OP-ED: Animal Testing

Why animals shouldn’t be tested on

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OP-ED: Animal Testing

Brooke Fullerton

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Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, is the performance of conducting experiments on animals for the purposes of biological and medical research, testing new medications for humans, and testing the safety of consumer products, like cosmetics and cleaners. Common animals used for these procedures include mice, rabbits, fish, monkeys, dogs, and cats. The topic of animal testing is widely debated, due to the effectiveness and ethicality of the procedures. Because of the harm inflicted on the animals and ineffective results of the experiments, animal testing should not be used for human discovery.

Animals that go into the experiments are typically perfectly healthy, and never get to live a normal life outside of the laboratory. It is estimated that over 115 million animals are used in experiments each year, and over 100 million animals die from the experiments that are conducted on them. If an animal doesn’t die from an experiment, it will typically be re-used for other experiments until it meets its demise. Common procedures the animals must endure include forced chemical exposure, food and water deprivation, deliberate infliction of burns and wounds, genetic manipulation, and killing by carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck-breaking, and decapitation. The animals, who are living, breathing, and have emotion, and subjected to physical and psychological torment and pain without a say in the matter, without a clear purpose. For example, only 47 new medicines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2017, despite the millions of experiments that were conducted. Animal lives are not disposable, and should not be treated as such.

Animals do not represent humans. Animals don’t get many of the diseases humans do, such as HIV, many types of cancer and heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia. Despite this, scientists try to artificially create the disease in the animals, which yields an entirely different effect in humans. Most diseases affect the species’ in different ways, which means that an effective treatment for a mouse may not be as effective for a human. The FDA reports that 92 out of every 100 drugs that pass animal tests fail in humans. For example, a drug called Thalidomide was approved for sale in the 1950’s, after being successfully testing on rats. It was a sedative marketed as an over-the-counter remedy, and was said to be completely safe for child and women, even during pregnancy. This was proven to be completely false. When a

pregnant woman took the drug, usually for morning sickness, the drug could cause a woman’s unfertilized eggs, once fertilized, to cause the baby to be born with a birth defect called phocomelia, which is characterized by shortened, flipper-like, and/or absent limbs. Among Thalidomide, many other drugs that were deemed safe for humans because of the animal’s results were unsafe and dangerous for humans, but passed the FDA’s standards before that was known. Animal bodies handle diseases and drugs in a completely different way than human bodies do.

There is a safer, more reliable, and more ethical way to testing medicines and products. Rather than using animals for experiments, cell cultures can be tested in a petri dish. This is known as In Vitro testing. It is much more reliable than animal testing because it uses actual human cells. Volunteers are given extremely small samples of whatever is being tested, and their blood can be analyzed. For skincare and chemical products, artificial skin created from human skin cells are used. This provides a much better predicament of how a product will react on actual human skin, rather than animal skin. Computer models of things such as human molecules are much more concise than doing invasive procedures on animals.

Overall, an animal’s life isn’t worth a new eyeliner, moisturizer, or household cleaner, and there are much better ways to test medicine and healthy treatments that involve actual human DNA instead of animal DNA. Animal testing needs to come to an end.