Animals have been used for centuries to test new medicines, medical procedures, and commercial products prior to their use on people. Many argue that testing products on other living organisms is the best way to ascertain their effects on humans, as it provides insight to unforeseen problems in the actual complexity of body systems. However, others argue that there are viable testing alternatives that should be used, because testing may force innocent animals to undergo unnecessary physical and psychological distress.
— Aya Abitbul, Nia Creator
As the Nia indicates, all Nobel Prizes in biological breakthroughs in the past thirty years relied on animal testing; abandoning this method is simply a luxury that the medical community cannot afford. Despite what activists want to believe, man-made "organs-on-chips" cannot possibly simulate the complex functioning of real organs accurately.
Furthermore, the pressure to rely on alternatives because animal testing is "too inaccurate" seems unfounded. If one chooses to believe in the theory of evolution, which supports the notion that a rabbit's heart, liver, or kidney functions basically the same as a human's (or close enough for medical research purposes), as the nia indicates, then one must choose to accept the simple truth that animal testing is crucial for scientific advancement.
Despite the opponents to animal testing arguing that it is inhumane, inaccurate and unnecessary, the alternatives presented by this party do not test on live cells but rather a simulation. The assays and such used are not the same as using animals, which have consistently resulted in major scientific breakthroughs.
The similarities between animals and humans allow for better results for humans; however, it can also positively impact animals that suffer from similar diseases.
This is a necessary process to benefit the medical field which is yet to develop a formidable alternative.
This is a struggle between pragmatism and morality if I ever saw one!
I think pretty much everyone is against needless testing and testing that tortures animals. The question is whether either of those actually happens.
It seems plausible, and we've found a little evidence to support this: much but not all research is both necessary and does not cause much suffering to animals. It's in service of medical breakthroughs where there are not viable alternatives, and the animals are cared for with pain management and anesthesia.
What I think concerns everyone is when it isn't necessary, and it seem plausible that not all research requires animals. For that, clearer guidelines on when it makes more sense, morally, to let humans be their own test subjects, and when animals should be the subjects.
We've found evidence on both sides of the alternatives argument (as well as every other question we've looked at!). I think there are much better alternatives than there used to be, and I think more alternatives need to be developed. But I am not surprised by the thought that in a complicated system like an animal body, nothing is as good as the real deal. Now, oftentimes, that's an actual human, but sometimes, that may be an animal first. The best efforts should be made in other forms of testing first to diminish the most catastrophic consequences of those tests though.
I don't think there's ever a good enough cause to torture animals. But if the right anti-suffering accommodations are made, and it's for important work (e.g. not cosmetics), under the right circumstances that alternatives have been exhausted or eliminated, I think there's enough of an argument that it's worth doing.
There is no denying the significant impact that animal testing has had upon modern medicine. That being said, the above research makes it apparent that using animals against their will in the name of science is not only cruel but seemingly unnecessary. The development of “organs-on-chips” provide a cruelty-free alternative to animal testing. This paired with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s revelation regarding animal subject’s personal discomfort lead me to the conclusion that animal testing should come to an end.
I'd like to borrow Anoushka's opener here: This one's a no brainer. Why continue to do something cruel and inhumane when other more progressive, accurate, tried-and-true methods are available?
Nay-sayers will be quick to hide behind the fact that animal testing has yielded successful scientific advances in the past, but it's 2015. We have other options. Better options, in fact. Options that don't come at the expense of other living beings. Those are clearly the optimal choices.
This one's a no brainer. Animal testing is absolutely cruel and unnecessary. Animals have been tortured and held captive in labs their whole lives. The research shows that there are now nearly 50 alternatives to animal testing, one of them being human focus groups, which is probably more accurate anyway, since the medicines/commercial products that are currently tested on animals are being administered to people in the end.
In an era where we are becoming more and more progressive, why are we still resorting to animal testing when there are so many more viable alternatives available?
While we cannot deny the enormous impact animal testing has had on scientific advancement, it's time for a change. The technology that can replace this barbaric practice is nearly here, and it's time to focus on it. Animal testing has been shown to be inaccurate. Even the director of the NIH has stated that scientists have over-relied on the method. We need to shift our focus from this outdated method to working on perfecting the technologies of the future.