Is Testing on Animals for Medical Purposes Ethical?

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Today, almost all medical institutions across the world use non-human animals when conducting various experimental researches as test subjects. Various animals, such as mice and rats, have constantly been used in scientific testing since they have genetic and physiological characteristics similar to that of humans. The scientists gain knowledge about diseases that adversely affect humans and further test for potential treatment of the same. Although animal experimentation has been very helpful, particularly, for furthering medical science, the use of animals for experimental testing is completely unethical since embarking on such procedures or behaviors will be treating the animals merely as tools for furthering knowledge and devaluing their life. In this regard, animal should be granted as much right as humans and be allowed to live their lives free from pain and suffering since every life is sacred before the presence of the Supreme Being. There is no any argument that can overrule the fact that in religion and ethics, the sanctity of life is a principle that should be practiced. All animal life is holy and worthy despite its species. In this regard, taking the life of animals like rats may seem to be a norm, but it is unethical as the sanctity of their lives is not respected. Thus, testing on animals, whether for medical purpose or not, is completely unethical and should be abolished across all the institutions that practice this behavior.

Animals possess moral status and should be respected at all times. In this regard, it is wrong to hurt or abuse other animals in the excuse of furthering research. Most people have been taking a one-sided view on the issue of conducting test experiments on animals by claiming that maintaining human standards of dignity should be the priority rather than "respecting" any innate rights of the animals (Paul 10). However, this view is totally unaccepted, given by the fact that animals have their rights too and their moral status should be respected. However, this point does not mean that animals should be treated in the same way as humans but should be afforded the same level of respectful treatment. In this regard, people should not be granted permission to subject innocent animals to torture in a bid of achieving their goals and objectives while ignoring the pain that they go through during the trials. When animals are tortured, they are deprived their capacity to enjoy life; if animals can enjoy life, then they can experience pain too. In addition, when animals are regarded as "fewer beings", they are subjected to a form of prejudice referred to as "speciesism" (Brain 384; Hurst 18). The fact that most people consider their species as being more relevant than those of other animals is because they belong to that category. Regarding animals as mere objects for human satisfaction and gain is not right given by the fact that animals too have an interest in living just as humans do (Paul 8). Moreover, animals also have an interest in living and, to some extent, they also avoid being in a state of discomfort or pain as exhibited by dogs and cats, which most people keep as pets. On a broader perspective, this approach can be regarded as being morally condemnable since being a human being does not give one grounds for declaring the other species to be of lower moral status.

Conducting tests on animals is totally unaccepted due to the fact that most of its benefits have not yet been proven. A few decades ago, a lot of animals such as dogs and monkeys underwent severe suffering in the quest for understanding the psychological function of the human brain (Bailey and Pereira 1). However, the tests were coupled with a lot of errors with few or no breakthrough on the issue. In certain cases, the scientists conduct experiments on animals in a bid of achieving results that are not relevant to humans. According to Bracken (120), the use of animals as a predictor of human experience is not ideal as humans' reactions to exposure is different from that of animals. In this regard, not only conducting the researches on animals is morally wrong, but also it is not a justified procedure.

The activists that are not in agreement with the use of animals for laboratory testing argue that when animals are subjected to the procedures they undergo a lot of physical and psychological suffering and, thus, should be stopped. In this regard, if animals can go through the same pain and aggressions as humans do; this implies that when they are subjected to experimental testing such as dissection, they are deeply hurt and suffer. Inflicting intentional harm and suffering to animals whether for medical research purpose or other needs is morally wrong and unethical. Although the psychological aspect of animals is not the same as that of humans, when animals experience comfort and some of the life pleasures, they generally appear happy (Hurst 17). Therefore, this fact suggests that the opposite is true: when animals are subjected to suffering and pain, they are hurt both psychologically and physically. Moreover, most of the studies conducted on animals are trivial or duplicates an already existing work. Thus, in most of the researches being done on animals, it is just the "confirmation" of concept that is already in the public domain. Moreover, the studies and experiments conducted on animals are often not relevant to man (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). In this regard, despite the pain and suffering that animals go through in the hands of the scientists, they do not serve the greater purpose of humanity, but are rather mischievous and their objectives are most of the time deviated from the actual course (Brain 384).

Although proponents of animal rights and protection agree that medical advancement and testing has brought forth many benefits to the field, they argue that medical researchers have seized the opportunity, particularly after the government showed support for their action to conduct unnecessarily experiments on animals. Most of the studies conducted on animals both small and big are unjustified scientifically. The scientists have been conducting their researches behind closed doors with the public, particularly the activists prevented from knowing what is done on these animals (Morrison 19; Weatherall and Munn 592; Cambridge 815).

Although most supporters of the use of animals for experimentations argue that their use is relevant due to the fact that they predict a lot of diseases that could affect humans, this argument can be regarded as unrealistic since the chemical composition of a human body is not exactly the same as that of a rodent.

Hence, the prediction may serve only about ten percent of the total human reaction to particular diseases or drugs. In a bid of mimicking particular human diseases such as HIV and other types of cancer, the scientists artificially induce the signs of such diseases in animals in a laboratory. However, human body and reaction is so complex and is affected by a wide range of variables such as genetics, deep-rooted psychological issues, personal experiences, and socio-economic factors. Despite millions of experiments done on animals on various diseases such as HIV and cancer, there has never been an effective cure for the same despite the test results on animals showing promising outcomes (Hurst 18). In this regard, the use of animals for testing the possible reaction in humans is an ineffective method and thus a better and enhanced approached should be employed rather than torturing innocent animals. The world has undergone scientific evolution for the past few decades, as well as the medical field.

In this regard, scientists have been presented with alternative methods of testing various diseases and chemical reactions in humans. The new methods can solely replace the need for animals during scientific experiments, which in return will save a lot of animals that have been going through suffering and pain on the hands of researchers. For instance, scientists can now safely use the in vitro testing to conduct various studies such as the cell structures. Moreover, the use of in vitro testing produces more relevant results than animal testing due to the fact that in this method, human cells are used. In places where a direct reaction is needed for analysis, scientists can use the micro-dosing approach where a very small dose is administered to volunteers, whose blood sample is then screened for further development. In addition, in places where scientists use animal skins to test the chemical reaction of a particular product on the human skin, researchers can now safely and effectively use commercially available products such as ThinCert and EpiDerm, which are made from sheets of human skin cells to test their products before releasing them to the public for use. Other alternative scientific methods available for testing in place of animals are the use of microfluidic chips. In this method, the computerized chips are lined with human cells and then using a supercomputer, recreate the functions of human organs in their advanced stages of development. In addition, there are various computer models that can virtually reconstruct the molecular structures of human cells and further accurately predict the toxicity of particular substances without the use of invasive experiments on animals. Also, the researchers can use other forms of microscopic organisms such as bacteria to predict the reaction of certain drugs to particular diseases (Folescu 268).


In a concluding remark, despite the advancement in technology and the availability of alternative methods of testing certain reactions of drugs and diseases on humans, researchers across the world continue subjecting animals on invasive procedures that harm them physically and psychologically. The use of animals for testing inflicts pain on them with most of the drugs that pass the test on them proving to be unnecessarily unsafe for human consumption. Thus, although scientists claim their actions are justified, the animals' tests they obtain are most of the time irrelevant due to the fact that human body is so complex to be directly compared to that of animals like mice. Hence, instead of subjecting most animals to torture and suffering, the scientists can use the modern alternative methods that are more relevant and accurate than animals. Animals experience pain and pleasure, which implies that they are also harmed and suffer from the pain inflicted on them. Thus, testing on animals whether for medical purpose or not is completely unethical and should be abolished across all the institutions that practice this behavior.

Works Cited

Bailey Jarrod, and Shiranee Pereira. “Advances in Neuroscience Imply That Harmful Experiments in Dogs are Unethical.” Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–6. DOI:

Bracken, Michael B. “Why Animal Studies Are Often Poor Predictors of Human Reactions to Exposure.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 102, no. 3, 2009, pp. 120–122.

Brain, Paul F. “The Use of Animals in Aggression Research.” Aggressive Behavior, vol. 7, no. 4, 1981, pp. 383-387. DOI:<383::AID-AB2480070409>3.0.CO;2-0

Cambridge, Both. “Animal Research Is a Source of Human Compassion, Not Shame.” Lancet. vol. 364, no. 9437, 2004, pp. 815–816. DOI:

Folescu, Roxana, et al. “Animal Experimental Studies: Controversies, Alternatives and Perspectives.” Revista De Cercetare Si Interventie Sociala, vol. 43, 2013, pp. 266-273. Accessed 7 Apr. 2018.

Hurst, Samia A., and Alex Mauron. "Articulating the Balance of Interests between Humans and Other Animals." American Journal of Bioethics, vol. 9, no. 5, 2009, pp. 17-19. DOI:

Morrison, Adrian R. "Making Choices in the Laboratory." Society, vol. 39, no. 6, 2002, pp. 16-23. EBSCOhost, 0- Accessed 7 Apr. 2018.

“Oxford Lab Gets Greater Protection.” Biologist, vol. 53, no. 3, June 2006, p. 121. EBSCOhost, Accessed 7 Apr. 2018.

Paul, Ellen Frankel. "Why Animal Experimentation Matters." Society, vol. 39, no. 6, 2002, pp. 7-15. EBSCOhost, Accessed 7 Apr. 2018.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Problems Associated with Animal Experimentation.”,

n.d., Accessed 7 Apr. 2018.

Weatherall, D, and H Munn. "Animal Research: The Debate Continues." Journal of Internal Medicine, vol. 262, no. 6, Dec. 2007, pp. 591-592. DOI:

August 21, 2023




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