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Is Animal Testing Humane?

Updated on August 14, 2012

Animal Testing Is Cruel

Chimpanzees are the closest living nonhuman relatives to humans. Their genetic make up is approximately ninety-nine percent the same as ours. For this reason, they have been used extensively to study infectious diseases and other medical conditions, as well as space travel (Judson 48). Since chimpanzees are very similar to humans, they are useful animals for experimentation. The only reasons scientists should decrease the numbers of animals used in experimenting is because animals are expensive to keep, and can also suffer physical and mental pains.

In order to conduct scientific research using animals a great deal of money is needed to take care of the animals. Animals need to be fed and housed in order for them to be used in experiments. Chimps, for example, are very strong and are costly, so most researchers prefer to use smaller animals such as dogs, cats, mice, and rats (Munroe). The bigger and stronger the animal, the more researchers have to spend in order to keep control of the animals. On the other hand, animals such as rats and mice are less expensive because they only require a cage instead of a full room. A Humane Society brief, distributed by Towns office, says that the federal government spends an estimated twenty-five million dollars a year caring for five hundred chimps it owns (Munroe). This is very unprecedented and very unnecessary to test on so many animals, much less to spend so much money on them. According to the Humane Society, about one-thousand chimpanzees are kept at research centers (Munroe). Whenever a lot of animals are kept in one specific center, the amount of money needed to take care of the animals will be critical. Many things have been done to fix the problem. For example, the scientific community and governments around the world are making progress in their efforts to develop alternative methods to animal testing (Judson 119). If we are able to invent new ways or things for testing without the use of animals, it would prevent the expense of taking care of the animals. On behalf of all the progresses made by the scientific community and governments, they were able to invent new technologies such as software models that mimic the human body and stem cells extracted from embryos or grown from skin cells (Munroe). In the future it is assumed, by many people, that there will be a lot of improvement of the alternative methods for experimenting with animals. Because of all the tests that are done on these innocent animals, some of them turn out to have mental problems.

With the intention of testing new technologies and there capabilities, animals are placed in inhumane conditions that causes mental problems. Just imagine the profound loneliness of deep space travel, this type of travel brings all the problems solitary caging has on highly social primates (Romm). Animals that are used in space travel experiments has to encounter loneliness, and also suffer all the effects of not being able to move around freely and not having a reason to use their brain to think like they used to. Pain and fear trigger complex hormonal and neurological processes which can alter physiological processes which can alter physiologic response and invalidate test results (Research). When animals are distressed, their entire body functions does not function as they normally do in relaxed situation, forcing the experiment to be inaccurate. Not only do most of the experiments hurt the animals mentally, they also hurt them physically.

One of the main reason scientists should decrease the amount of animals being tested is that most of the experiments on animals involve physical pain. Roger Fouts, a cofounder of CCCC and a psychology professor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, became an animal welfare advocate after witnessing what he considered inhumane treatment of chimpanzees and monkeys in certain laboratory facilities in the 1980’s (Judson 44). Most of the chimpanzees are kept in small unsanitary spaces; many of them have a lot of different forms of diseases that occurred prior to the experiments conducted on the chimpanzees. In Defence of Animals (IDA), an animal rights organization based in Mill Valley, California, began a campaign against the Coulston Foundation in 1993 (Judson 44). The Coulston Foundation was a research facility that was caught abusing the animals. Roscoe Bartlett, a former biological scientist, said he was appalled by a secretly photographed documentary about the treatment of chimpanzees and the conditions under which they’re held (Munroe). Even though there are a lot of problems with the animal testing systems, people will fight for it.

In order to keep the people from being test subjects, scientists have to use the animals for experimentations. Consumers demand that the products they depend upon are safe if used correctly, so the only way to guarantee these protections is through knowledge gained from animal testing (Research). The best way to fix this problem is through the inventions of technologies to be used as alternatives. The problem that the scientists had was that they believed that no matter how useful the alternative methods have proven to be, each has limitations (Research). The belief may be true, but the best thing to be is to develop another method that can deal with the problem the other method wasn’t able to solve.

So you can see that although animal testing prevents the use of human in dangerous experiments, I believe that scientists should decrease the amount of animals being tested for two main reasons. First of all, animals used in experiments are pricey to maintain. And the last main reason is that animals undergo pain in their mind and experience bodily pain. According to an employee of a nursing home, “animals are useful to elders and cheerful to children (Morrison).” Regardless of the fact that the closest human relatives to this day are Chimpanzees, animal testing is cruel when fanatically done and should be reduced by law to protect the sane and blameless animals.

Works Cited

Judson, Karen. Animal Testing. Tarrytown, NY: Cavendish, Marshall, 2006.

Morrison, Donna. Personal Interview. 26 February 2011.

Munroe, Neil. “Animal Testing Battle Focuses Anew On Apes.” National Journal (2009).

Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 4 Feb. 2011.

Research, PIR Partners. “Animal Experimentation Is Necessary To Ensure Product

Safety.” Animal Experimentation. Ed. Cindy Mur. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,

2009. At Issue. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.

Romm, Tony. “NASA’s monkey radiation experiment for Mars faces animal-cruelty

complaints.” Hill 9 Mar. 2010: 16. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 8

Feb. 2011.


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