Arguments Against Animal Testing

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Animal testing also referred to as vivo testing or rather animal experimentation is termed as the use of animals in either test, experiments, inclusive of development projects for the purpose of determining things such as the dosing, toxicity as well as efficacy of various test drugs, thus before using them human clinical trials. Generally, animal testing experiments are commonly conducted by not universities and medical schools but pharmaceutical companies and involve the use of animals such as mice, amphibians, monkeys, rabbits, pigs, hamsters, rats and reptiles among others (Collins). Some of the common examples of applied research include, but not limited to cosmetic testing, toxicology, defense testing, breeding and testing for various disease treatments.

For decades, animal testing has remained as one of the hot-button controversial issues with both the proponents and opponents of the animal testing debate offering a multitude of opinions favoring their argument. According to the proponents of animal testing argue on the basis of it enables development as well as testing of treatment, animals rights are well protected and it provides a model for studying diseases.

However, despite the limited number of advantages associated with animal testing, it is not only cruel and harsh but also unethical because in most cases it does not yield effective results, it is, therefore, unacceptable, unnecessary, and bad science; hence, should be abolished. This paper explores some of the arguments against the practice such as the fact that it promotes cruelty to animals, violates animal rights due to failure of regulatory laws to protect animals, its unreliability, and availability of alternative testing methods, the paper also provides insight into arguments supporting animal testing as well as their counterarguments.

Arguments against Animal Testing

Animal testing is Cruel, Inhumane and Wasteful

For decades, instances of animal cruelty have been not only prolific but also to a great extent a commonplace. Therefore, one of the main arguments against animal experimentation is that animal testing both cruel to animals and extremely wasteful. According to statistics, more than 100 million animals are used for experiments in the US on an annual basis, concerning this, a single research experiment can use as many as 1200 animals which are in most instances routinely mutilated during or after the experiments while others are subjected to either psychological or physical torture (Collins). However, despite the massive number of animals used, only a few experiments end up being successful, in addition, according to research most experiments using animals particularly rodents and primates tend to be highly flawed; hence, animal testing is wasteful.

Moreover, it can also be argued that the animal tests are wasteful and unnecessary because experimenters rarely publish results on their failed animal studies, hence, other scientist lack access to such information; resulting in the same ineffective experiment being conducted severally, thus resulting in unnecessary torture and death of animals.

Regarding cruelty of animals experiments, some of the heinous acts these test animals are subjected to include, forced inhalation of toxic gases, burning, skull drilling, spinal cord crushing, electrocution as well as dissections with application painkillers among other atrocities. In addition to torment experienced during actual research experiments, animals in most laboratories are deprived of things such as food and water and confined to barren cages which are socially isolated; hence, leaving them psychologically traumatized. As a result of the cruelty experienced by test animals, it is, therefore, safe to say they have treated nothing less than disposable laboratory equipment which is unethical; hence, should be done away with.

Animal Testing is Infective

Another argument against animal testing is based on the fact that such experiments are to a great extent ineffective particularly in assessing the overall safeness of treatments and pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Over the years there has been indisputable evidence acknowledging unreliability of animal tested drugs from the Food and Drugs Agency. Concerning this, in accordance to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, approximately 95% of all drugs and products proven effective through animals test tend to fail in human trials (PETA).

Such has been the case with drugs such as, Thalidomide which resulted in severe deformities among human basis despite having passed animal tests, and Vioxx an arthritis drug that led to cardiac deaths despite having passed animal tests. Other examples of ineffective animal experiments are such as those on HIV/AIDS, according to research surveys, although there were more than 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines that proved successful in various studies involving non-human primates in 2015, none of the vaccines actually protected human beings (Collins). Moreover, in the National Cancer Centre Institute also pointed out that although research experiments have managed to cure mice of cancer for many decades, however, these vaccines f do no work on people. 

Generally, animal testing is ineffective primarily because human beings are biologically, psychologically and physiologically different from animals; hence, they are unsuitable test subjects. Also, animals are not affected by most human diseases, which in some cases results in laboratories artificially inducing animals in order to mimic human beings, as a result, such experiments generally belittle the complexity of both human conditions and diseases which are affected by various variables such as personal experiences, genetics, and social economic factors. 

Availability of Alternative Testing Methods

Over the years, development of models that can easily replace animals in experiments and research studies has been a longstanding goal for animal welfare organizations such as the Food and Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency as well as National Institute of Health. As a result, one of the main arguments against animal testing is attributed to the development of what can be termed as validated alternative methods to animal testing that are not only safer but also more effective in the development of safer drugs and products for human beings as compared to human testing.

Some of the most effective alternative testing methods included but not limited to Vitro-technology which involves the use of organs-on-chips which possess human cells grown in what can be termed as a state-of-the-art system that allows them to mimic the structure as well as functions of organs. The chips are therefore used to in place of animals in not only drug and toxicity testing but also in disease research (Hester, R. & Harrison, 53). Other advanced alternatives to animal testing include computer modeling; whereby, highly sophisticated computer models with the capability of simulating human biology are used and human-patient simulators which are designed to behave like human beings; these are effective as they have the capacity to mimic illnesses as well as injuries, thus enabling researchers and students to give appropriate medical interventions.

Moreover, to carry out cosmetic tests and experiments some of the alternative methods include application of three-dimensional human skins such as SkinEthic and EpiDerm to test skin corrosively and irritation. Additional alternatives include the computer-based Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) models and EpiSkin. Furthermore, other common and prevalently used alternatives are such as non-invasive imaging techniques, the stem cells inclusive of genetic testing methods, and micro-dosing (Animals in Science /Alternatives).

High Costs Associated with Animal Testing

Unlike the alternative methods, animal experimentation is extremely expensive, according to a petition filed to the National Institute of Health, US spends more than $ 16 billion on animal tax every year (Terrance). These funds are acquired at the tax payers’ expense and are subject to both massive waste and mismanagement and in most instances these research studies fail to generate useful results.

Arguments For and Counterarguments

Argument For

One of the major arguments supporting animals testing is that it enables the development and testing of various treatment as animal testing is considered as vital in not only the medical, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries but also in education among other fields. In addition, the proponents of animal testing also argue that animal testing provides a model for studying diseases such as atherosclerosis, Spina bifida which are commonly studied using rabbits while others such as diabetes and cancer are studied using animals such as dogs.

Counterargument- While it cannot be denied that animal testing has led to revolutionary advances particularly in the medical and pharmaceutical fields such as in the development of vaccines for diseases such as polio, it is however, not the best or rather most effective method. This is because modern day scientific advancements have led to the discovery and development of more effective alternatives to animals testing that are more reliable. Some of these alternative methods include, but not limited to, human-patient simulators, vitro-technology, and computer modeling. As compared to Animals testing these alternative methods are also less costly, environmentally friendly, less cruel and inhumane as well as less wasteful (Animals in Science/Alternatives).

Argument For

The proponents of animal testing also argue that the practice is not unethical as animals are less important as compared to human life and the fact that their rights are well protected by various laws and policies that regulate the use of animals in research experiments. Some of these laws include Animal Welfare Act that stipulates the standard of care animals are supposed to be afforded while in laboratories.

Counterargument-However, despite the existence of laws that protect animals in the laboratory, to a great extent, the regulatory bodies have failed to protect these animals. This is because animals are tested without basic care as well as relief from pain by being denied painkillers which greatly overrides the notion of scientific necessity. In addition, most legally prescribed tests involve drowning, burning, poisoning, starving, and mutilating of animals (Animal Testing and the Law).

Conclusively, given that animal testing is ineffective, cruel, inhumane and wasteful it is both unnecessary; hence, should be abolished. Moreover, the existence of more effective alternative methods to animal experimentation such as vitro technology which are cheaper, less cruel and inhumane, further supports stamping out animals testing in laboratories.


Works Cited

“Animal Testing and the Law”. Animal Legal Defense Fund, (n.d.). Retrieved From:

 “Animals in Science / Alternatives”. Neavs.Org., (n.d.).

Alternatives to Animal Testing. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, (n.d).

Accessed, (11th March, 2018).

Collins, F. “Experiments on Animals: Overview”. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, (2015). Accessed, (11th March, 2018).

Hester, R. & Harrison, R. “Alternatives to Animal Testing”. Royal Society of Chemistry, (2006). Pp. 123

PETA. “Animal Testing is bad science: Point/Counterpoint”. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, (2018). Accessed, (11th March, 2018).

Terrance, L. “Petition: Reduction of Animal Testing To Reduce Government Waste at Tax Payers' Expense”. Change.Org.

October 13, 2023
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Experiment Animal Testing

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