I’m an animal lover. My cat sleeps on my bed almost every night with me, and by no means do I think that animals don’t have feelings or don’t deserve appropriate rights. Regardless of this, I think that animal testing is okay for medical and research reasons.
Simply put, the loss of animal life is justified by the benefits to humans. Without animal testing, far more human test subjects would be used by necessity, and far more humans would die. The loss of any innocent life, animal or human, is something to mourn. But what is worse, the death of a mouse or of a person? A person does have a more valuable life; its thoughts, emotions, and relationships exceed those of animals in complexity, as well as its ability to contribute to its surroundings.
Animal testing allows drugs to be created that could never reach the market safely otherwise. Drugs need to be tested, and the large numbers of drugs that are found to be ineffective or unsafe in animal trials prevent even more death. Something that could benefits millions of people and something that could kill millions can be indistinguishable without testing. But knowing the difference helps us save lives and improve our medical understanding.
Of course, it’s not 100% accurate. Sometimes animals react differently to drugs than humans do. While this is a downside that researchers have to compensate for, animal testing is still the most effective and accurate method we have. So while we struggle to find alternate methods of drug testing, and we very well should, we still have to use what we have for now.
However, animal testing is not always justified. When animals are tested for cosmetics or perfumes that are not for medical uses, we are using them for our own luxury and decadence instead of health. There is a large difference between saving a life and trying to pretty up a face.
And of course, sometimes animal testing goes far beyond useful to inhumane. Under no circumstances should this be tolerated. If animal testing is currently unavoidable, we have to try to be the least invasive, least harmful, and use the very smallest amount of animals that we can. Scientists that do not try to provide the best life to dying test animals should be treated just as harshly any other animal abuser.
Let’s hope that the technology to stop reliance on animal testing comes soon, but until then, let’s be grateful to the animals that died for our medicine.