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Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 7 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
Benefits Animal Testing Pros Cons

There are many pros and cons to the practice of animal testing. Unfortunately, neither seem to fully tip the scale to a side that pleases everyone – including the general public, government and scientists.

Pros or Postives of Animal Testing

1. Helps researchers to find drugs and treatments:
The major pro for animal testing is that it aids researchers in finding drugs and treatments to improve health and medicine. Many medical treatments have been made possible by animal testing, including cancer and HIV drugs, insulin, antibiotics, vaccines and many more.

2. Improves human health:
It is for this reason that animal testing is considered vital for improving human health and it is also why the scientific community and many members of the public support its use. In fact, there are also individuals who are against animal testing for cosmetics but still support animal testing for medicine and the development of new drugs for disease.

3. Helps ensure safety of drugs:
Another important aspect to note is that animal testing helps to ensure the safety of drugs and many other substances humans use or are exposed to regularly. Drugs in particular can carry significant dangers with their use but animal testing allows researchers to initially gauge the safety of drugs prior to commencing trials on humans. This means that human harm is reduced and human lives are saved – not simply from avoidance of the dangers of drugs but because the drugs themselves save lives as well as improve the quality of human life.

4. Alternative methods of testing do not simulate humans in the same way
Scientists typically use animals for testing purposes because they are considered similar to humans. As such, researchers do recognise the limitations and differences but the testing is done on animals because they are thought to be the closest match and best one with regards to applying this data to humans.

Cons or Negatives of Animal Testing

1. Animals are killed or kept in captivity:
In animal testing, countless animals are experimented on and then killed after their use. Others are injured and will still live the remainder of their lives in captivity.

2. Some substances tested, may never be used for anything useful:
The unfortunate aspect is that many of these animals received tests for substances that will never actually see approval or public consumption and use. It is this aspect of animal testing that many view as a major negative against the practice, as it seems that the animal died in vain because no direct benefit to humans occurred.

3. It is very expensive:
Another con on the issue of animal testing is the price. Animal testing generally costs an enormous amount of money, as the animals must be fed, housed, cared for and treated with drugs or a similar experimental substance. On top of that, animal testing may occur more than once and over the course of months, which means that additional costs are incurred. The price of animals themselves must also be factored into the equation. There are companies who breed animals specifically for testing and animals can be purchased through them.

4. Animals and humans are never exactly the same:
There is also the argument that the reaction of a drug in an animal's body is quite different from the reaction in a human. The main criticism here is that some believe animal testing is unreliable. Following on that criticism is the premise that because animals are in an unnatural environment, they will be under stress. Therefore, they won't react to the drugs in the same way compared to their potential reaction in a natural environment. This argument further weakens the validity of animal experimentation.

Personal Choice

While there are numerous pros and cons of animal testing, the ethical aspect overshadows both of them, which means that emotion may be the ultimate determining factor in whether a person believes the benefits of animal testing outweigh the problems associated with the practice.

For more information about the ethics of animal testing on this site, read the following features:

1. The controversy of animal testing
2. Medical treatments that have been found as a result of animal testing
3. Medical trials on humans.

External Resources

Read around the subject at external sites - here are two very good resources:

The BBC education page on animal ethics

The Government legislation relating to animal testing

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[Add a Comment]
I have seen multiple comments about how people would rather kill and make animals suffer than their own kind . I believe the only reason that they posted this is because humans are their own kind . If they were an animal they would say why not do it on the humans and save us . I strongly disagree , why not take people that are already dying and test it on them , if they die they already were so . If they survive they don't die ,simple as that.
Izzy - 7-Nov-18 @ 1:42 PM
Here is the thing: yes, we do need to take safer protocols with animal testing. But, we wouldn't nearly have the medicine that we have today if we didn't do testing. We can't do it on humans, so what else can we do. We can't just put off creating new medicines for ever. We still need to figure out so many things in the medical field. The types of animals being tested are fish, rats, birds, and rabbits. so stop saying if it was our pets, because they are not testing on dogs and cats, or bigger animals like that. Like i said, we can make efforts to make testing safer and less harmful. But we have to keep testing for our own good.
think about it - 6-Nov-18 @ 4:01 PM
Let me ask you people this, would you rather do trials on animals and something happens and they die or do you want to be cruel to people, living human beings that these trials can help but could kill them, or testing on animals and it helps humans with diseases and a host of other problems? You can't have it both ways because if there isn't any testing we fail in the realm of finding cures for diseases because not testing something will definitely kill a human.
elrojo1 - 3-Nov-18 @ 12:26 AM
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Hit or miss - 1-Nov-18 @ 9:35 PM
Hit or miss I guess they never miss,huh You got a boyfriend i bet he doesn't kiss ya He gon find another girl and he won't miss ya he gon skkrrt and hit the dab like Wiz Khalifa
Hit or miss - 30-Oct-18 @ 9:57 PM
I think that testing on animals is completely appropriate. We use animals for clothes, food, and some cases shelter. So what's wrong with this coming to our needs. Then the people who don't like breeding or McDonalds or clothes must be nudists and skinny vegans.
Chloe - 30-Oct-18 @ 7:17 PM
Thank you, that’s so helpful!!
X - 21-Oct-18 @ 9:35 AM
I strongly disagree with this animals should not have to used for testing its just not right in my at all. Its unfair to the animals.
ness - 20-Oct-18 @ 11:51 PM
you guys are so helpful thank you for the information on animal testing
calire - 26-Sep-18 @ 5:34 PM
You are all stupid a word i don't use lightly
Big Bear 114 - 7-Sep-18 @ 8:17 PM
Animal testing can help save lives, but it can also be unreliable. Animals and people are not the same and only 19% of the 93 dangerous drug side effects can be predicted by animal tests. Animals are not above us but we are also not above them and they shouldn't unnecessarily (which it is in some cases) suffer when we wouldn't do the same for them. However, if animal testing could save a person I love then I can see why people agree with it but it is controversial.
jazzyjessw - 4-Aug-18 @ 7:19 PM
Animal testing is a complex issue; as others have mentioned, you cannot satisfy everyone. There will always be people who value the lives of animals over humans and visa versa. In my opinion, unless there is a viable alternative which gives equally sufficient or superior results to in-vivo testing, animals will probably be the only option we have to understand biology. Scientists have performed, I believe, even more morally repugnant tests on humans because of a belief that they were lower than animals. I don’t think we want to return to that. Obviously in the Western world, we value animals as one with man. I believe this is more of a cultural than universal perception. Human beings are here for a reason; we have the tools and the intellect to make the world a better place. Nothing in life, sadly, is ever so simple.
Lady Who Thinks - 6-Jul-18 @ 4:06 AM
This is really quite ridiculous, why should we have to test things on humans just because you people put animals above humans. I think you should all just have a look at what you're really saying, its all just senseless and stupid really.
Paul Perv - 18-Jun-18 @ 3:32 AM
would you rather have your kids or family die, for a rat, or bunny?
njknnjs - 17-May-18 @ 5:03 PM
Scientists should test on microorganisms instead of poor innocent, animals. Some microorganisms are good and some microorganisms are bad. Best part is that there are billions upon trillions of microorganisms in on Earth. There are plenty of microorganisms for scientists to test on. Microorganisms also don't harm animals.
Red Guest - 2-May-18 @ 5:28 PM
I think it's bad??! Animals shouldn't suffer because of us and our needs! If you support animal testing I really despise you!
Samster - 2-May-18 @ 1:28 PM
All these people saying that animal testing is bad, yes it can be unethical but it is in our nature as an animal. It is like eating meat the animal died to benefit us. animal testing does not have a guarantee of death however market animals do. So in my eyes animal testing just like eating a hamburger or a hot dog you may be a vegan or vegetarian you have to understand it is an INSTINCT to protect other animals. Like when a mother shark kills to protect it's young. Oh and some other comments make it sound like scientists kill animals that is not the case.
THAT1KID - 2-May-18 @ 2:50 AM
animal testing is not completely reliable, and you can’t trust a product just because it’s been tested on an animal.
jkl - 30-Apr-18 @ 2:34 AM
If scientists test on the animals, they are not necesarely helping them, they are killing them. I disagree with animal testing because it an kill them. Animals need a life like us. And BumpADump is not a moron for picking his side of the debate, SuperawesomeBRO. And plz stop calling people names!
cali - 23-Apr-18 @ 4:44 PM
Scientists are messed up. Animals deserve to have a life, just like we do. I agree with Elly, would you want to get tested on? Animals are a 99% match to humans, and animals could get extinct because of testing.If a test fails,the animal could die, and that just shows that scientists do not care for animals. I would rather you test it on me, instead of poor animals.I would think about it before you do it. I mean it.
calli - 23-Apr-18 @ 4:32 PM
In my honest opinion i think animal testing does not belong.
GHOST - 12-Apr-18 @ 6:56 PM
how do you know if you tested it on an animalthat your not going to waste your money using on humans.how know ifyou test it on an animal that it will work on a human.
jaylak - 9-Apr-18 @ 1:04 PM
Honestly, we're wasting lives and money because of animal testing. Most of the stuff they test is never used, and that money could go to things such as the poverty rate.
scootordie420 - 4-Apr-18 @ 4:21 PM
I think animals are the rights to be a alive and we are animals too so we are killings animals
D.j. - 23-Mar-18 @ 1:06 AM
Did you know that over one hundred million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned, and abused in United State labs every year? How would you like it if your pet was going to be tested on and might even die? The truth is, Animals that are used for testing suffer greatly.According to the Humane Society, registration of a single pesticide requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals. Most importantly The Draize eye test, used by cosmetics companies to evaluate irritation caused by shampoos and other products, involves rabbits being incapacitated in stocks with their eyelids held open by clips, sometimes for multiple days, so they cannot blink away the products being tested. Globally, it’s estimated that millions of animals are mutilated and killed every year in experiments for everything from drugs to floor cleaners and face creams.Animals are still being killed for lipstick Animal testing for cosmetics and toiletries has long been banned in the United Kingdom, and as of March 2013, the sale of cosmetics whose ingredients have been tested on animals has also been banned across the European Union. Secondly the real-life applications for some of the tested substances are as trivial as an “improved” laundry detergent, new eye shadow, or copycat drugs to replace a profitable pharmaceutical whose patent expired. Animals are strapped to tables, bolts in the head, hair shaved, skin ripped off, bad shoots, starved, eye taken out, and mouth duct taped. Every second of every day of every year an animal dies in an experiment. So animals are killed because they’re not the right size, how outrageous is that? How would you like it if you were killed just because you were not the right height or size? I get animal testing helps us know whether things are safe or not. Just think how would you like it if you had to do the same killing experiments? But several cosmetic tests commonly performed on mice, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs include: skin and eye irritation tests where chemicals are rubbed on shaved skin or dripped into the eyes without any pain relief. I sure wouldn’t let my pets be tested on.
Student - 15-Mar-18 @ 11:29 PM
Woah, people, slow down. Please don't call each other names, I know you have different viewpoints from other people, but insulting them will not help you prove your point. Just because you're behind a computer screen does not give you the right to say those things. Keep it civil, please. As for me and my stance on animal testing, it's a bit complicated. I am against the way we treat the animals we're testing on, like please if you're going to be doing all of those horrible things USE SOME GOSH DARN PAINKILLERS! And if what your testing the animals for has no use for humans or other animals, then don't do it. it is unnecessary. Plus if there are other alternatives to using animals then they should either be used or seriously considered. But I am happy that we have all of these life-saving medicians, that is great. I'm just not ok with how we treat them. I literally cry when I read about the stuff that has been done. It physically hurts me to know that they have suffered so much.
Cats are great - 11-Mar-18 @ 2:00 PM
BumpADump you are a moron. Scientist are helping us out completely. They have saved lots of us by testing on animals. Yes some animals have died but really if they didn't animals would be running the world. So they ARE doing a good job, and you need to shut up.
SuperAwesomeBRO - 9-Mar-18 @ 4:53 PM
Well I can see your point there doc but honestly they are killing millions of animals just to see if they can a cure a sickness for humans. But if you really look into it more than half the test they do on animals don't even help humans out. So really all they're doing is killing animals just to find out they did nothing to help.
BumpADump - 9-Mar-18 @ 4:49 PM
Animal testing has lead to many life saving cures, sure you may argue "It's cruel and inhuman" If we didn't do animal testing we wouldn't be able to find life saving cures, such as when we tested on the cow We found a cure to smallpox, or the zebrafish who can help control metabolism,Also people probably will never change from animal testing because one it takes people to long to change,and get used to it. Two because it would probably cost even more than animal testing does. Finally because once they mastered this they would have to find the way to cure whatever, and they can't use animals for it. So if the plague came back and we weren't able to use animals we would probably all die.
doc - 9-Mar-18 @ 3:49 PM
my school is doing argumentative essays. I need some information Can you help?!
freddy - 8-Mar-18 @ 10:13 PM
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