Animals Have Ethics Too!

March 11, 2011
A tiny field mouse shrieks in protest as the enormous hand of impending doom inches towards him. Trapped in the tiny cage with his brothers, he realizes his cries of protest, like his former brothers’, would go unheard. At another step towards harm, he waits patiently for this scientist’s next action. Will he attempt to breed me again, or is my life actually over this time? He’s entered a different world at this point, a world where basic ethics seem to have evaporate. He looks up at the heatless scientist, who appears to have trapped him with a needle. Through the first few cries of pain, nothing changes. The scientist appears with another needle again. Or is that another scientist? Dazed, the pain seems to become natural until he hits the point where he feels like he’s falling. The scientist writes ‘dead’ on his data sheet and heartlessly reaches for another artificially bred mouse out of the cage. The big question is, is there something ethically wrong with this picture?

The ethics of animal experimentation have been questioned countless times over the years. Most find this practice to be necessary for human advancement in science. Others see the evil in the practice and do not believe it should be continued. What would be the appropriate steps towards this practice of ‘necessary evil’? Personally, the ethical guidelines behind this form of experimentation overpowers the need for advancement in science. In these experiments, “31% of the animals are relieved of pain through a euthanasia” (Kanade). The fact that some animals need to be killed through mercy shows how unethical this practice can be. These statistics show that these animals, many times, are harmed in some fashion that causes them a cruel, lasting pain. Euthanasia is an illegal practice for humans, so why must such an action be acceptable towars animals? There are many other views on why animal experimentation should not be a practice that is continued.

Animal experimentation is also not considered ethical based on the means scientists use to obtain the animals. Animals are obtained “from breeding services to kidnapping” them from their natural habitat (Animal). By taking animals out of their homes for the puprose of advancement in science is not ethical. Animals, like humans, should have the right to live and choose whether or not they would want to participate in an experiment. After being taken from their home, they are sold to several agencies such as the National Institute of Health. Rats and mice are also “not protected under the Animal Welfare Act regulations” (Animal). This is not ethical either because rats and mice have the same right to live as any other animal or being. There are other reasons why animal testing should not be continued.

The purpose of animal experimentation is to help advance science and possible benefit human health. But what happens if animal experimentation fails to do even that? A good example of this would be the Draize eye experiment conducted by John H Draize 1944. The purpose of this experiment was to test eye irritation to various chemicals. Draize used rabbits in this experiment, feeling there was a connection between the human eye and the rabbit’s eye. It is later discovered that there is a “significant difference [between the] eye structure” of the two beings (Karthik). But that was not discovered till after the experiment was conducted. This test was “later criticized for the inhuman approach towards the rabbits.” (Karthik). After this experiment, animal experimentation is not only unethical, but does not always provied all the information the scientist seeks, making the pain of these animals unjustified. There is one last reason why animal experimentation is unethical.
Due to the fact that animal experimentation is unethical, scientists have formed other means of advancing science. Alternatives to animal testing, such as “cell culture, computer simulation, human-based testing, and scanning techniques” can slowly evolve science from using animals as their subjects (Nakate). By adapting to these means, humans can advance in science and animals can begin to flourish again! The best part of this change is that everyone benefits and animals once again regain the right to live. This form of experimentation is also cost efficient and only requires the use of a computer or a few chemical tests. Hopefully, in the near future, humans can begin to adapt to this new form of experimentation and allow the animals the right to live once again.

Humans have learned to depend on animals for the advancement in science. The problem with this is humans have become too dependent on these animals and have begun to mistreat them. Animal rights have been ignored and their treatment has become unethical. This problem continues to this day and will hopefully one day be changed.





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