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Pros and Cons of Animal Research, Essay Example

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Words: 633

Essay

The Animal Model and Human Benefits

In the world of scientific research few topics can inspire debate like the use of animals for experimental purposes (Hobson-West, 2010). There are passionate proponents of both sides of the dispute that have outlined the major themes that sustain the issue. For example, the concept raises several questions about important factors like cruelty and potential benefits for both humans and animals. Many types of animals from small to large are subjected to tests on a daily basis, demonstrating that the topic applies to creatures throughout the animal kingdom. Since humans are part of this group, whether or not we like to acknowledge it, animal testing has been fundamentally supported by the idea that testing on animals provides results that are applicable to humans. As this theory has come to be supported by evidence, it represents a primary pro of animal research.

Benefits for Animals

Another important benefit of animal research is the potential for findings to be beneficial to both animals and humans. While the application of animal models to human health considerations is often touted as a critical source of advancement, it is also apparent that these findings could be used to help other animals. This pro is perhaps the most obvious of all that could be argued, but there is a disparity between the amount of animal research dedicated to ease human suffering and that conducted with animal health as the focus. Still, it is undeniable that research using animals has the potential to be directly beneficial to a variety of creatures. The failure of application is not due to a problem with the practice itself, but may instead represent a consequence of the species-centric nature of humans.

Cons

Harm to Animals

The biggest concern for most critics of animal use in research is the suffering experienced by the participants. The views on this unfortunate part of the approach range from spiteful coldness, to ignorance, to extreme empathy that may even reach the point of delusion. It is impossible to argue that animals do not experience discomfort in experiments, since one of the main roles for them is in pain research (Mogil, Davis, & Derbyshire, 2010). Proponents of this practice point out that if we did not use animals in research then either humans would have to suffer in their place, or advancements will be stunted by the inability to utilize animal life experimentally. While this may be true, it does not allow for the neglect of animal rights. Many measures are taken to eliminate or reduce animal suffering in lab situations, but the mere act of being bred or held captive in such an environment may be a source of both physical and psychological significant discomfort.

Death

While the harm inflicted upon animals is a major concern of experimental ethics, the commonality of animal death is a disadvantage that deserves separate considerations. Humans are generally good at recognizing value of life, but this perception is often limited to survival within the species. To kill other people for scientific benefit, even to save many other human lives, is a proposal that is met with near universal repulsion throughout the industry. Yet, the number of animals that are “terminated” or “expire” on a daily basis due to scientific ambition is staggering (Levy, 2012). Opponents of animal research argue that taking a life of any kind should be considered as an equally distressing ethical dilemma. Accordingly, loss of life may be the most salient con of animal-based scientific research.

References

Hobson-West, P. (2010). The role of ‘public opinion’ in the UK animal research debate. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(1), 46-49.

Levy, N. (2012). The use of animal as models: ethical considerations. International Journal of Stroke, 7(5), 440-442

Mogil, J. S., Davis, K. D., & Derbyshire, S. W. (2010). The necessity of animal models in pain research. Pain, 151(1), 12-17.

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