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The Ethics of Animal Testing

The images below illustrate some of the horrors animals face when used for testing. Please watch the PETA video for a short introduction on the questionable ways on animal testing.

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  • Look through these Sustainable Development Goals and keep them in mind while goal through this page– GOAL 12 and GOAL 15!
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One can only imagine the pain and suffering this rat endured. In Africa rats are trained to sniff out landmines, saving thousands of lives daily. These intelligent creatures are not objects to be used in labs.
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This shows a cat who had a hole drilled in it’s head for electrons to be implanted in its brain. This common test often leaves the house pet blind or deaf due to nerve damage, scared, and in pain.

Peta’s video exposing the “truth” of animal testing

Real ethical right?
– Yes it can be and is hard to rethink a process that has been “successfully” around for centuries, especially if most people don’t really know what is actually occurring. If we want to make any progress as a society, we are going to have to challenge the “norms”. As the world has become more educated with the age of technology, the public has been exposed to what animal testing really is about. This has created a great strength behind those fighting for ethical treatment of animals in the science world. 


Personal interest — Animals are my passion. The past few years I have really become more involved in the activism side, and this class has had me thinking about what we consider normal. Animal testing is a subject that often falls through the cracks of discussions, and that needs to change. These vulnerable creatures cannot speak for themselves, so we need to be their voice. I want to help people become more informed about the subject so we can create a better future for both us and the animals.

BIOETHICS PRINCIPLES

JUSTICE — A big principle that plays into the animal testing industry is justice. One of the subdivisions of justice is responsibility. Since animals cannot speak and act for themselves they are very vulnerable to be subjects of such testing. It is our responsibility to make sure they are treated fairly and have the rights they deserve.

NONMALEFECENCE — Nonmalefecence is basically another way of saying do no harm. Animal testing is doing harm and sometimes for pointless reasons. If we follow the principle of nonmalefecence and do no harm, animal testing would be very different.

BENEFECENCE — (From the pro-animal testing side) Benefecence means doing everything in your power to benefit the patient (in this case the general public). Back before we had all the technologies we have today, animal testing was responsible for huge medical breakthroughs, ranging from the first ever vaccine, to assisting in the cure of smallpox.

SOME ETHICAL QUESTIONS TO KEEP IN MIND

It is important to keep some questions in mind while learning about animal testing. These ethical questions will really make you think about what is going on.

  1. What rights do animals have? Who decides that?
  2. Is it ethical to put thousands of animals’ lives in danger for POTENTIAL benefits to humans?
  3. When is the line drawn for experiments? How do we distinguish between necessary and purely experimental?
  4. What is a NECESSARY test?

CURRENT SITUATION

CC-BY: speakingofresearch.com

The graph illustrates the range of animals used in research in the United States as of 2016. The most surprising fact is that over 60,000 dogs were being used at this time. Think about that — 60,000 dogs, breeds ranging from Golden Retrievers to Beagles being tested on.

There are some basic rules and regulations when it comes to animal testing. There is the Animal Welfare Act; a very outdated Federal Law (signed in 1996 and altered only a few times since) that regulates the treatment of animals in research. By regulates — it means requiring “minimum standards of care that must be provided for animals—including housing, handling, sanitation, food, water, veterinary care and protection from weather extremes.” Though setting some standards for the treatment of these animals, the Animal Welfare Act is only covering a small portion of the animals used in laboratories daily.

Looking at this pie chart we can see that only a small sliver of the animal used in labs are covered by the “Animal Welfare Act” which basically just requires bare necessities for them. Imagine what the other 20 million are enduring.


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HOW TO CHANGE

Some reformations have started to take place, but nearly not enough. For example, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) has begun to strongly enforce the three R’s throughout the country. The three R’s are a concept published in 1959 by R.L Burch and W.M.S Russel pertaining to the animal testing industry. These past 40 years, the concept has gained traction and became widely respected in the scientific community worldwide.

REPLACEMENT – This is where a test that would usually involve animals has been replaced by a different test or avoided altogether. With the technology we have today, there is no reason to still be using live subjects for harmful tests. These animals can be replaced by something like a computer program or simulation with virtually no difference in results.

REDUCTION – This refers to reducing the amount of animals used whenever possible while gathering the data. The intention of this reform is to “maximize the information obtained per animal…without compromising animal welfare”, with the goal of having less animals involved. Though this concept still involves the testing on animals, reducing the amount of animals is the first step towards change.

REFINEMENT – This concept refers to the treatment of animals. The goal is to refine the way the industries work to make it the best possible environment for the animals. Their welfare should be improved and the animals, if forced into this life, should be comfortable from birth to death. This could start with something as simple as a blanket in their cage, or some toys to play with.

REAL CHANGES

Not all changes have to be drastic, large industry reformations; something as small as reading the label on the back of your shampoo can help the lives of hundreds of helpless animals.

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More and more brands are going cruelty free each day. Keep this in mind next time you purchase a product.

If you pay attention to this topic on the internet, you will find that new changes are taking place as the subject is growing. For example, the USDA, as of April 2, banned the use of cats in their testing for food disease. Yes, this is only a tiny tiny portion of the animals still being unfairly tested on, but some progress is progress. This sure makes a huge impact on the the 14 remaining cats that are going to be adopted out!

Hi! My name is Abby Sekoff and I am from Miami, Fl. I am videoed here with our family bunny, Wabbit. He is a 2 yo. Holland Lop. Rabbits are loving intelligent creatures that should not, by any means, be tested on unnecessarily! The topic of animal testing is especially important to my family as Wabbit is part of our family. It hurts us to think that over 130,000 rabbits get tested on yearly.

HAPPY ENDINGS

These are just a couple of the great things that can come out of an animal saved from spending their whole life being tested on. Very heartwarming happy endings can come from horrible things.

These Rescued Animals Are Loving Life – Proving Why Their Species' Use in Scientific Experiments Should End
This is Nelly a rescued lab beagle. Beagles are the most common breeds in testing facilities. After reading her story you might want to check out her Facebook.

Nelly had it about as bad as can be. She was rescued by Beagle Freedom Project, a group dedicated to saving beagles who have spent their lives at testing facilities. According to the rescue group Nelly was found in beyond awful conditions, “used for years as a laboratory test-tube, was mutilated, sold, then abandoned, shot, and ultimately left for dead with two other murdered beagles in a locked crate on the side of a desolate road in Florida”. Unfortunately this is a reality that far too many animals from labs face. Nelly was one of the lucky ones as she now lives a luxury life with her forever family. Look at Nelly. Read what happened to her and really think. Why? Beagle Freedom Project has done wonderful things. PLEASE WATCH THESE BEAGLES LIKE NELLY TOUCHING GRASS FOR THE FIRST TIME.

These Rescued Animals Are Loving Life – Proving Why Their Species' Use in Scientific Experiments Should End
This is Elway a former lab chimp. He now lives the good life at Save the Chimps Sanctuary.

Elway was born into a lab in 1999 where he was soon removed from his mother and placed in a group with several other infant chimpanzees. This group was anesthetized monthly for various blood and other invasive tests. Luckily the lab Elway lived in was bought out in 2002 cutting his suffering short. He now lives experiment free in a beautiful sanctuary in Florida where he is described as a “clever, mischievous chimp” who is very “irresistible”.

Thank you for taking the time to go through this page. I hope it gave you a better understanding of what is happening and what needs to be done.

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Works cited.

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COMMENTS: 7
  1. April 27, 2019 by Ana

    Hi Abby, your project was amazing! This is a super important topic to talk about and I love how passionate you are about it. I thought the happy endings part was a nice touch to show what we can do to help animals in this situation.

    • April 29, 2019 by Abby Sekoff

      Thank you so much! Means a lot. I hope this helped you get a better understanding!

  2. April 29, 2019 by Janina.Troper

    Hi Abby! You did a great job with this project. I like how you embedded the Peta video and the video of beagles touching grass for the first time. The use of images and videos put a face on this terrible issue. What can individuals do to support testing free products?

    • April 29, 2019 by Abby Sekoff

      Thank you! I do think it is important to watch and really see what is going on. The first step for supporting testing free projects is to use them as much as you can. You can either look for the cruelty free bunny on the packaging or, what I think is easier is typing in to google “is _____ animal testing free” and almost immediately you get a clear answer.

  3. April 29, 2019 by Kaili Nakanishi

    I loved your incorporation of Wabbit the bunny into your project. He is so cute and it really helps build the humanity behind how animals should be treated. I had no idea how terrible and cruel animal testing really is. Your project does a good job shedding light on this issue.

    • April 29, 2019 by Abby Sekoff

      Thank you for your comment! It is important to show what the animals are like not in a lab-situation. People don’t always know how intelligent they are. I hope this helped make the issue more clear to you.

  4. May 02, 2019 by Larson Palmgren

    Your project did a really good job of bringing awareness to this topic. Animal testing was something I was aware existed but I didn’t know that it was to as much as an extent as this. I also loved the big infographic you had in there!

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