Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Is it worth it? The Horror of Experimentation

By , Cambridge, MA
Animal experiments have been practiced since 360 BC and appallingly, are still practiced today. Animals are used to test all sorts of things, from cures for cancer to dishwashing liquid. There is much controversy surrounding animal testing, also known as vivisection; there are those who oppose it and those who are in agreement with it. Mostly it is medical students, scientists and scientific professors who support this. They back up their side by saying that almost all of the medical breakthroughs that have been achieved in the past century relied on animals as test subjects. A vaccine for leprosy was found using armadillos. Insulin that was first isolated from dogs revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. The list is long. However, does the cost outweigh the benefits? Animal activists and others argue that the amount of damage and cruelty to the animals is enormous. Ninety percent of the animals used in lab tests are rats and mice, but primates, birds, rabbits, farm animals, cats, dogs, fish and even fruit flies are used. It is estimated that 50 to 100 million vertebrates are used worldwide, annually. This is an amazing loss of life. Most of the animals are either killed during the experiment or euthanized afterwards. Photos taken by animal activists inside facilities conducting experiments show disgusting living conditions for the animals and horrific injuries to the animals themselves. Animals are maimed, burned, tortured and poisoned. It is disgusting and cruel. There are two types of research in which animals are used: pure research and applied research. Pure research investigates how organisms behave, develop and function. This is the despicable research that is manipulating genetics to create monstrous creatures like the rats with human ears growing out of their backs. This may be a scientific breakthrough for some, but for me, and many others, it is horrific. The loss of life, even if it was just rodent life, is most likely enormous. The excuse that the scientists use to convince themselves that what they are doing has use is “it may produce unforeseen benefits.” The key word is may. That’s right. They don’t work towards something definite; they work in the hope that it may turn out to find some wondrous achievement. I don’t know how those people who participated in this can live with themselves. Applied research aims to solve specific and practical problems. Pure research is largely academic in origin and applied research is usually carried out in the pharmaceutical industry. Applied research is used to study diseases, toxicity in products and other specific things. This is the research that is trying to find a cure for cancer, AIDS, and the countless other diseases that currently have no cures. It is the research that is also used to test toxicity of cosmetics, household cleaners, dishwashing liquids, medical drugs and even glue. Personally, I find this slightly more acceptable than pure research, as it has an aim that is helpful to humanity. Pure research is just fiddling with things we don’t understand. Okay, so now you know what vivisection is and the different types, I’m going to tell you why it’s terrible. There are thousands of companies that test their products on animals. Some of them are Olay, Aussie, Dove, Garnier, L’Oreal, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Neutrogena, OxiClean, Pantene, Johnson & Johnson, Windex, Sunsilk and so many more. These are just some of the companies that inject their unfinished products into albino rabbit’s eyes (the Draize Test) causing them to crust up, weep pus and become infected. This is just one of the terrible tests they conduct on harmless, innocent animals. I could cause you to cry with just some of the images and descriptions I have found on the Internet. Chimpanzees are tortured by electric shocks to their brains until they are driven to a killing frenzy. Cats have their skulls cut open and have electrodes planted in their brains. Cats are a favourite of neurologists; apparently they have similar brains to humans. Dogs are horribly burned and then stuffed back in their cages with no ceremony. All this and much, much more is done without painkillers or treatment of any kind. Not only is it cruel, not all the tests work. Various medicines proven to work on animals have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Most human illnesses don’t occur in animals, so to conduct tests, the animals have to be infected with unnatural diseases. Even scientists say that animal and human results occur less than twenty percent of the time. Almost all of the drugs that pass animal tests fail immediately on humans. What is the point of conducting revolting tests when they don’t work? It is a waste time and life. Aspirin fails animal tests, as does Digitalis (heart drug), cancer medicines, penicillin and other safe drugs. If vivisection were completely relied upon, these helpful drugs would be banned from the market. The vaccine for polio was delayed forty years by tests on monkeys. Thirty HIV vaccines, thirty-three spinal cord damage drugs, and over seven hundred treatments for stroke have passed animal tests. None work on humans. These are just some of the reasons why animal testing is pointless. Alternatives to animals testing are in vitro research and in silico research. In vitro research is basically tissue research. Human tissue is used to study diseases such as cancer, diabetes and glaucoma. A massive amount of this research is used and is valuable to modern medicine. In silico research is using computers to mimic human reactions. It can predict the toxicity of chemicals, including their potential to cause birth defects or cancer. Computer simulations can also predict what will happen when the chemicals enter the human structure. Safety tests using human cells are much more accurate than animal tests. Researchers found sixty-eight different methods to predict the toxicity of fifty different chemicals. Rat toxicity tests were only fifty-nine percent accurate, but a combined human cell test was eighty percent accurate.
These alternatives are slowly, but surely replacing animal testing. However, there is still a long way to go. We have to stop genetic manipulation, pure research, applied research, cosmetics testing, product testing and the one hundred other different categories of vivisection. You can help by trying to buy makeup, household cleaners and hair products that are not tested on animals. Think of the animals that have died to make your mascara or shampoo. You know how much it hurts to get shampoo in your eyes, imagine what it would be like for the animals? Having the unfinished products inserted into the eyes, into the bloodstream, fed to you and then having it put on raw skin. Think of the animals that suffer so you can have the new weight-loss pill, the new shoddy cure for heartburn that will probably give you a heart attack? Animals are picked off the streets to be tortured, in the name of science. To help these poor animals, I urge you to buy cosmetics, shampoo, cleaning liquids and everything else that you can to do your part in stopping this cruelty.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

doctorwhofan said...
Nov. 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm
Hey. I'm new to Teen Ink and this is the first thing I've put on. I did this for a school essay and I am big on animal rights etc. Hope you all like it!
Tessa92 replied...
Nov. 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm
Sorry folks, that was me. I didn't know how to get onto my account etc so i just commented randomly. sorry
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback