Sample Research Paper on The use of Animals in Experiments

The use of Animals in Experiments


The world is confronted with a new disease. It is lethal. The health of an infected person deteriorates fast. The patient sees death in his eyes. He is certain. Death is here. It is his/or her time to rest. The disease has no cure. Luckily, a scientist thinks he/she can solve the situation. The scientist has an idea. A baboon’s bone marrow can cure the illness. It is time for an experiment speculated to be able to cure the patient and others. An innocent baboon is found. The baboon must have its bone marrow extracted from its bone. The process is painful and torturous. The bone marrow is injected into an HIV patient, Jeff Getty. Jeff Getty gets better not because of the bone marrow but because of the other conditions in the experiment that actually lead to the development of ARVs. The extraction of the baboon’s bone marrow has been done and the suffering caused. This is a true account as recounted in Daar (56). Animals are human. Like humans, animals experience pain and suffering (Yarri 58). The thesis is to argue how inhuman and unnecessary it is to conduct medical research using animals as specimen, on the basis of respect for religious practices; ethics, norms and values; good science practice; the use of animals in tests; and legal issues; and, finally,  show alternative methods that could be used to conduct such biomedical research.

Before delving into the question of whether or not the use of animals in research is right, has it ever been thought why animals, rather than humans, are used in these researches? I pose that question, taking into account that most of these researches are medical in nature, which means that the benefits of their outcomes go to humans, generally speaking, rather than the species of the animals on which the research experiments are conducted. Biologically speaking humans are animals. Human beings fall under Kingdom Animalia, which comprises all animals, in the taxonomical classification of living things (Alcamo and Bergdahl 162). While there is so much respect for human beings, why are animals considered less special as to be the subjects of these usually arguably rough and cruel experiments?

Biomedical Research and Religion

Using animals in medical research experiments is against certain religious practices. Focusing on religion first, animals are appreciated in differently. The bible is unambiguous about the place of animals in the hierarchy of living things, or rather their place in relation to human beings. God has placed man over animals and all living things (Standard English Version, Gen. 1.26).  It does not however justify subjecting animals to torture as biomedical research does. Other forms of belief and religious practices like Buddhism and Hinduism look at animals slightly different. In Buddhism, there is the concept of a hierarchy of living things rather than wide separations between living things. Hinduism places animals birds and plants on the same plane as humans. For example, the cow is regarded as a source of food and a symbol of life and therefore should not be killed for any reason (Kemmerer 58). The views of animals across religions vary but all these religions have respect for animals. Other people’s religions and cultures should be respected.

Biomedical Research and Ethics, Norms and Values

The use of animals in research amounts to a violation of moral norms, ethics and values, according to animals activists. Scientific research has shown very little respect for animals if any at all. Forced breeding under cages, giving animals food that is not natural to them and subjecting them to severe experiments, some of which end in their death deny them their biological life. Such behavior towards animals causes them both physical and mental sufferings as anxiety and stress. Besides the mentioned, there is the science of biotechnology. Animals that are genetically modified may not only have features of other animals (for example a goat having a face of a human being, something that many people would find repulsive) but also the case where the genetically modified animal may suffer because of the limitations of science. A striking example is dolly the sheep who suffered from arthritis and lung cancer (due to genetical modifications) that is common only with sheep twice as old as her age and died when she was only six (Ezra 90). In other cases, the biologically modified animals may be superior human beings, and not only lack respect for morals ethics and value, but also threaten the existence of living things on earth. The behavior of subjecting animals to such situations constitutes a complete departure from respect for life.

Inconformity to ‘Good Science’

The use of animals in experiments does not conform to good science. One failure to conform to good science is the use of animals in toxicity testing. The toxicity test is used to identify the organs of the body that may be vulnerable to destruction by the chemical compound being tested. Of all the use of animals in experiments, this is the one that raises controversy the most. Some animals do not suffer from toxicity testing but most of them do. What is more is that one cannot tell whether a particular animal is going to suffer in toxicity testing or not. Scientists just go on with their procedures without regard to whether it is going to cause the animals harm or not.  It is also concerning that usually, in the name of the need to arrive at a valid conclusion; the scientists usually use more animals than are needed for their statistical satisfaction. It is inconsiderate to perform an experiment inside a living organism when there is an alternative.  Schnitzer and Hawking argue that experiments can be performed outside a living organism and yield better results than performing them inside a living organism (262). It is not reasonable to use animals rather than the alternative, for that reason.

Commercialization, Effects of Competition in Research

Many laboratories, in particular the commercial ones, classify their laboratory reports about the experiments they had done (Patlak 73). The failure to release these reports to the rest of the medical research community makes other research laboratories conduct experiments that seek to answer the same question or solve the same problems as those that have been done already. The result is unnecessary multiple duplications of the same experiments. This behavior only sees to it that many more animals are subjected to torture, which is something that would be easily avoided. Considering it as putting financial gains before respect for animals, it does come across as irrational. Another issue that causes unnecessary duplication of experiment is that of patents and copyrights to experimental procedure and the technology obtained as a result of it. Most medical research, especially commercial ones, are patented (Pugatch 210). That makes other research firms try many different methods to come up with a different technology that solve the same problem at least as well as the other firms if not better. The consequence is not just the suffering of more animal, but the experimental procedures and conditions become extreme. The number of animals in the experiments could be significantly less.

Responsibility for the Future

There is a need to be responsible for future generations, and scientists have turned a blind eye towards it. It is true that biomedical research is essential. It is important that there be innovations in medicine. It is also important that new therapies be developed to fight against diseases, those affecting both humans and animals. However, there is a feeling that vast amounts of wealth are being squandered away in the pretext of medical research (Temple and Thompson 1). The technology obtained from animal research result in high tech medical therapies that are usually very expensive (Drane 239). As a result, only the rich people, who are actually few in number, benefit from the biomedical research. There is a feeling that the funds could be channeled elsewhere, something like public healthcare or preservation of endangered species. There also has been concern about genetic intervention like xenotransplantation, which could potentially transfer diseases to future generations, both humans and animals.

Alternatives to the use of Animals

There is no reason why animals should continue to be used in experiments, with all the other alternatives. Technology has advanced enough to replace animals. Current technology has to potential to do the same research as that done with animals and arrive to same conclusions, or even yield better results. Among the currently available technologies are computer simulation of biological processes, the use of screening systems and the use of human cells and cell lines. The biomedical research technologies exist and they are also in development (Kvetňanský 1022).


It is believably evident that there is no need to continue subjecting animals to these conditions in the name of research. The use of animals in medical research is contrary to religious practices; ethics, norms and values; and good science practice, as supported by the arguments presented.  It is irrational to use animals in testing products, especially such useless ones as cosmetics. While there is legal protection for animals, they are either incomplete or not robust enough.  It is important that biomedical research continues but that should not justify sacrificing animals. There are approaches alternative to the use of animals. Scientists should take the responsibility of liberating animals from torture.












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