Animal testing has been eliciting continuous criticism in the past and at present. Concerning animals being used for research purposes, the concentration is focused on whether man has got any right to use them for testing and whether it is a necessity. Ethically, animal testing criticized through focus on the suffering animals are subjected to during experiments. In spite of this animal testing is also regarded as beneficial as it facilitates medical breakthrough via invention of cures and treatment procedures. The benefits offer grounds for justification of business rights in the field of animal testing.
Animal Testing in UAE
The UAE government in the year 2005 prepared the scene for the introduction of animal testing in Dubai under the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park Foundation. The project was geared to enable Dubai to attain its 2010 vision of being a city with booming economy based on technological research. To achieve this, UAE ventured in to the biotechnology research and development and manufacturing business. The UAE Biotechnology majorly deals with research on medicine, genetics and stem cell. All this progress requires to a great extend the employment of animals so as to ensure the success of the project. With the government channeling a lot of resources towards the same, the argument for the government to withdraw from the same to uphold animal rights is likely to be unsuccessful. This research has also opened trade opportunities for UAE. The government has linked with other nations and business partners to ensure the supply of the required resources and delivery of end products to the markets.
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There are no strict regulations restricting animal testing in Asian countries unlike in western countries like the UK but only activists of animal rights advocate for a check to the practice (Animal Testing in Asia, 2011). For instance, cases of cruelty on animals have been rampant but the perpetrators go unpunished due to government laxity on the matter. It is known that a law forbidding animal cruelty has long been drafted and approved by UEA government but the same has not been effected (UAE animal cruelty law, 2007).
In essence, the UAE government to a great extend encourages animal testing activities which are regarded to be against ethics and morality. The campaign against animal testing is not welcomed by business activists and scientists who claim that it is not possible to ban animal testing on medical procedures and medicines. They argue that research must go on and if use of animals is banned, then man will be used for the researches. The use of humans in research proves to be fatal and could not be welcomed in the society on the base of ethics. Societal attitudes have played a role in low regard of animal rights in the context of testing. The UAE society is markedly a society with a lot of cases of animal cruelty and this reflects the reluctance to uphold animal rights. There has been an increase in reported cases of vicious deeds against animals over the recent past with pets being hanged, shot, or even drowned in acid (Gulf News, 2011). This goes on to imply the society would be unperturbed by animal testing which might seem as too humane to the affected animals.
Animals Commonly Used In Testing
Animals are used for various testing on various aspects of human life. Rabbits and guinea pigs for instance are used for cosmetics testing on shampoos, household products and body lotion for they are docile and easy to maintain where medicinal testing is carried on them to identify their toxicity. Rats and mice on the side are used for testing the genetic makeup of man and other features. Dogs are used in applied medical sciences on studies dealing with cancer, lung research, veterinary medicine, orthopedic, microbiology and in analyzing the toxicity of preservatives, chemicals, drugs and additives. Pigs are used in researching for heart diseases and cats on studies pertaining to neurology (Sengupta, 2011). The outcome of all these studies is of great importance to humans and this justifies more research in the path of saving mankind.
Suffering caused to Animals
Since testing is unnatural to the animals, they suffer in certain ways that they could not be suffering. Genetic manipulation for instance has led to the creation of mice with Huntington’s disease, diabetic mice and obese mice. Moreover, surgical experiments can be performed on larger animals for the practice of human surgery such as on pigs, sheep and dogs (Wise, 2004). Were it not for the animal testing, all these suffering subjected to animals could not be. However, finding the right information concerning the activity of animal testing firms in the Middle East can be so challenging given that those involved are capable of manipulating the information in media reports pertaining to animal testing.
Agitators against animal testing argue that there are no valuable benefits derived from animal experiment which can justify the use of animals for the various experiments on issues pertaining to man (Lynch, 1987). Therefore, animal testing is not ethically right given that animals are subjected too much suffering during the research experiment. To make matters worse, some of these animals used for research are purposely bred for the research and their existence is viewed as research oriented. The animals in this case are bred by researchers, for their use and hence any sufferings directed to them are seen as falling within the right of the researchers. The worst problem of all is that human beings treat animals in the way that deem fit for they consider themselves as the dominant species on earth. In so doing, less attention is focused on whether it is ethically right or morally right to cause suffering to animals as long as the outcome is beneficial to man. Moreover, the motive of animal testing has brought great debate. Those who oppose the experiments base their argument on the fact that most studies are designed to enhance cosmetic testing rather the advancement of medical science all which are geared to boost business (Wise, 2004).
One point used for faulting animal testing is its ineffectiveness in spite of the suffering. Animal testing has not been reliable in the recent past and thus the results obtained may not be extrapolated reliably to man. Furthermore, animal testing does not produce the side effects of the drugs such as hallucination and headache in animals which are common once clinical trials are conducted in man. Consequently, it is not ethical for tests such as LD 50 tests, cosmetic testing, and teaching and military defense tests being conducted on animals for they add no value to the life of man.
Commercial Value of Testing
In business world in the UAE, animal testing is seen as a necessity and of great significance both in academics and scientific testing. The cosmetics and pharmaceuticals companies are enabled to easily conduct animal testing than human clinical tests by the Food and Drug Administration and this enhances the process of making huge amounts of money. This is due to the fact that majority of human consumer industries such as drugs, food and cosmetics do rely on animal industry heavily as they sell their products and in turn enable these animal testing industries to earn huge returns (Sarah, 2009). In addition, the development of useful products and materials is deemed to surpass the suffering inflicted on animals which are sacrificed for these very purpose especially in the Middle East where vivisection of animals do take place.
In addition, animal testing has been emphasized due to the fact that there are no available alternatives which can guarantee the elimination of animals in these testing. This situation is repulsive to people after protection of animals for they consider this activity as ethically and morally wrong. This forms an ethical dilemma due to the fact that as one group is busy supporting a process another is fighting the same. The major concern of those fighting for animals’ rights is the fact that there are companies dealing in the practice of supplying and breeding of animals for bioscience industry and scientific community for purposes of research and development. As these business men view this as an opportunity of making profits, they in turn breed millions of animals which are killed for purposes of experiment. This implies, for instance, that large numbers of mice are killed even though the animal welfare does not allow records concerning mice to be kept.
Justification for Animal Testing
The application of animal testing is ethical when applied in the field of medical science. This enables researchers in the field of medicine to come up with drugs which are effective and also ensure surgery or operation undertaken on human beings to be safe. New researchers and medical practitioners orient themselves in the field of medicine and surgery first with big animals which have near functionality like that of man, such as pigs and sheep. Additionally, testing on animals is ethical than testing on human volunteers especially in areas where the research may appear to be fatal. The business rights in the aspect of animal testing are derived from the fact that it is the right of say physiologists to study life. This involves the study of the multitude of processes that makes a living thing; from the functioning of the membrane channel, the hemodynamic of the heart, and the integrative events of the brain and electrical activity of the heart particularly in the Middle East animal industry.
The physiologists view this feature as an obligation to them where they consider both the theoretical part and later test their hypothesis practically through the animal experiments. In view of the fact that the process is concerned with understanding life processes, the testing is thus to be conducted in living organisms from cells to the whole living organism and this includes animals and even human beings. Nevertheless, this has raised many ethical issues which leave one in an ethical dilemma of whether animal experiment must be in part performed on animals or on man. This is due to the fact that effective tests are based on perturbing the normal functioning of an organism and on controlled interventions so as to discover the functional genomics. Back to the ethical issue, we tend to analyze if at all we have the right of conducting such experiments which not only interfere with the life of living organisms but also inflicts pain, suffering and even the risk of death (Wise, 2004). Thus, the basic ethical dilemma arises in respect to whether it is right and justifiable for us to indulge in the physiological experiments that are in the interests of scientists which harm the interests of living beings or whether we should refrain from such scientific studies.
The justification of animal testing does not end exclusively with the industry and scientific community, but is also based on society’s consumption of animal food. Consumption is regarded as oppressive to the animals like research is. This aspect is well revealed on the part of business people who consider it their right to indulge in the practice of trading animal products, whether for research or consumption. Therefore, the parties involved in animal testing argue that as it is thought right for animal products to be consumed, testing on them is also no big issue and thus consider themselves both morally and ethically right when indulging in such practices.
Legislation on Animal Testing
Government’s involvement in either supporting animal testing or working against the same is realized through laid down legislations. The Animal Welfare Act which was passed in the year 1966 apparently requires those companies dealing with the treating of animals to treat these animals with a maximum degree of humaneness thus fostering the animals’ rights in the long run. Despite the presence of the legislation intended to protect animals being in place the activity of inhumane animal testing has continued to be more rampant. Little has been done in the field of legislation concerning animal use in science for it only excludes any use of animals in the industry for profit purposes. Furthermore, the most conflicting things of this all is the fact that the firms dealing with animal testing are the ones responsible for funding the Biomedical Research and other centers for consumer freedom. This presents an ethical dilemma due to the fact that these animal testing firms spent huge amount of funds in purposeful research and their elimination would mean an end to the research. This therefore makes it hard for the government to close such firms for, by research funding, they play a big role in the growth of the economy.
The key supporters of animal rights argue that even animals are subjects of life and thus are entitled to their rights. They hence call for the adoption of vegetarian diet and abolition of the animal testing or consumption of animal products which has been considered as morally important. The movement against animal testing was able to bring to an end the activity involving nerve stimulation in monkeys in 1985. The animal rights refers to equal consideration in the sense that the interests of animals are met, given that animals have the capacity to suffer both physically and mentally, they should be set free from harm and or suffering caused by human beings intentionally. Some companies in the UAE have come up with strategies aimed at discouraging animal testing. According to Lush (2011), the company does not buy products from companies that commission tests on animals. This brings out the collision of business rights against animal rights. On one side the potential suppliers of this company would feel justified to commission tests on animals while on the other side; they are excluded for disrespecting animal rights.
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Another ethical issue is the respect for life where man must respect the will and life of other living beings by always being responsible for their wellbeing. Though this aspect is true, it is also ethically right for man to use animals for purposes of biomedical research, food and labor. Businessmen have the right of indulging in such activities that deals with animal products or their usage to earn income (Orlans, 1998). This however brings us to an ethical dilemma given that even those who oppose the move, the animal and antivivisection activists have their right of protecting these animals. A deadlock is thus reached when neither party is willing to compromise on its stand.
The fact that mostly, the ethical standards set when using human are different from the standards set when animals are used for testing also raises some ethical issues. Respect for life ought to be the guiding principle for physiological research and this necessitates ethical rules for animals which are similar to those set for human beings. This will help in coming up with rules of what should be done and what should be left out during the experiment. Thus, this calls for researchers to be responsible for their acts thus solving the major ethical dilemma facing man especially when testing physiological theories. Although this principle of respect for life is too general, animals have the right to their own life and as thus man should not do with them as they please. In essence, the advocators of animal’s rights argue against any use of animal or their products. Man is therefore obliged to uphold moral obligation whereby he should not cause any unnecessary pain or suffering and distress to animals.
Given that the use of animal testing has been considered unethical, non animal testing should be done. Animals also do have their rights which ought to be protected. Among these rights is the enriched environment whereby the environment in which the animals are confined to is full of things to satisfy the animal’s species specific needs. This is meant to promote the well being of the animals. Refinement should be undertaken and the discomfort decreased through the provision of necessary anesthesia, care and analgesia. In addition, the animal is entitled to euthanize which is intended to prevent unnecessary suffering to animals through improvement of experimental procedures and determination of a humane end point (Wise, 2004).
The future of animal testing is rather promising. This is due to the fact that developments are on the way of coming up with other new alternatives for the use of animals for testing. Technological advancement in the world today has led more research which was once conducted on vivisection to be done on other fields such as computer modeling, improved statistical design, synthetic skin and lastly the Murine Local Lymph Node Assay (MLNA). In addition, the non animal testing methods have proved to be relevant and viable for it encourages a realistic consideration of rather ethical and scientific issues involved in the replacement of animals in medical experiments for non animals. This can be well elaborated by three R’s which are: Refinement, Reduction and Replacement where suffering and distress are minimized in animals.
Refinement is necessary given that some tests cannot be conducted in the absence of animals which must be there so as to offer the necessary results required. Reduction of the number of animals is also relevant and lastly is Replacement whereby much emphasis is laid in trying to replace the animals with other non animal resources for research. Furthermore, the fact that animal testing helps in the identification of cures for most incurable diseases, the fight against it in whole does not augur well. One is left to wonder on what discouraging animal testing would do on the struggle towards life saving and what should actually be done towards the attainment of the cures.
Business people dealing in animal products daily continue to get more markets for cosmetics and household products derived from animals (Singer, 1990). One is left to wonder which side to support even as he tries to consider both sides. In terms of ethical dilemmas, there is a real battle between the supporters of animal rights and the supporters of business rights. For businessmen, they are to maximize their supply due to expansion of the market of their products and in so doing more animals’ products are to be involved. The rights of businesses is seen as a threat to the animal population given that the number of animals being employed in the process will increase leaving no room for any development to be done towards the fight for animal rights. One is therefore left to wonder which of the two groups is in the right, for both have their own right which must be respected at all cost, hence an ethical dilemma.
When seeking treatment for chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma among others, the animal testing proves to be very essential. The research helps in the identification of the possible cures for the disease. Typically, the research tends to be beneficial to both animals and man. The identification of a drug for certain diseases can be of mutual benefit given that human and animals have got some commonness. Thus, although it appears to be ethically wrong to use animals in testing, it is also regarded ethical when the finding is used for the benefits of animals also. This forms another ethical dilemma for those opposed to animal testing given that the process or research appears to be fulfilling on either side.
The proper moral treatment that can be directed to animals is allowing them to possess certain features such as sentience, cognitive capacities, sociability, capacity to flourish and possession of life. The ethical aspect here is arrived when one is in the process of discovering the level of injury inflicted on either animals or man. To some, it is ethically right for research which is conducted on animals such as a mouse for it helps in ascertaining the safety of important chemicals. This chemical is further considered to be of great importance for it is a trade commodity that has high demand in society.
The major struggle in this part is in the definition of the limit on moral grounds. According to animal rights activists they argue that animals are experimented mostly out of the curiosity of scientists. They chop, starve or burn them so as to maybe yield something that could be of benefit to human. Some of these experiments could only be right if conducted on cases which do not have alternatives. The campaigns are therefore on the ways of minimizing harm on these creatures and safeguard benefits derived from these experiments. Further discussion brought forward is that although animals’ lives deserve some respect, the respect is not comparable to those deserved by human lives. The introduction of vaccines, new surgical techniques, artificial limbs and organs and new cancer therapies are as a result of animal testing (Orlans, 1998). Thus, human welfare must be dealt with first than focusing so much attention on animals.
The argument for or against animal testing can be settled after a careful consideration of the goals of the research and on whether there is a great probability of success in the experiment. Once this has been obtained, a close focus should be on the animal being used for the experiment and the possible effect presented in the question thereof. This necessitates deeper analysis of these factors that helps in the identification of the need for the testing in order to identify the relevance of the research. If the study is seen to be of great significance to society at large, with less negative effects on the animals in question, then the research can be conducted. But before that, the possible alternatives present instead of animals should be presented so as to protect their interest and to guard against adverse human actions. Despite all these considerations being put in place, coming up with a concrete conclusion on the matter is not easy given that each party possesses different perception in respect to one’s leaning (Lynch, 1987).
The aspect of ethics has been left on the hands either advocates and they are the ones who are to decide on what is moral. This leaves us in an ethical dilemma for we are torn between which side to follow in the argument towards morality and ethics in animal testing. Animal testing has all along been implemented in order to obtain treatments and vaccines for the purposes of benefiting man and to some extent those animals which are beneficial to man. Researchers in the field harm as many animals as required to find treatments and procedures.
Animal testing has resulted to major breakthroughs in the medical field and in case this stops due to animal rights then further developments in the fields will be compromised. The animal testing is viewed as a way of extending human life even though millions of animals are being killed yearly for the purpose of the same. The big question is what about the lives of animals. Are they also not important to deserve protection from pain, suffering and even unnecessary deaths? Focusing on both arguments one comes to a conclusion that all the two parties are right and that something must be done in the middle of this conflict in order to solve this ethical dilemma.
Lastly, coming to firm conclusion of what is right and what is wrong in this field of animal testing is all together a difficult decision. Animal rights activists are right to fight for the welfare of animals and are the business rights activists who are for the use of animals in their experiments so as to save mankind and other non human species. Thus, the issue of animal testing is a most challenging ethical dilemma in the present world. Alternatives to animal testing to be implemented today and in the future includes; human clinical tests, in-vitro tests, computer software, animal parts and to some small extend animals especially where alternatives are not applicable. Alternatives to animal testing researches should be conducted to pave way for more advanced technology for use in finding solutions especially pertaining to human welfare.
In conclusion, animal testing poses ethical dilemma given that the research is morally and ethically unacceptable. On the other hand doing away with the research which proves to be of mutual benefits to both man and animals is untenable. This is because the research involving animals is ethically right especially when the benefits outweigh the costs and when all possible steps are being implemented to reduce suffering to animals. In summary, human do conduct tests on animals simply because they can and not out the fact that it is right for them to do so. The future of animal testing can however be based in the three R’s campaigns which are Reduction, Refinement and Replacement. This will ensure that the total number of animals used for the research is reduced, the suffering being minimized and animals are to a great extent replaced by non animals.
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