Throughout history, animal experimentation has played an important role in leading to new discoveries and human benefit. However, what many people tend to forget are the great numbers of animal subjects that have suffered serious harm during the process of experimentation. Many people are believed to be ignorant or misunderstand the nature of the lives that animals actually live, and are unable to understand the actual laboratory procedures and techniques. Other than the philosophical questions that arise, ethical (moral) questions are the main reason why many animal right activists want it banned in every country. Activists feel that to this day, there should be no good reason why any living thing should be subjected to this cruel punishment and unwanted torture just for serving another being’s needs.
Although animal experimentation has been around for centuries, the ethical revival of realization on the moral status of animals began in the 1970’s. This problem was a few among many that had been quietly hidden for years until the 1970’s.
Such movements like gaining rights for the oppressed, expressions of antiwar opinions in the U.S.A, and the women’s liberation movement, accompanied the movement for the ending animal experimentation. The animal rights movement has grown more and more complicated through its use of strategy and has successfully brought the issue of laboratory research to the eyes of the public. All forms of media, magazines, radio, television, newspapers, have increased their exposure of animal right protests over the last several years while giving room for groups to produce their own publications. In these publications, activists constantly make the analogy between the work of abolitionists before the emancipation and the efforts of animal right activists. This analogy of racism and “speciesism” was brought about by a philosopher named Richard Ryder in 1985 and brings up the issue of research with animal subjects to be emotionally unpredictable for many people. (Sperling Susan – Applied Ethics in Animal Research Introduction pgs 4-6)
One of the biggest problems and the main reason why animal experimentation should be banned is the large percentage of birth defects that occur. The difference is that humans may also a longer period of fetal development and be more sensitive to birth defects agents than other species. One example of another problem with animal experimentation are that animals can be given nicotine directly as opposed to being exposed to it as a human would for years. Another would be that stress caused by animal handling, whether it be because of lack food or water, may have adverse effects on pregnancy or its ability to mate with the opposite sex. Also these tests are too insensitive and tend to disregard learning or behavioral problems. Our plain existence can influence the behavior of animals and disturb activities such as feeding, care- giving, and mating conduct. (Cognitive and deep ethnology and the great ape project- page 82-86)
There have even been laws that have been recently erected to protect the existence and safety of these animal “victims”. One law known as Kanjorski’s Law states that any substance (that is tested on an animal) that can harm a fetal embryo in development, can call the validity of the tests into question. Several factors can determine the effects on the results based on the different kind of species that are used during experimentation. The genetic difference between species can affect its ability to defend itself or a difference in the placenta may also affect the animal tests. (Birth Defect Research-Why Animal Experiments Are Not the Answer)
In 1986, a German law was passed and was known as the Animal Protection Act. This act forbade experimentation of tobacco products, washing powders, cosmetics, and the testing of weapons on animals. Soon after this law was passed in Germany, many countries started to adopt the law along with new laws such as the ban on LD50 test and the Draize eye irritancy test. Ld50 is a lethal dose that painfully kills nearly 50 percent of the animals that it is injected into, and the Draize test which can cause blindness in rabbits. Places such as the UK define each limit as to having a limit that should not be succeeded, and if done so would be a criminal offense. Every decade, animal experimentation could be looked at in a different light and activists will always be there to defend animal rights. (Orleans, Barbara F. Ethical Themes Governing Animal Experiments pg 140-142)
From the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, teens from eleven to seventeen tried to impress judges of science- fair competitions with cruel live animal experiments. This is just one example of how animal experimentation exists everywhere when supervision is missing. It is also about how laws are not enforced to stop such heinous acts of abuse. The usual projects that the students did were, starving animals to death, blinding the animals, mammalian surgery, and the injection of lethal substances. Although, improvements have been made to convince schools to restrict animal testing.
Federal laws do not exist. Thus there are no provisions in this area that ban dissection or mistreatment, and the National Association of Biology Teachers are not responsible. However, the amendment made in 1985 to the Animal Welfare Act required a group committee to review how the uses of animals were to be used in the some of the college courses at some but not all.
Despite the fact that rats, mice and birds are excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, activist reform groups have just started their mission and are nowhere near the end. (Orleans, Barbara F. Ethnical Themes Governing Animal Experiments) We should make every effort to study separate animals and to learn more about their abilities to feel their torture, psychologically and physically to understand their true feelings. Hopefully in the future, we will no longer have to depend on animals to give us results on safe products. We could also be the ones chained up and experimented on by a higher being in the near future.