>Animal Testing

>Matt: The testing of drugs on animals is important for drug development. But some animals like lab rats and mice are different from humans and may therefore respond to drugs differently. The response of a rat to a newly developed drug might be good but on a human it might do nothing. Should more human tests be done?


  • >The idea that animals can feel pain has been proven through clinical tests. Psychologist B.F. Skinner taught animals to fear their food supply through electric shocks. We know therefore that many animal tests result in emotional and physical distress and/or pain.What about the other end of the emotional spectrum? Those in favour of animal testing can be so for two reasons:A) Theoretically, more humans will benefit than animals suffer.B) Most people tend to hold that people are superior to animals. We are more intelligent, and we hold no proof that animals are able to feel the range and depth of emotions that we do. People who argue this say that we shouldn't anthropormorphize (attribute human traits to animals). We can see dogs wagging their tails or cubs playing, but we hold no proof that this means they feel happiness.The first point is a valid one. But the second seems more like an excuse. It is much more likely that animals feel happiness, based on what we can see, than the possibility that they do not. What's more, we know that animals feel positive emotions, even if they cannot be defined as happiness. Indeed, the part of the brain corresponding to pleasure was actually first discovered on a rat. If you were designing a new species, would you design them so that they felt only negative or neutral states of emotion? Where would the motivation to live or reproduce be?The debate comes down to this: do the benefits to people outweigh the severe disadvantages to animals both in maximising negative emotions and in removing positive ones? This is a difficult question, and one which depends on a person's point of view, as well as the individual test being performed.But because of the difficulty in reaching a definite answer; because we can only guess how much we are making these animals suffer; because the animal has no choice as a human would expect; and also because results from animals may not apply to humans, I believe we should ban all animal testing where we know animals suffer emotionally or physically. This would allow some animal testing to continue but also look after their welfare. Would it ask for more human testing? Perhaps a little. But in reality when a drug is proved to cure a rat of cancer, the subsequent use of the drug on humans is still a test. What about dangerous tests? Would it hold back science and drug development? On the contrary, it would encourage investment into new areas where we would see tests performed on synthetic membranes and cell cultures taken from animals. We would see improved computer models, new scanning techniques to enable us to investigate human diseases on humans and greater use of statistics to remove the reliance on animal testing.

  • >In Response to the original Question, should more human testing be done? i would answer yes. And i know the perfect candidates – those on death row and paedophiles. Now im not a fan of death row in its self, i dont believe that it is fair (in some cases) that the offenders get a nice quick, fairly painless death. As for the others, i would like to see them rot in hell, but seen as im not a complete believer in heaven and hell, being used as human guinea pigs could at least give someone else hope. Obviously this would need to be stricktly regulated, cant have cruel tests being done for the sake of running tests. As long as meaningful tests are run i cant see many objections… except pesky human rights weirdos who fight for sky tv in prisons.

  • >Lol. I think I agree. Only problem is we don't have death row in the UK. Maybe you want a new question about whether we should have it?

  • >I know, its a shame we dont in some cases. But this could be one serious potential solution. Criminals could be placed on a scale depending on the offence, petty theft results in a few small skin tests. Rapists and murderers can have experimental surgery on external organs…

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