Opinion Essay on Animal Testing – Written November 23, 2000

The testing of animals has been a continuing issue for the last hundred years. Animal testing has been used for many things including learning the side affects of consumer products such as bleach, as well as helping to cure and treat diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. Thousands of animals die every year due to this testing, much of it done by corporations to test their products and make sure that those products were safe to sell. Arm and Hammer test their baking soda and toothpaste, as well as Clairol, who tests their cosmetics. The government uses animals to test the affects of chemicals to be used in warfare, as well as the FDA who checks the corporation’s findings of their products to ensure that those products are safe.

Many laws have been passed regarding animal testing and animals in general. On August 24th, 1966 Federal Public Law 89-544 was passed. It stated that the Secretary of agriculture had the right to regulate the handling of animals being sold, which included barnyard animals as well as domestic pets. In the next thirty-four years, other advancements were made in this act. The Federal government stated that animals must be treated humanely, and when testing does occur, that testing must be as painless as possible. (Animal Welfare Act and Regulations) After studying this piece of legislature, I noticed a few interesting loopholes. According to the Constitution of the United States of America, the Federal government can not interfere with intrastate trade. In other words, a group of rabbits being brought from Paraguay to Pennsylvania must be tread humanely in order to be legally bought. But, after those rabbits enter Pennsylvania, their offspring are not subject to those same laws, as long as they are kept within the state of Pennsylvania. Therefore, they can be treated as cruelly as one would care to treat them, as long as it complies with Pennsylvania State law.

There are poor regulations for animal rights in America. As previously stated, there are loopholes to every law that is created. Animal testing is legal in our country, but before anyone can pass judgement on animal testing, one must look at the positive side to the tests that are conducted. In the 1900’s, many diseases were learned about largely due to the help of animal testing. Polio, chicken pox, and rubella are some of the vast number of diseases that have been cured or had new advancements in treatment available due to animals being tested. (Animal testing is not cruel) It was learned that chemotherapy works because animals were tested first. Without those animals being tested, our superior race may have become extinct by now. I say superior race because humans are superior beings to every animal on the planet. We as humans have the intelligence to understand that making another creature suffer is better than making ourselves suffer. Humans understand that rabbits procreate very quickly, and that there is a great possibility to have many rabbits, regardless of how many are killed in studies. We use those animals to discover more about ourselves.

Perhaps we should instead subject humans to this testing. Back in the 1940s, a world leader tried this. He subjected many humans to excruciating pain, usually resulting in death, for the advancement of science. I do not condone Adolf Hitler’s research on the tolerance of the human body, but we now know so much about the human body thanks to him. We know about temperature limits, a human’s need for oxygen, and some theories on cloning. Though this is an extreme, it proves how the good of the many has outweighed the good of the few. Thousands of lives have been saved because of this research. We now know exactly what hypothermia does, and how best to counteract it. In comparison, this is the same as conducting cancer research on lab rats today. Though those rats are put through a lot of pain, the conclusions that are found will eventually help us save thousands of lives.

A great argument against animal testing is that animals are very unlike humans. Their immune systems are different, as well as their body structures. This is true: it is an undisputed fact. But, how much does the human race really know about these animals? Perhaps inside those lab rat’s immune system holds the key to making future generations of humans immune to a disease. And, since we don’t know exactly how different humans and animals are, maybe animals do not feel pain. There is no proof to back up the concept that animals do feel pain. On an EEG, it shows the brainwaves fluctuate to a “painful situation” in the same way that a human brain would. But, wasn’t this statement made by the same people that just got finished saying how different humans and animals are? Animal rights groups are hypocritical. Another example is Greenpeace. They currently are buying another ship to add to their fleet. (Official Greenpeace Website) This is just as bad as Mrs. Linda McCartney receiving chemotherapy to combat her breast cancer. She and her husband/Beatle Paul McCartney were/are avid animal rights activists. However, chemotherapy was tested on animals. Linda, in her final attempt to cling onto her life, used something that was tested on animals. She knew that her wellbeing was a greater need than that of some lab rat.

It is my personal belief that no creature should suffer unnecessary cruelty. I do not think thousands of rabbits should have to die just to see what make-up will do if you put it in your eye and leave it there for forty-eight hours. I think it would be just as easy to pay humans and test in on them. It would make for more affective research. In a laboratory, we could find out that the chemical would not kill a human, and then get a person to sign a legal waiver and test it on them. It has been my personal discovery that no matter how stupid the concept, there is always a person even dumber willing to do it for five dollars. However, I think that gaining research about cancer and other diseases is vital to the existence of the human race. I think that we should do preliminary testing on lab animals to determine what therapy will do, as well as see what the diseases actually are. If countless rats have to die in order for the human race to not suffer another bubonic-like plague, I say strap the rats down and inject them with whatever we desire.



All sources were found on the Internet

Animal Welfare Act and Regulations. Animal Welfare Information Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library. http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm

Animal testing not cruel. Editorial. http://www.mcspotlight.org/cgi-bin/zv/debate/multis/messages/569.html

Official Greenpeace Website. http://www.greenpeace.org

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