Background and History of Animal Testing
The background and history of animal testing are interesting aspects of what remains a controversial subject matter today. Animal testing has a history that is fraught with controversy and debate, although most of this occurred as a response to increasing awareness around the use of animals for experimental purposes.
Background to Issues Around Animal Testing
Objections against animal testing have been present virtually throughout the history of animal testing. However, as more companies emerged throughout the mid to late nineteenth century, the number of animals used in tests increased along with the number of tests themselves. This rapid increase in animal testing led to the development of numerous agencies aimed at stopping animal testing while also sharing their sentiment with the greater public. Abuses of animals during testing were well publicised throughout the 1990s and served to create a public frenzy and anger towards animal testing. The increased attention towards animal testing led up to the ban on animal testing for cosmetics in 1998 within Britain.
Attacks on Researchers
The increase in groups against animal testing led to a backlash against researchers who conduct these tests. There was less resistance in the earlier part of the twentieth century but as experimental use of animals increased, the bonding of groups against animal testing began to take shape. The Internet also added glue to the network of those against animal testing because it allowed them to more easily reach people around the world who would support their belief that animals should not be used in experimental testing. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is one group that has led the way in animal rights campaigns as well as spurring on the creation of many other groups. PETA campaigns are not only directed at animal testing but at areas such as promoting vegetarianism and ending the killing of animals for fur. Their campaigns regarding animal testing have, however, been well publicised ones, garnering a great deal of media attention and reaching people around the world.
Threats to researchers and their families left some of the more prominent ones requiring bodyguards for protection. Arson attacks and violence became a reality for those who performed animal testing, particularly those who used primates. In fact, a primate researcher at a university in the United States received numerous threats for his research in 2006. After regular demonstrations and threats to his well-being, he halted the research. In a similar incident from 2007, a bomb was actually placed under a researcher's car but fortunately, the bomb had a faulty fuse and nobody was injured.
Future of Animal Testing
It is likely that animal testing will decrease as alternatives continue to be developed and regulations similarly continue to moderate and hold accountable those who conduct animal testing. At the same time, issues such as outsourcing to countries where animal testing is poorly regulated may continue to be a problem - perhaps even increasing until appropriate measures are created to hold companies responsible. Animal rights activists are also not, in all likelihood, going to stop their quest to ban animal testing or improve the use of alternative methods. In an ideal world, there would be a perfect substitute for animals in experimental procedures but for now, the scientific community overwhelmingly supports its use and the debate over animal testing will quite probably persist for many years. Delve further into animal testing in our find out more section.