Table of Contents
To begin with, animal right in connection to animal testing has been a topic that has been debated over a long time. In connection to this, just as human beings have to consent before testing or rather experimentation is done to them in the laboratory , the same way non-human animals require the same consent. However, it becomes a hard thing and unethical if it may be said when an animal without consent is subjected to such great pain as well as the torturing of its life. Just as there are human laws that protect their rights to live, animals as well should receive the same protection (Sherry 85).
Notably, there have been animal rights activists who seek to protect animals from being used for testing and lab experimentation. It has been noted that in the past that there has been some kinds of treatments that have been directed to animals by means of testing. Although animals should be viewed from a different perspective from human beings, their rights to live should not be left into the hands of researchers who do it in terms of testing (Sunstein and Nussbaum 3).Testing in this case has been in the research field making the utilization of non-human animals. As such, these animals have been used for testing in laboratory experiments at the same time being used to test drugs and vaccines to see if they can work. In most cases, these testing endanger the lives of the non-human animals and even though it is seen as a wrong thing from the perspective of animal’s rights activist, this has not stopped (Ritter 30).
It is within this context that the issue to do with the general debate that animals have rights and should not be used for testing has been brought into view. This is to verify the stance of the animal rights activists looking at both sides of the argument. In this regard, the research on this topic as it will follow it is aimed at exploring the topic from a broad point of view. This will make use of several sources of information as they will be provided later in this work in the works cited page.
Research Findings and Discussion
From the information that has been gathered from literature, animal’s rights or liberation can be described as the idea that just as the most basic human rights are taken into consideration, most basic interests of animals should be considered (Sunstein and Nussbaum 4). Arguably, literature has pointed out that non-human animals deserve to receive good treatment as human beings since they are all members of the moral community of human beings. Therefore, in this combination, advocates of non-human animal rights put it that animals should not be used as food, for research, for entertainment or on another point of view as clothing. Legal scholars have proved their support of the idea that animals should be awarded rights as human’s beings as they are members of the moral community (Ritter 82).
At the same time, over a long time animal rights activists have brought into the context the idea that human beings should not view non-human animals just as property. As such, they argue that animals should be treated with kindness just as it would be considerably argued for the case for human beings. Research has also shown that animal rights opponents have arguably stated that animals are creatures that are limited in regard to their entrance into social contract (Ritter 22). This is to suggest that animals have not been given to making moral choices. In this context, animals cannot be pointed out as to possess rights when it comes to issues to do with testing.
At this point, it is vital to bring into view the description given to animal testing. When animal testing is mentioned in any context what comes in the mind of the listeners is issues to do with animal experimentation and animal research among others. In line with this, it can be best termed as use of non-human animals in experiments. In this sense, model organisms with the likes of nematode worms, fruit flies, mice and zebrafish as tools of experiment have been used in the past.
Following the use of these non-human animals in experiments, there has been a point that has been noted that the use of such animals is an animal rights violation. It has been pointed by research in addition that most animals after being used in the experiments are euthanized or subjected to mercy of killing (United States, Congress, Office of Technology Assessment 199). There has been a notable point that many animals that are used for testing are a specific species from particular regions of the world.
Nonetheless, the choice of animals for testing varies widely. Remarkably, animals are widely used within the premises of universities, medical schools, farms, defense establishments, pharmaceutical companies and commercial facilities in the larger perspective that make provision of animals testing particularly to the industry. One may question the fields that use animals in this case. They involve fields of genetics, behavioral studies and developmental biology (United States, Congress, and Office of Technology Assessment 86).
Additionally, fields of applied research that comprise of biomedical research, drug testing, toxicology tests, cosmetic testing and xenotransplantation utilize the idea of animal testing. More to this point, animals are used for education, breeding and use by researchers in the field of defense research. The wide use of animals for testing has been attributed to the factors that most of the 20th century achievements especially in the field of medicine have stemmed from the use of animals. Attributed to the developments that have been brought about by medicine, it has contributed to the good health of the human beings.
Seemingly, this is a tool for research whose use and importance cannot be underrated. In regard to this point, many who advocate for use of animal testing consider the great benefits that the use of animals has as compared to losses that may be realized when animals are awarded their rights as members of the moral community. Besides this point, the root cause of the use of animals while disregarding their rights has been attributed to the genesis of human beings as far as Adam in the Christian faith is concerned.
In this line, the ones that support the use of animals for testing do it based on the fact that when Adam was created in the beginning of time according to Christian faith that he was given dominion over all kinds of animals. Others argue that the use of animals is not an issue of violating their rights as they have got no moral sense of entering in a social contract.
Having pointed out the reasons behind the testing of animals, it is important at this point to bring into view the cases for animal rights and the one against. Basically, wide literature has provided facts about the use of animal testing in the field of medical research. It has been arguably said that non-human animals lack the informed consent in regard to experiments of which they are used (Regan 421). Related to this point, the experiments that utilize animals have been pointed out to be so insidious and injurious that human beings cannot be allowed to be subjects of such experiments.
Based on this factor, the proponents of animal rights have done much in seeking for this right. So to articulate, in the United States, there is an Animal Welfare Act that is meant to protect the rights of non-human animals (Curnutt 34). It is supposedly the law that seems to set some minimum requirements in regard to animal rights. However, the law falls short of meeting the requirement as it is unproductive.
The AWA has some provisions that protect the animals in certain facilities although it does not meet the requirements of animal rights activists. This law was passed as a federal law back in 1966 undergoing several amendments since then. It is meant to empower the Animal Care Program of the USDA’s Animal and plant Health Inspection Service that is obliged to issue licenses as well as adopt along with the fact that it has to enforce regulations that protect non-human animals (Curnutt 33).
As it has been highlighted above, the AWA law of US has proved to be ineffective as its provisions are minimal. From this point of view, there are some animals that have been excluded that involve non-human animals such as rats, birds and mice among others (Curnutt 49). Among the ones that are protected, are animals like monkeys, cats, a live or dead dog and non-human animals that happen to be primate mammals among others as such.
In consistent with this, animals such as rats, birds and mice that have not been covered by AWA have been in wide use in the area of medical research. Along with this, a large percentage of animals is slaughtered in the US and in this context, AWA law and regulation does not protect it. This is a great weakness that makes it easy for the unprotected animals to be used extensively in experiments (Curnutt 32). From this perspective, it is essential to provide the fact that AWA does not necessarily protect animal rights to the satisfaction of the ones that advocate for animal rights in the context of animal testing. Critics of AWA have pointed out that AWA does so little in regard to the protection of animals. It has been argued out by critics that AWA in essence does not protect the use of animals so long as food, water and shelter is made available for them(Curnutt 14).
Following this point, the proponents of animal’s rights, state that animals should be awarded the right to be free from imprisonment, experimentation and killing in the broader point of view. Regarding the use of animal testing in research, the end justifies the means, Nonetheless, this is disputable based on the fact that if a human being should not be used in an experiment for the common benefit of the other human beings; so should the non-human animals be treated. As a matter of fact, non-human animals are conscious creatures that have their own interests in their lives and freedom (Guither 18). In this line of thought, non-human animals should not by any means be treated as differently from human beings when it comes to issues to do with experimentation.
In regard to animal rights and animal testing, the vivisection of animals means that it has to be ended if animals have to be awarded their rights. In fact, even if vivisection was not made available, the non-animal research would still go on. Again, as it stems from animal vivisection, a lot of resources are required of which this can be avoided by majoring on the non-animal research (Guither 177). For instance, if animal use in research was stopped, research of cell and issue cultures, epidemiological studies and experimentation with fully informed consent of human beings can work in research.
Although there are many developments in the medicine field that have been associated with animal testing as the origin, non-animal research has also contributed in the development of medicine (Hester, Harrison and Balls 29). Needless to say, the cause and cure for scurvy was a discovery that was achieved without employing the use of animals. This was done basically with human subjects who had been diagnosed with scurvy. Small pox vaccine in the 18th century was invented without animal experimentation.
Similarly, penicillin was discovered without the use of animal research. In the same way, Heimlich maneuver has been recently developed without animal research. More to this, it has been used to save the lives of many people around the world. Associated with the study of human populations in addition, has been attributed to very important medical innovations (Hester, Harrison and Balls 76). This has covered issues to do with heart diseases being discovered that they are connected to cholesterol and lung cancer being attributed to smoking.
Above and beyond, the above discussion has brought into view the arguments that hold up or support the animal rights with proofs that animal research is not only the way out for development in medicine. Critics of animal rights however, have a lot to say as it regards to animal rights. They argue that animals ever since the ancient world have been given to the authority of man to dominate and do to them as he wishes. This is to bring out the point that it is not wrong or morally wrong to use animal testing in research. Likewise, other critics of animal rights argue that animals should not have rights based on the fact that they have not been given to the moral consent of entering in a social contract whereby they can demand for rights (Regan 379).
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According to critics, there is nothing like animal rights as animal testing is done for the benefit of the human beings. Therefore in this regard, it is ethical to use animals in research. It is however, questionable of the kind of treatments as well as testing that is applied to animals in this case. Those that fight for animal rights put it that animal’s experience much pain and suffering in the animal testing research. Consequently, animals end up only being subjected to euthanasia as the pain they experience can only be alleviated by mercy of killing (Sherry 50).
From the above information that has been provided in regard to animal rights in the context of animal testing, various conclusions can be drawn. First, the debate of whether animals should be awarded rights or not seems to be an endless debate that needs a lot of issues to be considered. From the arguments provided by the proponents, non-human animals that are used for experimentation and testing are members of moral community that need their rights to live just as human beings do.
In opposition to this point, critics of animal rights put it that animals have no moral consent to enter in a social contract and thus rights are not meant for non-human animals. Basically, there are many points of debate that arise in this topic, the main one being the fact that the pain and the nature of testing and experiments that are carried on these animals are so painful. They make animals to suffer to an extent of being subjected to euthanasia as the only way. From this point, critics put it that animal rights as a goal is not attainable.
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In order to come to a consensus thus, it should be debated on the nature of testing and experiments that are carried putting it that the level of suffering should be made to be minimal. Although alternatives for research have been suggested by proponents of animal rights in animal testing, use of non-human animals for testing should not be stopped according to critics. Altogether, the debate still continues and therefore more research on this topic should be carried in order to come up with better informed contributions to the topic.