By Amanda Eldreth
Staff Columnist

While it may be difficult to dispute some of the medical advances made with animal research, it needs to be recognized that many tests that have proved successful in animals have turned out to be harmful to humans. Disregarding the notion that it’s called testing for a reason, no amount of unnecessary suffering can justify an animal treated as if it was our resource. The value that we put on animals should not be based on the resources that we can harvest from them.

A majority of the data collected from these tests are to benefit humans alone. But there are two options: use animals or use humans. As pointed out in last week’s article “In Defense of Animal Testing,” “there are a lot of things you can’t do with humans- and they’ll put you jail if you try.” Logically, of course, that means we can just use animals. If what scientists do to animals in order to benefit humans is consider inhuman and cruel for humans, then how are people able to accept that animals are sacrificed for them to escape death for a few more days, months, or years?

It’s a harsh way to examine the situation for some, but that could be because everyone fears the diseases and problems the research is trying to cure. I don’t wish suffering upon anyone, but I firmly believe animal research is not the best tool. Animals in laboratories do not live a much better life than those in the wild because they do not live. They are kept in isolated and controlled areas and are tested upon. The fear they experience in nature is natural, and they are hardwired with how to evade and live with that fear. Convincing ourselves that laboratory animals have better lives is a poor attempt to moralize the treatment they’re subjugated to.

In several instances, animals in tests cannot be put on anesthesia or have medicine to reduce suffering because of the interference that would cause to the study. To say that laboratory life saves animals from the unappealing aspects of life in the wild is to say that laboratory life is a much better life for homeless people; they’d get nourishment, a controlled living environment, and be saved from considering crime as a means to survive.
Furthermore, the lives of commonly used laboratory animals are up to 66 times shorter than that of a human being, making it difficult to identify side effects that are slow to develop. Although penicillin is a useful drug today, when it was first in testing stages, it was tested on mice. Although the outcome turned out to be positive, had the medicine been tested on hamsters, penicillin would probably not be in circulation. One must also consider the TGN1412 (“elephant man” drug) disaster that left six men with organ failure after tests on monkeys failed to predict these effects. The irony in this experiment proves that no matter how close an animal’s make up is to a human, the results can prove to be inconclusive.

Essentially, every being that is a subject of a life should never be treated as a resource, for they have inherent worth and are due respect. If a person were to volunteer to research purposes, let them. That is free will, and they can make that choice. They will be able to know when a research tactic is inhumane or even immoral.

Even if there are review panels for animal research, how do they enforce the same regulations upon every scientific institution? Especially when there are institutions that covers their research up under other titles so that they can evade the regulations? One must also consider how those on the panels view animals when they set down regulations. If all see animals as nothing but resources, how efficient can those regulations be in ensuring the reduction of animal suffering?

The Elm

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