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Annually, millions of animals are utilized for scientific and commercial testing purposes. Animals are used in the development of medical interventions, assessing the toxicity level of drugs, reviewing safety of products, and other health care and commercial purposes. The research on living animals has been utilized for many years. The supporters of animal testing argue that the practice has been useful in the developing of comprehensive life-saving medical interventions for both people and animals (Muñoz-Fontela et al., 2020). In contrast, the opponents of animal testing argue that the practice is very cruel and inhumane because animals are different from humans and thus, the animal testing leads to irrelevant medical findings. Animal testing has various advantages and disadvantages that evaluate the relevance and significance of scientific and commercial testing for animals in medical research.
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One of the pros of animal testing is that it helps to support life-changing medical research via the development of new drugs, vaccines, and medical procedures. Testing on animals has been useful in saving millions of people. Animal tests are beneficial to medical researchers by improving treatment and prevention of various medical conditions like diabetes, tuberculosis, Parkinson’s condition, and high blood pressure, among others. Animals are critical in important in medical research because of the overall complexity of human biochemical processes. The use of non-animal alternatives is possible, but it does not provide an opportunity to study the interrelated relationships occurring among humans (Meigs et al., 2018). Regulatory agencies demand for animal models to be utilized in testing specific elements of experimental medical drugs. Numerous health conditions like blindness and high blood pressure cannot be reviewed using cell cultures because of numerous factors involved in the pathogenesis. Even when utilizing advanced simulations, it is difficult to effectively simulate cell functions. Also, there are numerous genetic similarities between human beings and some animals. For example, mice and humans are 98% similar (Smith et al., 2018). Such similarity is critical in providing accurate testing on the same genes. Thus, animal testing is beneficial in medical research to discover drugs for various health care conditions.
Apart from delivering life-saving treatments, animal testing is critical in making safe vaccines. Medical scientists are rushing to discover efficient vaccines for COVID-19 and thus, testing the vaccines on mice will identify the most efficient vaccines. According to Smith et al. (2018), the testing of COVID-19 vaccine on animals is important and avoiding this procedure would lead to serious danger. Medical researchers are expected to test comprehensively to limit vaccine enhancement, a process that would lead to worsening of diseases in certain people. The testing of vaccines on animals will help to reduce the risks associated with diseases by testing on laboratory animals. Therefore, animal testing is necessary in improving the safety of medical vaccines.
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However, animal testing has various cons, including that animals are not the same as human beings and thus, they are not reliable as test subjects. Humans and animals have varied anatomic, metabolic, and cellular features and thus, making animals the inappropriate subjects for testing for health care conditions. According to Van Norman (2019), animal tests fail to identify the most critical signs of toxicity among human beings. In most occasions, the medical scientists usually expose animals to higher level of chemicals compared to the level of chemicals humans would experience. Scientists aspire to get information more effectively compared to the natural lifetime of animals. Also, researchers might utilize concentrations of chemicals, which is more times higher than real-life chemical exposures. The con also recognize that animals are not humans and thus, testing of the animals does not accurately show the impacts of chemical exposure on humans. The differences between humans and animals have a huge impact on the absorption of chemicals more effectively than the human skins. Animal testing is costly and would not yield results that might be useful in the treatment and diagnosis of human beings. Thus, animals are different from humans and thus, animal testing does not yield accurate results.
To sum up, animal testing has been commonly used in commercial and medical purposes. The proponents of animal testing recommends that the testing practice has been useful in the developing comprehensive life-saving medical interventions for both people and animals. Animal testing is also useful in supporting life-changing medical research via the development of new drugs, vaccines, and medical procedures. Animal tests are critical to medical researchers by enhancing treatment of various medical conditions like diabetes and tuberculosis, among others. The testing of animals is also important in developing safe vaccines. Medical scientists are rushing to discover efficient vaccines for COVID-19 and thus, testing the vaccines on mice will identify the most efficient vaccines. Medical researchers are expected to test comprehensively to limit vaccine enhancement, a process that would lead to worsening of diseases in certain people. Apart from the various pros of animal testing, the practice has various concerns such as animals are not the same as human beings. The animal testing fails to identify the most critical signs of toxicity among human beings.
- Meigs, L., Smirnova, L., Rovida, C., Leist, M., & Hartung, T. (2018). Animal testing and its alternatives–The most important omics is economics. ALTEX-Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, 35(3), 275-305.
- Muñoz-Fontela, C., Dowling, W. E., Funnell, S. G., Gsell, P. S., Riveros-Balta, A. X., Albrecht, R. A., … & Barouch, D. H. (2020). Animal models for COVID-19. Nature, 586(7830), 509-515.
- Smith, A. J., Clutton, R. E., Lilley, E., Hansen, K. E. A., & Brattelid, T. (2018). PREPARE: guidelines for planning animal research and testing. Laboratory Animals, 52(2), 135-141.
- Van Norman, G. A. (2019). Limitations of animal studies for predicting toxicity in clinical trials: is it time to rethink our current approach?. JACC: Basic to Translational Science, 4(7), 845-854.