratory illness. We are sourcing information from experts from across the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine regarding things to know to keep your dogs safe.
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA NVSL)

What is being done:

  • A resource on diagnostics for veterinary practitioners can be found here.

Commonly asked Questions:

Q: Should I get my dog tested?

A: Because there is no specific cause that has been identified except for commonly known pathogens isolated from chronic cases, more samples from acute cases are ideal for laboratories to determine the primary cause. The Cornell AHDC is working to assist veterinarians with testing options. If you are concerned for your pet, we recommend contacting your local veterinarian, or sharing this information with them.

Recent media on the evolving cases:

November 28, 2022:.

In late June, a canine respiratory illness appeared in southern New Hampshire, originally resembling a condition known as kennel cough and then later showing similarities with pneumonia.

Dr. Karen Tinkham, veterinarian and owner of Milford Veterinary Hospital in Milford, New Hampshire, says the overall regional caseload peaked in August, but subsequent waves throughout the fall have shown that this illness is still an ongoing concern.

Tinkham is collaborating with researchers at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for more comprehensive testing. She hopes their findings can reveal enough about how this new respiratory disease works so that clinicians can respond more quickly and effectively in the future. While current treatment strategies are improving, some patients are coming back with rebound cases or showing lingering symptoms.

Dr. Brian Collins, extension associate for the Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center (RCHC), says it’s important to stay up-to-date with your dog’s vaccinations to keep their immune system strong. He adds, “Be extra careful with puppies and senior dogs who may already have weaker immune responses.”

In general, respiratory diseases like kennel cough and pneumonia spread through direct dog-to-dog contact, as well as through contact with air or objects exposed to water droplets created by coughing or sneezing. However, veterinarians do not understand exactly how this particular disease is spreading, or how much of New England has been affected during the last six months.

“The vast majority [of canine patients] go to daycare,” says Tinkham, “but we have had a couple of patients with no known dog exposure.”

Collins recommends keeping a close eye on your dog for any possible signs of this illness. He says it’s important to seek veterinary care early-on, rather than waiting to see if symptoms abate or worsen on their own.


August 25, 2022:

The Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center (RCHC) is aware of increasing evidence of a severe respiratory disease presenting in dogs, which resembles a combination of kennel cough and pneumonia. While the outbreak originated in New Hampshire, it may be spreading to other parts of New England.

Dr. Brian Collins , extension associate at the RCHC and senior lecturer of community animal practice, says it's important to watch for new reports of canine respiratory disease in your area. 

He recommends that dog owners remain aware of the following situations that may increase your dog's risk of contracting this disease:

  • If your dog attends daycare, goes to a groomer, dog training classes, dog parks or is in other situations where there will be groups of dogs, be proactive in asking about any recent cases of respiratory disease.
  • Respiratory diseases are spread through direct dog-to-dog contact or through exposure from water droplets created by coughing or sneezing. These droplets can also contaminate objects such as bowls and toys, and even human hands.
  • If your dog is experiencing any signs of illness — including coughing, sneezing, labored breathing, or ocular or nasal discharge — and particularly if your dog is also lethargic or has a decreased appetite, be sure to contact your veterinarian. Do not expose your dog to other dogs until you are certain your dog is not contagious. 
  • Keep your dog up-to-date on any vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian. Be especially careful if you have a puppy that is not yet fully vaccinated, or if you have a senior dog or one that may have a weakened immune system. 

Learn more about managing severe diseases in dogs, such as kennel cough , parvovirus and leptospirosis .

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EXCLUSIVE-World animal health body warns of swine fever vaccine risks as Vietnam readies exports

December 06, 2023 — 04:10 am EST

Written by Francesco Guarascio , Khanh Vu , Mikhail Flores for Reuters  ->

By Francesco Guarascio, Khanh Vu and Mikhail Flores

HANOI/MANILA, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is warning that more testing of African swine fever vaccines is needed, triggered by Vietnam's plans to export doses in coming months to fight a disease that regularly ravages pig farms worldwide.

In a world first, Vietnam authorised in July two attenuated live-virus vaccines against the disease, which is not deadly to humans but is extremely infectious among pigs and has caused repeated disruptions to the global pork market, which data provider Research and Markets said was worth about $250 billion in 2022.

WOAH says AVAC Vietnam JSC, the producer of one of the two vaccines, has not shared sufficient data with international researchers and bodies.

Gregorio Torres, head of the science department at WOAH, urged countries interested in using AVAC's vaccines to conduct their own trials before approving it.

In October, as AVAC was about to announce deals with importers of its vaccine in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Myanmar, WOAH warned of risks "from use of sub-standard vaccines".

Torres said that Vietnam's announcements led to the warning, but that it was not linked to concerns about specific vaccines.

AVAC says that its vaccine is not dangerous and that widespread use will demonstrate it.

"We have proven our product is safe and effective and we need some time to prove that to all, including those showing concern," Nguyen Van Diep, AVAC's chief operating officer, told Reuters.

He said the company had shared data. Nguyen Van Long, head of Vietnam's Animal Health Department, said on Wednesday data on trials had been discussed in international conferences and meetings.

Diep said that the vaccine had been safely used in farms in 17 provinces in Vietnam since its approval and that sales were increasing.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discovered the AVAC vaccine, which was then developed in Vietnam because the virus is not present in the United States. The agency did not have access to Vietnam's trials data, a USDA spokesperson told Reuters.

"If somebody puts in the market a vaccine which is suboptimal, it will impact everybody," Torres said, noting that it is harder to assess vaccines in countries with ongoing epidemics, such as Vietnam, because pigs could be infected by the attenuated virus in the vaccine alongside the wild virus.

Countries are eager for vaccines against African swine fever (ASF), which is incurable and has a high fatality rate, resulting in heavy losses for farms that become infected.

China has also developed several vaccines but none has gotten commercial approval.

AVAC is producing between 2.5 and 5 million doses a month and was planning to export 5 million, pending approval from the countries where the company signed commercial deals, Diep said, noting that a green light from the Philippines might come early next year.


Torres said the agency was discussing a new global standard for evaluating ASF vaccines, with possible approval coming in May at the WOAH general assembly. The intergovernmental organisation, based in Paris, has 183 member states.

The standard would not be compulsory, as national regulators decide on approvals, but it could lead to trade restrictions against pork-exporting countries that vaccinate pigs with sub-standard shots.

The AVAC vaccine was trialled in the Philippines with 300,000 doses. The Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, which is in charge of the vaccine approval, did not reply to requests for comment.

Philippines Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano told Reuters his country had not approved or purchased the vaccine yet, noting the regulator's authorisation was critical to food security, as the country faces a national emergency caused by the spread of ASF.

Regulators from India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia did not respond to requests for comment.

The second approved ASF vaccine, produced by Vietnam's Navetco Central Veterinary Medicine VET.HNO from a USDA platform, had shared positive trial data and is being tested in the Dominican Republic, the USDA said.

Navetco did not reply to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio and Khanh Vu; additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi, Mikhail Flores and Karen Lema in Manila, Rishika Sadam in Hyderabad, Dewi Kurniawati in Jakarta, Thu Thu Aung, and Rozanna Latiff in Kuala Lumpur; editing by Gerry Doyle and Mark Potter)

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Stauffer’s market testing new animal crackers brand


YORK, PA. — D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Co., Inc. (Stauffer’s), a wholly owned subsidiary of Meiji America Inc. that created one of the first animal crackers brands in the United States, is market testing a new animal crackers brand called Stauffer’s Simply Animals. The crackers come in vibrant packaging with captivating characters and are made with no peanuts, no artificial colors and no high fructose corn syrup, the company noted. They are also 120 to 130 calories per serving.

According to Stauffer’s, the market test will debut this new ingredient formula in two flavors: chocolate and original. The chocolate Simply Animals crackers will be available in a 16-oz and a 12-bag single-serve multipack whereas the chocolate Simply Animal crackers will be available in a 14.5-oz bag.

“Category managers have responded very favorably when we’ve presented Simply Animals,” said Ken Vlazny, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Stauffer’s. “Our consumer research was very positive during the development of the brand. We’re now looking forward to observing how the shopper reacts in the market.”

Stauffer’s Simply Animals market test will take place in-stores at Food City and Weis Markets starting in January.

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    There are several reasons why the use of animals is critical for biomedical research: • Animals are biologically very similar to humans. In fact, mice share more than 98% DNA with us! • Animals are susceptible to many of the same health problems as humans - cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. • With a shorter life cycle than humans ...

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  28. Stauffer's market testing new animal crackers brand

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