Author: Debate_Guru

Animal Testing Does More Good Than Harm

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CON (8 arguments)

Links to more CON research:

"Animals in scientific research"

This article is from the National Anti-Vivisection Society, an organization devoted to ending experimentation on animals. There are some tough scientific concepts in the article, but most students should be able to figure them out. If you have trouble understanding what parts of the article mean, ask a science teacher at your school. For information about drug testing, follow the link on the left side of the page.

"Animals used in experimentation FAQ"

This article is from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an organization that opposes animal testing. There is a lot of useful information on this website; however, you should be aware that some of the videos contained on the site may be disturbing.


The Plan

There are adequate alternatives to animal experimentation

Reasoning: There are plenty of alternatives to animal experimentation for achieving the desired end of aiding humans and fighting human suffering. These use of these alternatives should be more aggressively pursued, and a greater cost should be associated with animal experimentation relatively speaking. Alternative techniques include:

· Testing human cell cultures is an alternative to animal testing
· Using computer models
· Studying human volunteers
· Using epidemiological studies

1. Animals are independent creatures that don't exist to serve humans

The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap, and exploit in a variety of ways, have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it. What happens to them matters to them. By insisting upon and justifying the independent value and rights of other animals, it gives scientifically informed and morally impartial reasons for denying that these animals exist to serve us.


Tom Regan. "The Philosophy of Animal Rights". Retrieved May 6th, 2008 - "THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANIMAL RIGHTS

2. Humans are morally obligated to be the stewards of animals

Even if we apply the notion of "dominion", and if we deprive animals of rights, the principle of "dominion" should be applied in a way that requires humans to see themselves as "stewards" of animals. As outlined by Matthew Scully in Dominion, humans should apply the principle of mercy to animals, which requires that they inflict no pain or suffering on them. He writes, "We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality but...because they stand unequal and powerless before us.” Part of the significance of this argument is that even if we conclude animals should not have rights, we can still conclude (via the principle of mercy) that animals should not be subjected to pain, suffering, and testing.


Dominion by Matthew Scully

3. Animals deserve the same basic rights that humans enjoy

Animal testing generally occurs as a result of developing a cost-benefit model. Basically, if the benefit of the research (to humans) looks high, then it is seen as being worth the costs (to animals). For instance it is seen that if animal research is likely to save the lives of many humans that it is worthwhile. However, it can be argued that all sentient beings have the same rights, and that costs to animals are as important as costs to humans. There is no moral basis for elevating the interests of one species over another this is specieism.


James Herriot, English Veterinarian and Author - "I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs

4. Animal tests too infrequently lead to scientific advancements

While it is undeniable that scientific advancements have been made on account of animal experimentation, these advancements have been too rare to justify animal testing. The basic problem is that there is never any guarantee that any instance of animal testing will lead to any advancement in science. There is always a significant risk that an entire line of study that involves killing thousands of animals will lead to no substantive scientific benefits. This makes it highly inconsistent that the ethical trade-off is "worth it", if it ever is. This inconsistency means that a large portion of tested animals will not meet the ethical criteria of being "worth it", and could thus be called ethically wrong.

5. Humans must respect animal rights even if animals can't reciprocate

There are many situations in which an individual who has rights is unable to respect the rights of others. This is true of infants, young children, and mentally enfeebled and deranged human beings. In their case we do not say that it is perfectly all right to treat them disrespectfully because they do not honor our rights. On the contrary, we recognize that we have a duty to treat them with respect, even though they have no duty to treat us in the same way.


Tom Regan, an American animal right philosopher.

6. Animal testing wrongly involves sentient, human-like creatures

Though we perform testing on animals, and even eat the ones with less fur, we are not cannibals; we do not torture our own. Or do we? A cow has approximately 90 percent of its genes in common with humans. Those genes code for the same proteins, the same nerve tissue, the same basic emotions and pain, that humans can feel. Monkeys have 97 percent of their genes in common with humans, and share even more striking physical, mental and emotional similarities."

7. That animals harm/kill each other does not justify the same by humans

Michael Pollan - "My first line of defense was obvious. Animals kill one another all the time. Why treat animals more ethically than they treat one another? (Ben Franklin tried this one long before me: during a fishing trip, he wondered, 'If you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you.' He admits, however, that the rationale didn't occur to him until the fish were in the frying pan, smelling 'admirably well.' The advantage of being a 'reasonable creature,' Franklin remarks, is that you can find a reason for whatever you want to do.) To the 'they do it, too' defense, the animal rightist has a devastating reply: do you really want to base your morality on the natural order? Murder and rape are natural, too. Besides, humans don't need to kill other creatures in order to survive; animals do.


Michael Pollan. "An Animal's Place". The New York Times Magazine. November 10, 2002

8. Human and animal differences do not justify specism/discrimination

But even assuming that animals are so very different from us, where does this concept of difference justifying mistreatment come from? Is it supported in the modern ethics of developed countries? It certainly was not the principle justifying our war against Nazism, the better part of a century ago, let alone its more subtle ethical variant of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. A central concept of Civil Rights is to treat different persons as well or better (e.g. affirmative action) than oneself - In short, to ascend to selflessness, cherishing diversity."