25 May

Arguments against Animal Testing

Did you know that rats, the most commonly used animal in testing does not have a gall bladder? Open up any animal and you will find intricate and major physiological differences with man. And yet, for ages, animals have been used to test drugs meant for human beings, often with disastrous results. A few cases will be illustrated here to strengthen the arguments against animal testing.

It is reported by the Food and Drug Administration that almost 92% of drugs that have passed muster on animals and mandatory tests have failed on human beings. Take the case of drugs for cancer. Research on this disease has successfully led to production of drugs that have cured cancer for decades – on mice only. A drug for cancer for human beings is yet to be found. In any case, only about 30% of substances that causes cancer in humans do so in animals. Hence, testing of drugs for cancer on animals has not only been a waste if valuable research time and expenses, it has also caused untold suffering to animals.

A drug for arthritis, Vioxx has been estimated to have directly been the cause of 320,000 heart attack and strokes and 140,000 deaths worldwide. But it was found safe when tested on monkeys and 5 other animal species. Clinical trials of Hepatitis B drug Fialudrine killed five people during trials after it was found safe on animals. Human volunteers testing a drug for a monoclonal antibody in 2006 suffered severe allergic reactions and their condition had turned critical. On the other hand, testing of the drug at a 500 times dose on monkeys failed to show any side effects.

Given all these examples, and there are hundreds more, drug testing on animals is a totally futile and a bad in science scenario. The common thing here is that all these substances have been administered internally, either orally or through injections. But other than that, there are other aspects too. Skin care is one of them. Eyeliners, soaps, beauty products and other food ingredients are tested on animals to ensure safety of use before being recommended on human beings.

Take the case of using IPL hair removal machine and equipment. The basic principles of laser treatments have for long been tested on animals and found to be safe. But here too, cruelty to animals could have been avoided. Does the world really need a product or machine or device that causes untold harm and brutality on animals?

The strongest case against animal testing can be made based on the premise that animals are different from humans both genetically and physiologically. Hence any studies on animals have more of a chance of failing when tried on human beings. These pointers will bear this out.

  • Food items such as raisins, chocolates, avocados, grapes are much preferred items for humans but can be dangerously toxic on dogs.
  • Specific diseases that are common to human do not exist in the animal kingdom. Some of them are certain types of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia as well as HIV and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Cats, mice and rats are toxic to the common drug Aspirin which would not be in drug stores had it first been tested on animals.
  • Only 50% of DNA that regulates genes in mice matches that of human DNA. This was arrived at after analyzing almost 100 mouse cell types. Hence, testing drugs on animals is not the wise thing to do to get accurate results of drug usefulness or their side effects.

What has made animal testing irrelevant in today’s world is the invention of effective and humane research methods. This includes human-based micro-dosing, in vitro technology, human-patient simulators, and sophisticated computer modelling. Most importantly, all these tests are faster and cheaper than animal testing.