By using animal test, more than 20 kinds of new drugs are introduced to the market every year in USA. If we don’t use animal test, volunteers would be the only way to test drugs. However, the number of volunteers is limited, because it is very difficult to convince people to join drug test since people’s lives can be endangered. Thus, the test would be restricted because of the limited number of volunteers. What’s more, testing animals have done much contribution to the development of physiology and pathology.
By using testing animals, people have understood more about human body and improved the new technology in medicine. For example, people have established the theories of circulation and digestion system, found the factors contribute to cancer and improved the technology of organ transplantation by using animal test. It is hard to imagine how medical science would be like without animal test. Some people think that animal test can be fully replaced by other methods. However, the fact is that animal test is still irreplaceable in medical science today because that we have not fully understand our body.
Although we have saved many animals by using substitution such as cells test, animal test cannot be fully replaced by a lump of cells or organ, because an animal’s body is much more complicated than cells. For example, the function of a drug is usually influenced by the circulation and digestion systems and many factors we have not fully understand. When chemical reactions happen between drugs and enzyme in the body, the components of drugs can be changed into other substances, making it more difficult to learn the effects of the drugs by the experiments outside the body.
If we dispose animal test, the introduction of new drugs would be slow down, and with less certainty. Another thought is that animal test is the only choice in some cases. For instance, the transplantation of organs such as liver and kidney should be first tested on animal, so that the rules and methods of transplantation can be established and the surgery can be safe to human. Without animal test, the transplantation of organs can be very risky and the cost might be the lives of patients. So, the animal test is still inevitable in many cases in the recent future.
Another thing is that it is more important to reduce human suffering than to prevent animal suffering. It is obvious that every individual or species has the instinct to protect itself or its own species. So, if we have to do the choice from the benefits of human and that of animal, the answer is clear. When new drugs and technology are needed, it is more humane for us to do animal test to accelerate the invention of the new drug instead of discuss the necessity of animal test. Some people may disagree because they think every species in the planet should share the equal rights to live.
However, if they have ever eaten meat from animal, used insecticide to kill bugs, and taken antibiotic to deal with bacterium, it is ridiculous for them to argue about equality. If we forbid animal test because of the consideration of animal rights, we may feel regret after the tragedy like the story of Thalidomide happens again. Some people encourage more volunteers to take part in the test, however, they may not consider the danger that the volunteers may confront. Which is sadder, the death of animal or the death of volunteers?
So, it may be cruel to use animal to test new drugs, but it will be crueler to use drug on human without doing animal test. However, it’s wrongful to use animal test arbitrarily, so, we need establish rigid disciplines to control animal test. That is to say, we should use animal test only when we really need it. More specific, the number of animals used in the test, the purpose of the test, the necessity and rationality of the test must be concerned before the animal test is done. For example, we should avoid the repetition of animal test, which means we should get enough information before we do the experiments.
If the same or similar test has been done by others and the result has been proved, the animal test should not be repeated again. Another thing is that we should use the advanced knowledge in statistics and experiment to minimize the number of animals required in a certain test. Before the experiment, we need spend some time to work out a proper plan, choose appropriate test method, so we can find the best way to get the experiment result with the smallest number of animals. Lastly, we should minimize the pain of the testing animal. It is not difficult to do so.
For example, during cultivation of the testing animal, we can keep the animals clean and convenient by improving the environment they live; during the processing of test, we should use anesthesia to release the pain of animals; after the test, euthanasia should be applied to reduce the suffering of animals. I was a medicine student in university, as I have seen, most of the experiments in school have been done follow the rules of reducing the pain of animals. To conclude, animal test is inevitable when the life of people is concerned.
Although some substitution methods of animal test have been found, animal test is still a necessary step before drugs are used on human. What we should do is to minimize the suffering of testing animal and find more effective substation method rather than discuss the necessity of animal test. Animal test is not only a topic about animal rights or justice, in fact, it is a much complex issue related to the development of medicine science and people’s life. So, it should be restricted but not banned without enough consideration and perfect substitutions.