Statement of the problem:Animal testing has been around of for centuries, starting with ancient greek physicians who used animals for testing of medicines and anatomy of animals. It was only during the 12th century when physicians first pushed the practice of surgery procedures on animals prior to human surgery.Especially in the mid twentieth century, animals testing become a necessity before prescribing drugs to the general public in the US. In 1937, there was the Elixir Sulfanilamide incident where the prescription of a drug caused the death of more than 100 people.
It is stated that if they tested the drug on an animal, it would have been clear to see the deadly effects of Elixir Sulfanilamide and highlighted how those deaths could have been avoided. This incident caused a new law to be implemented in the US federal system (1938 Federal food, drug and cosmetic act) that requires animal testing on drugs and other products before they are allowed to be distributed and sold to the general public. Primarily, animal testing is for the safety of drugs and cosmetics being sold worldwide.
However, animal testing despite providing the consumers with safer drugs, always have drawbacks. In 1981, there was the Silver Spring Monkeys case that changed the world’s viewpoint on animal testing. In a lab in Silver Spring,Maryland, 17 macaque monkeys were being used for animal research on neuroplasticity. Their cages were uncleaned for days, the animals themselves were injured with lacerations and broken bones.
Then, the founder of PETA uncovered the truth of the animals,sparked the movement of animal rights and revealed to the world the horrors of animal testing. Relevant International Actions/Past UN efforts:People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals This non-profit organization was founded on March 22, 1980 where it focuses on 4 main issues. The testing of animals, the farming of animals for food, the farming of animals for fur and the use of animals in entertainment. BUAVThey are an animal rights group that aim to end all animal testing worldwide with the belief that there is no ethical justification of testing on animals.EU, Norway,Israel, IndiaThese nations have banned cosmetic testing on animals within their countries.ChinaThe Chinese government requires animal testing on all imported cosmetics and skincare products, but since 2014 has lifted the animal testing requirement of products produced within the country as well as since 2017 has accepted innovative non-animal testing alternatives. However, many multinationals who pledge that they are ‘cruelty free’ have shipped their animal testing to China under the law that it is required and continue to conduct animal testing within the country.
Universal Declaration of Animal RightsIn the year 2000, this was a suggested agreement to the UN. This agreement outlines how countries should acknowledge that animals are sentient as well as encourages the responsible treatment of all types of animals, including animals used in industrial testing, as pets, wildlife…
etc. Current situation:In the world we are living in right now, it has undoubtedly come to be due to animal testing. Drugs sold in pharmacies, cosmetics sold in malls, our world is surrounded by animal experiments. There has constantly been a debate on whether or not animal testing is required for the drugs and cosmetics manufactured for patients and consumers. Whilst some insist that it is necessary for the welfare of humans (Elixir sulfanilamide case), other argue that it will only result in the harmful treatment of animals in poor living conditions (Silver Spring Monkey case). As a result, many animal welfare organizations have sprung out around the world to alert the people about animal testing and questions the necessity of it.This had led to 3 R’s campaign of animal testing being implemented in modern medicine.
1)Replace the use of animals with alternative techniques, or avoid the use of animals altogether2)Reduce the number of animals used to a minimum, to obtain information from fewer animals or more information from the same number of animals.3)Refine the way experiments are carried out, to make sure animals suffer as little as possible. This includes better housing and improvements to experiments which in turn would reduce pain to the animals.Although some believe that this will provide scientists with a better moral conscience when conducting animal testing and limiting the potential damage on animals lives, some believe that it will inhibit our acceleration of medical advancement and slow down our improvement of products for the people.Questions to think about:What is your country’s stance on animal testingWhat can we do to reduce the number of animals being tested onAre there any replacements to animal testing that are equally as effective or betterShould countries impose more laws to industrial testing or allow it to occur with the hope that it will improve the medical industryPossible Solutions:Encourage the implementation of animal rights policies and regulations in all member countries in order to reduce the number of potential abuse of animals as well as to promote the movement that animals are sentientPromote the use of animal testing alternatives/subsidise the research and development of animal testing alternatives in order to provide the ability for scientific research and testing to occurLimit the usage of animals in industrial testing to ones that are deemed as necessary or that potential unknown detrimental side effects of the product may occur if not tested on live specimens