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Using Animals for Testing: Pros Versus Cons

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 17 Jan 2019 | 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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pie - 16-Jan-19 @ 2:55 PM
are animals sentient do they know they exist
ogga booga - 11-Jan-19 @ 7:46 PM
Great artical including good info.
Dr.Ec - 13-Dec-18 @ 10:35 PM
i am against this stupid animal testing cause no matter what it doesnt mean that animals are the same as people there are some people that could be allergic to some kind of meds that were tested on animals
cobra - 12-Dec-18 @ 6:58 PM
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. H
yeetus the feetus - 9-Dec-18 @ 11:33 PM
I read this article and was faced in a real big dilemma whether animals should be used for research. However yes i do find it cruel how animals may die to certain drugs or treatments,and it is somewhat beneficial to test on animals then humans. But when looking more in deph there is some pros and cons to everything,and it really just depends on how the individual looks at it,however this article was very useful but it did put me in a huge dillemma.
Manda - 29-Nov-18 @ 3:21 AM
I am one of those people who would like animal testing to stop, but I also understand that we wouldn't have what we have today without it. But there are safer ways to test products.
Tales - 13-Nov-18 @ 5:37 PM
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.
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Hit or miss - 1-Nov-18 @ 9:35 PM
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Hit or miss - 30-Oct-18 @ 9:57 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
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