What Lives and Dies: Animal Testing

Personal Article

Where do we draw the line between what lives and dies? Is animal testing the only successful path to clinical advancement? Let’s find out.

by Kiersten Ngeow

As I explored animal testing, these questions burned into my head, as I pondered about the significant impact animal testing continues to have on the lives of humans and animals – for better or for worse.

On one end, without animal testing, the creation of several life-saving vaccines, antibiotics, drugs, and more would cease to exist. Along with the discoveries found during the development of these products, which have benefited both animals and humans alike. But at what cost have we made these discoveries?

When companies use animal testing, it is for the purpose of determining the safety of their products. As a result, animals are subjected to harmful chemicals and substances that can be detrimental to their health. Thus, paying the price for these discoveries with their lives. But that is not all. Unfortunately, the mistreatment of animals is prevalent in animal testing. Despite this, there are alternate solutions to replace animal testing, but should we?

This is where our trilemma is presented: should we support or stop animal testing? Perhaps, there is a middle ground within these two stances.

You should support animal testing:

Choosing to support animal testing would allow for the continued development of life-saving vaccines, antibiotics, and drugs. One of the numerous examples of medical treatments created under animal testing includes the polio vaccine, which conducted studies with monkeys, dogs, and mice. Before, the polio epidemic claimed the lives of thousands in the United States alone. After the vaccine, cases for polio have been reduced by 99%. Without animal testing, the creation of the polio vaccine would cease to exist, along with numerous other life-saving medical treatments.

Additionally, animal testing benefits both animals and humans alike as, Animals are susceptible to many of the same health problems as humans – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.” Through this, diseases prevalent to both humans and animals could be studied and prevented by animal testing. Animals also are like human beings, we share 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, 98% with mice.

Although there being alternatives to animal testing, these methods are not the same as studying real animal models. In an article by Stanford addressing the myths and facts of

source: Vit Kovalcik shutterstock

animal testing, it states, “[Alternative research methodologies] cannot, however, reproduce the interactions of an intact, whole-living biological system provided by laboratory animals, nor can they reveal potential complications from a drug designed to treat one condition on other organs and systems. Animals are living models and can show researchers how diseases and other substances react. This is not prevalent in alternative methods to animal testing.