The Process Of Animal Experimentation
There are many situations in which it may be necessary to try something out in a controlled environment before using it in its intended context. This can be quite innocuous or quite destructive. This is often the case with the use of animal testing in the trials of drugs and cosmetics for human use. This essay will explore its precursors, its uses and its alternatives.
Animal testing is generally used to prove that a substance will work when used on human subjects and that it will not have adverse consequences. The lives and well being of the animals are considered less important than those of humans in this case. Unfortunately, that mindset has also been used to justify involuntary human experimentation where the subjects were considered by the testers to belong to ‘inferior’ races. This took place in concentration camps in Germany and in African American neighborhoods in the last century.
Bearing in mind the moral aspect of testing on living feeling creatures without their permission, one might ask why the practice continues. Part of the reason is that it has been a key part of the discovery of several drugs that have helped people recover from or manage debilitating illnesses. Without animal testing, many of these substances could not be proven safe and make it to market. On the other hand, there have also been animal tests on cosmetic products which are by no means life saving.
One of the methods that can be used to minimize this practice is to use living tissue and cells rather than entire creatures for the testing. They can respond to many stimuli in ways that may reflect how the whole organism would feel. The individual cells can be harvested humanely on one occasion and cloned repeatedly so that the supply is endless.
Another way to minimize the need for animal testing is to return to more traditional medicines. Many of the traditional cultures are aware of remedies that have very specific proportions already. This means that voluntary human testing can be considered because the substances in question would have already been in use for centuries. This is not only better for the people, it is better for the environment as less processing is needed than if you had to synthesize the compounds.
Animal testing will continue to seem a necessary evil until the dearth of natural remedies is fully explores by humanity at large. Once food resumes being medicine, non human animals will enjoy greater freedom from abuse.