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Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 23 Feb 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]
The people who support animal testing for medical use but not cosmetic use are hypocrites.
Student - 22-Feb-18 @ 7:57 PM
i wish people would stop being so cruel
turtle - 20-Feb-18 @ 5:41 AM
I wish people would stop using animals they use mice, chimps, frogs, fish why do they do that.
love cookies - 30-Jan-18 @ 8:42 PM
I would rekon that we should stop this Testing .because we are humen being .if we will do this.what diffrent us and animal. It is a sin
Bharti - 13-Dec-17 @ 1:58 PM
I personally believe that animal testing is ethically wrong, however, I am still in support of it. Yes, animals are in pain and suffer, but the benefits to animal testing are many. As previous commenters have pointed out, life-saving medications have been developed through animal testing. While the shampoo-test (I do not recall the exact name of it, but it involves albino bunnies eyes being held open, while the shampoo product is placed in their eye) is a source of nightmares, would you rather a bunny lose its sight, or another person? Animal testing is horrible and completely ethically wrong to me, it is still necessary until an equally effective alternative method is found.
Aulumn - 8-Dec-17 @ 11:57 PM
Wow there are so many things to take in from the comments and the actual article. This is one of the things that will always be debated as even though i myself am a great animal lover, would i willingly give my life up this second, the truth is... no but it hurts to know that animals are being tortured so we can look good.There is also the fact that without animals to test on how would we find cures for diseases or something like polio and leukemia. It is not just humans that benefit from this,animals do as well,because from this as vaccines for parvovirus in dogs and feline leukemia were made possible wholly from animal testing.Animal testing has also bought animals back from the brink of extinction. However there are some times when humans prove themselves to be absolutely sick like when they let animals be used to study the risein blood sugar levels caused by heating and animals skin temperature had reached 131.5'C *even though boiling point is 100'C* . Is it really worth all the misery and suffering or Who would you rather be alive : animals or you? To be honest even I don't know what I would choose.
Anon - 4-Dec-17 @ 8:32 PM
Thank you I used this in my report about animal testing and the articlewas very helpfulthere was so many pros and cons to animal testing but I decided to choice that animal testing was wrong becuase animals have rights
Student - 7-Nov-17 @ 3:20 PM
Animal testing is wrong in so many ways. Animal testing is a cruel and selfish practice that only benefits humans. It goes to show just how humans take advantage of anything they can because they believe they have the authority to control everything in their sight. Animals are being tested on products that they will never have any use for, and these products do not make a difference in their lives.Animals are not able to have a say since humans are stronger. This essentially means, humans are denying animals’ rights and are visualizing them as lesser beings.Testing products on animals is in many cases murder, we are letting them test products to see how harmful they are and what the effects will be, leading many of them to die. Animals are not our property, we should not be taking them out of their habitat, out of their lives, to use them in ours selfishly and unnecessarily. They should not be used for experiments, entertainment, or any other abuse towards them. Animal testing is like slavery- it is separating a group of living beings, it is using them selfishly, and denying their rights. Animal testing should be banned at all causes, and should never be subjected to the practice.
student - 6-Nov-17 @ 11:49 PM
Animal testing has a good cause if it is to find cures that save human lives. However, why do we need to test cosmetics on animals? Why do we need to test and risk hurting animals for something that humans don't need? This is my view on animal testing
TheRussianBagel - 26-Oct-17 @ 12:54 AM
test it on humans. there are too many of them, and 3 animals shouldn't be killed for one human.
science - 11-Oct-17 @ 6:40 PM
I agree with VroomVroomSexual on this situation no more animal rights, kill all the monkies
VroomVroomLyndie - 6-Oct-17 @ 3:58 PM
People clearly dont understand the benefits of animal testing. Educate yourself before you post about the 'poor' animals.
Student - 28-Jun-17 @ 12:19 PM
whats wrong with using organ chips, the chips succeed in finding a cure most of the time and then animals won’t be badly treated and be put through excruciating pain. the chips and identical to the human body so they are reliable.
Elly - 27-Jun-17 @ 7:58 PM
what is wrong with the world, animals can't speak for themselves, they feel pain. would you want to have shampoo in your eyes, someone to inject cancer into you and to wrap barbed wire around your heart to give you a heartattack, it isnt fair for an animal to go through this pain, just think, would you want to go through what these animals are going through? 95% of tests fail causing the animals to die.
Elly - 27-Jun-17 @ 7:45 PM
Thx,this was very helpful for my school homework and will really help me with my test on Monday :)
Dr.Blue - 17-Jun-17 @ 4:37 PM
Animal testing allows for new extraordinary medicines that help millions of people.
Kara-zor-el - 4-Jun-17 @ 6:21 PM
This website and comments are being really helpful for a class debate on animal testing coming up next week. Thanks!
Steph - 22-May-17 @ 1:49 AM
This is actually really useful for my debate coming up!
Student - 18-May-17 @ 12:21 AM
It isn't even tested on animals until a variety of other tests are made first. People don't understand this.
TBP64 - 15-May-17 @ 8:45 PM
if you've ever taken a drug or have had a medical procedure, you've benefited from animal testing.
Vernon - 15-May-17 @ 4:21 AM
It is very sad to know that they are giving up their beauty for ours. They go through so much pain and suffering, all they want is someone to hold them properly and love them the right way.
Gutierrez - 14-May-17 @ 10:28 PM
I believe animals should be used in science. Would you rather have animal die or a loved die? The reasons I think animals should be used in labs is animal testing has contributed to many life-saving cures and treatments, animals are appropriate research subjects because they are similar to human beings in many ways, and religious traditions allow for human dominion over animals. Those are the reason I think that Animals should be used in science.
billy - 12-May-17 @ 8:01 PM
Doing this for a school presentation, could anyone please give me some extra further reading as to other options instead of animal testing and/or reasons why it's bad? Thanks very much in advance :)
Dr. Goose - 12-May-17 @ 2:18 PM
I think animals should not be tested for newmedicine
Venkman - 10-May-17 @ 10:07 AM
I would like to thank Dr Sportacus for telling people to stop post "childish" messages. This website is for reaserch only and I would like to help my granchildren with their homework and not have to look at silly comments. Thankyou Dr Sportacus.
Mrs Betty Hoppers - 9-May-17 @ 7:56 PM
Please do not put such childish comments on such a serious matter.
Dr. Sportacus - 9-May-17 @ 12:47 PM
Congratulations, thanks to animal testing, you'll be able to protest animal testing for 14 years longer.
vet_student - 3-May-17 @ 12:38 PM
The main reason we are able to contemplate ethics in animal testing, is because we lead increasingly healthy lives. If we lived in squalor and were susceptible to most diseases, we would care less about animal testing. Whilst I empathise with the opposing argument, its important to have perspective. The same goes for environmentalism. If you are very poor and live in abject poverty, you couldn't care less if you burn environmentally harmful substances to keep warm - you just want to survive. Therefore, I believe animal testing and environmentalism are both luxuries for the rich, as we don't have to consider the alternatives.
Tommy25 - 3-May-17 @ 11:24 AM
i am writing a essay on animal testing and how it was wrong and i used some information from this thanks so much!
I am agienst it - 24-Apr-17 @ 6:20 PM
Animal testing has its pros and cons.Animal testing can be a good and convenient way to cure diseases, test new drugs and to experiment on new products. Although, are we doing the right thing? Is forcing animals under their will to try harsh and new chemicals the right path to take? shouldn't animals have more rights than these? There are more options. Or at least test not so harsh products and when finished let the animal go. I read an article once on how there are plenty of ways to avoid animal testing,such as the donation of blood. Why cant people volunteer to donate blood that might prevent animal testing. There are other ways, the human race isn't dumb,we can figure something out.
L.T - 22-Apr-17 @ 2:49 PM
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