Animal testing has been the most controversial and frequently debated topics around the globe. It is also known as animal experimentation, which is usually done to determine toxicity, effectiveness, side effects, and dosage of drugs intended to be used for human treatment. There are two opinions on this question – for and against one. However, the amount of people, who are against of animal testing is larger, and animal advocates beat an alarm for the scopes of animal use in testing. This research paper presents arguments against animal testing and provides evidence that there are alternative methods of tests. In addition, the survey of 22 respondents was conducted in order to support the viewpoint. Despite the fact that a lot of steps are taken in order to decrease the number of dying animals, there should be more efforts made towards total refusal of animal use in testing.
Painful Human Experiments on Animals
Every year, millions of lives, “wild world” are taken by painful human experiments. Experimental animals are burned, scalded, poisoned, and staved, subjected to electrical discharges and habituated to drugs. While carrying out a study, scientists induce in animals various diseases such as syphilis, diabetes, arthritis, stomach ulcers, cancer, and AIDS. In experiments for the military purposes, animals are poisoned by gas, cyanide, shot with plastic bullets, and shells. This practice is called vivisection (experiments on living animals: from the Latin words vivus, “lively,” and section, “dissecting.” It is originated in the middle of the XVII century, and today represents one of the black spots on the conscience of mankind since cruel experiments on animals continue to be produced on an industrial scale (Fano, 1997). The concept of animal testing remains controversial among different researchers. Some argue that it is immoral to use animals such as rats, mice, frogs, and other millions of animals for such experiments. In fact, animal experiment attracts sharp and diverse reactions between the opponents and proponents. More so, the notable differences are between animal welfare champions and scientists.
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According to the European Union data, the majority of animals are killed in medical research (65%). Fundamental researches (including military, space ones, etc.) occupy 26%, toxicity tests (cosmetics, new industrial compounds) – 8%, the sphere of education – 1 %. 85% of animal experiments conducted over the past 100 years, are carried in the period from fall 1950; however, the average life expectancy for this period has not changed much, but the amount and danger of chronic diseases continues to grow (Fano, 1997). The recent scandal with the largest German medical concern Bayer – manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, has once again proved that the difference occurring in the human and animal processes makes testing drugs on animals meaningless (Combes et al., 2003). For example, thalidomide was tested successfully on animals and introduced into the drug market in 1956 and later turned out to be ineffective and dangerous. Thalidomide was widely used by expectant women to counter nausea, a vomiting sickness associated with pregnancy (Badge, 2003). In fact, the long term effect of thalidomide was reported as very dangerous, and it was associated with numerous birth defects in children. Though it was banned in 1961, roughly 15,000 victims were affected, and others died (Badge, 2003).
Another typical example of medication that proved successful in animals but failed in human beings was the use of Vioxx as an anti-arthritis drug. This drug was widely tested on animals and humans and later approved by over 70 regulatory agencies across the world. It was later discovered that Vioxx drug caused the heart attack, which led to its withdrawal from the market in 2004. Statistical analysis indicates that out of 80 million cases of heart attack, the drug caused between 88,000 and 139,000 cases with roughly 35 percent of these cases leading to death (Hofer et. al., 2004). From this analogy, it can be concluded that only a few animals are used in testing drugs that are consumed by billions of patients. As a result, the process may not reveal certain side effects that may affect hundreds or thousands of consumers (Watson, 2009). Modern medicine has up to 150 drugs that have been tested on animals and proved to be unsuitable for human beings.
Analysis of the achievements of modern medicine has shown that progress is related to clinical observations of patients and not to experiments on animals. Such results showed clinical trials of hepatitis, rheumatism, fever, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and other. The so-called “war against cancer,” which has begun in 1971, still has no visible success, although the cost experiment with animals exceeded $ 1 billion per year in the U.S. What is more, all the conducted experiments on AIDS issue have been unsuccessful as well (Fano, 1997).
Medication requires huge financial costs, which could be successfully spend on persuading people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Before the pharmacy counter is turned on medicines undergo numerous tests on animals within 15-20 years. At this stage of early clinical trials, 90 % of the products are rejected (Combes et al., 2003). Today, a number of centers stand for the development of alternatives to animal experiments. Embryo eggs, bacteria, physicochemical model of cell culture as well as computer model can be used as an alternative for animals in clinical trials. These methods are cheaper, more effective, rapid, and allow the identification of the toxicity of the test drugs on a deeper level –cellular and subcellular (Fano, 1997).
In addition, animals are tested not only for medical purposes – cosmetics, construction materials, and packaging, the novel compounds produced by industry are also the spheres where vivisection is widely used. Animals breathe vapors from the substance, which concentration is so high that most of them die of poisoning. The most widespread industrial Draize test for cosmetics has the following procedure: the tested product is applied to the rabbit cornea, than the examiner waits until the damage to the cornea occurs. Immobilized rabbit cannot rub the eye, corroded by coated material (Watson, 2009). The animal is released from torment only after opacification and the destruction of the eye. At the end of the experiment, all rabbits are killed in order to determine the effect of toxic substances inside. Another kind of this test is skin irritation: immobilized animal is shaved and the product is applied to damaged skin. Skin damage is performed by tightly clutching the tape to the body of the animal and tearing it sharply. This procedure is repeated several times till several layers of the skin are torn. As it can be seen, these tests are inhuman and animals are subjected to cruel abuse (Combes et. al., 2003).
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Experimental animals are also used during the education process. Although most medical school graduates will never work with animals, students are forced to carry painful trials on animals (Watson, 2009). Experiments on frogs do not cause so strong perturbations in the society as experiments on dogs or cats do. Many people judge the animal pain in its attempts to escape or scream, but rodents and birds, for example, may fade when they hurt, frogs cry when they feel threatened. One can only imagine what feels an amphibian, which is pinned to a piece of rubber and cut the skin on the breast in order to see how the heart beats.
However, some arguments have also been in support of animal experiments. For example, the diabetes disease became treatable after the insulin hormone elimination from pancreas of cows and pigs (Watson, 2009). Researchers must always carry out experiments; however, it will be vital to look for alternative methods that will help reduce the immense use of animals. The reason is that animals have a wider range of similarities in terms of physiological, organ, and tissue system to humans. The similarity between animals and humans outweigh the differences (Fowler & Miller, 2008). Such scientists further argue that certain nature of studies work better and faster in animals than in humans. For instance, genetic and reproductive experiments is less time consuming in animals such as rats, which mature and reproduce faster than humans (Parel, Roberts, & Khan 2007).
To respond to the ethical issues surrounding animal testing, proponents of the experiment argue that researchers give maximum care to the animals and handle them in a friendly manner. Although they are introduced to the new environment, they are always handled with special care. In response to death and injury of animals during research, proponents argue that it is better to use animals than humans. They declare that killing a human being is considered more unethical than killing animals (Watson, 2009).
Animals for experiments come from zoos, specialized nurseries or are bred in special conditions. There are companies engaged in breeding of rodents. There are those who grow about a half million of species per year while the animals are grown under conditions that are not in contact with any viruses. Other companies are suppliers of birds infected with certain diseases: obese guinea pigs, which have no immune system, primates suffering from hemophilia, etc. Many primates are caught in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, South America, and Africa (Watson, 2009). In some cases, only one or two of the ten monkeys caught during transport to the laboratory survive. Many species are now threatened with extinction because of this practice. From 1954 to 1960, more than half a million of primates from around the world paid their freedom and their lives for their contribution to testing vaccines against polio. The U.S. is the largest supplier of primates: 13 to 17,000 species per year (Fano, 1997).
One of the most solid explanations of animal testing cannot be considered as the valid test. The thing is that there are huge physiological differences between humans and any animal, including monkeys, which are considered as human ancestors. From a medical standpoint, it is absolutely impossible to draw a parallel between man and any animal in question of influence of the drug or its components on the body in general or on a specific individual (Combes et al., 2003). Human beings are different from other animals; drugs being safe for human are extremely dangerous for certain experimental animals and vice versa (Parel, Roberts, & Khan, 2007). Moreover, even among the experimental animals, there is no one and concise effect – what harms mice or guinea pigs has no effect on cats or monkeys.
Here are just a few examples of this “incompatibility.” Strychnine, a poisonous substance for humans, is quietly tolerated by guinea pigs and monkeys in large doses, and for chickens in a tenfold increase of the dose. Atropine can kill a human even at 1 mg amount while its effect on the horses, donkeys, and monkeys is not harmful; pigeons, rats, and guinea pigs did not even react to the presence of this substance in the body. One or two hundred grams of scopolamine do no harm a dog or cat, but even half a gram of this substance can cause death in humans. Opium has no effect on chickens and pigeons, and morphine is dangerous for them only in very large quantities, which cannot be said about cats. However, both these substances are widely used in medicine (Fano, 1997).
A human being can go blind from methyl alcohol, and it will not cause any harm to “experimental” animals. Some human painkillers cause profuse salivation incredibly when taken by a cat, and it gives occasion to look her fury. The difference between organisms is so great that all experiments performed with different animals can fundamentally contradict each other, and be absolutely not applicable to humans (Fano, 1997). The close look to modern medicines shows that many vital medicines would never have gotten a right to exist if they were tested on animal. For example, the most widespread antibiotic substance – penicillin – would not ever exist if Alexander Fleming had not given it to his patient, despite the fact that this substance had shown no positive results when tested on animals (Combes, 2003).
However, the situation is not as horrible as it seems to be. There are lots of organizations dealing with animal testing problem. Many countries created the set of laws regulation animal use in the products testing. In 1985, the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) introduced the Code of Ethics containing recommendations for the international biomedical research using animals. In the European Union, in 1986, the Council of Europe adopted the European Convention for the Protection of Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes and the Council Directive of the European Economic Community for the protection of animals in experiments. They reflect all the main provisions of the Code of Ethics CIOMS. In Italy, in 1993, a law was passed, according to which schools were obliged to provide biomedical profile opportunity for the individual willing to study alternative programs, excluding animal experiments. This law was adopted under pressure from the public; in particular, social student organization EuroNICHE actively opposed the use of painful experiments on animals in the learning process and students’ right to receive education without biomedical animal abuse that was supported by numerous animal protection societies. In the United Kingdom, Law on Protection of experimental animals was introduced in 1986. The law provides the implementation of state control over experiments on animals, which is carried by Committee procedures on animals under the Ministry of the Interior. The Committee is formed of scientists, who have extensive experience working with animals, animal advocates and representatives. In the U.S.A., Protection Act for experimental animals was adopted in 1985. The law provides the establishment of ethics committees at each institution that uses animals. Ethical committees hold public control of experiments on animals. They are composed of a veterinarian and independent members. Ethics committees monitor compliance with the provisions of the law, for example, animal welfare, the use of painkillers, and antistress drugs (Fano, 1997).
The experiments on animals in the developed countries adhere to the “Three R”: replacement, reduction, and refinement. It was first proposed in 1959. After improving, it has become increasingly accepted in Europe and America, its position is the basis for laws to protect experimental animals. The concept involves the use of tissue culture cells, the models of isolated organs (e.g., an eyeball), sections of tissues (skin, cornea, kidneys, etc.), and complex biochemical models (e.g., layered model of the cornea, in which skin and eyes, special microporous substrates culture corneal cells as well as human and animal skin are used, they imitated the epidermis and deeper layers) instead of laboratory animals (Watson, 2009). Application of “three R” rule resulted in revision for the system of education in schools and veterinary biomedical profile in Europe and the United States. The learning process should be built so that animals are used only if necessary. The training process should be provided with animal testing alternatives: working with cadaveric material and dummies, videos and computer models, special training programs. Most of the necessary practical training with animals should be carried out as a demonstration, and only when the training requires obtaining special skills.
As it can be seen, despite the fact that all these laws and acts were adopted relatively long time ago, the amount of animals killed due to the cosmetic, education, medical, and chemical need did not significantly decreased. Positive shift in experimental animals’ protection became possible because of social activity of animal advocates. People refused to buy such products and protested. The question of animal testing was even raised in cinematography, for example, there is a famous movie Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld with Reese Witherspoon as the star part. The main topic of this film is the tests of the cosmetics primarily on dogs. The story of the little dog named Bruiser attracted attention to the problem and made the scopes of the problem being widely discussed.
Nowadays, the majority of people do know that animal testing is unethical and illegal. However, they keep buying these products despite considering it as unacceptable. In support of this viewpoint, the survey was conducted.
There were five questions:
- Did you know that the products like household chemicals, medicines, and cosmetics are tested on animals?
- Buying washing powder or cosmetics, do you think of murdered animals that are involved in testing of these products?
- We live in the 21st century with highly developed technology and various computer measures used in science. How do you think, is animal testing still a relevant measure to test products?
- What is your attitude to animal testing?
- In order to make a conclusion, should household chemicals and cosmetics be tested on animals?
Every question has multiple choice of answers, including “I don’t care” to every question. 22 respondents took part in the survey. 90. 91% (20 of 22) confessed that they knew about animal testing phenomenon, and only 2 said that they doubted that animal testing were true. The answers on the second question showed different attitudes: 9.09% knew about the cruel tests, but still bought the considered products, 22.73% tried not to buy them but still did, 27.27% did not buy such products at all, the same amount was indifferent to the conducted tests, and, finally, 13.64% did not know about tests. The third question showed different results as well. 40.91% of participants said that animal testing was still relevant way of testing, 77.7% of respondents believed that computer could not precisely predict the reaction since it was only a machine, and the rest suggested that animal testing was cheaper and easier. 54.55% of respondents considered vivisection non-relevant, and the rest were indifferent. The attitudes to animal tests were mostly negative – 63.64% considered it to be unethical due to various reasons; 27.28% had a positive opinion on vivisection, and 9.09% were indifferent. Finally, the fifth question 54.55% of respondents definitely were against vivisection, 22.73% were for animal testing, 18.18% found it hard to give a clear answer on that question, and 4.55% were indifferent. Obviously, this survey is too brief to show some evident results, but still, the majority of people are against animal testing. The good thing is that that the variant “I don’t care” picked only 1 respondent. The rest 21 participants had a deal with this problem, and this is hopeful. Perhaps, if the survey was major, with a larger amount of respondents and survey questions, the result would be more clear and obvious.
In order to make a conclusion, animal testing is known as the use of animals in experiments and has caused controversies among researchers and common people. Some argue that it is moral while others contend that it is unethical. In fact, the debate about the use of animals in such experiments raises controversies that are yet to be resolved. Even though the proponents think that animals are better to use than humans, it will be significant to look for other alternative ways of testing human medication that does not impede the rights of animals (Hofer et al. 2004). The reason is that animals the same as humans have the right to live. Killing animals because of experiments remains immoral; hence it is vital to have better ways of determining the effectiveness of any kind of human medications. This will lessen the injuries and subsequent death rates of animals. Therefore, the points of the opponents in this argument are stronger than the supporters’ reasons. That is why this cruel trend should be banned as it can harm humans while abusing animals in the process. In my opinion, there is no argument to support animal testing. This means that it is morally incorrect because these innocent animals lose their freedom and life being placed in cages in laboratories. They are still restricted in cages after testing so that scientists can observe their reactions and responses to the test. Additionally, many end up dying because of the cruel and painful tests. The thing is that that the dosage of drugs that are administered are often increased.
Utilitarian Approach and Failure of Animal Testing
Several researchers, including Gruen (2011), have argued that ethics is not an appropriate system that is entirely noble in theory but not good in practice. Deontological approaches were identified, including rights approaches to ethics, as not practical in the real world scenario. Utilitarianism does not commence with rules but with goals, and therefore, it has significant normative specificity. This is because actions are proscribed or prescribed on the degree to which they further define goals. According to Mitchell (2010), utilitarianism is not linked to complexities required in making deontological moral theories, including rights theory, which is applicable in real moral scenarios. Traditional utilitarian approach considers a certain action as a right if it produces as much or more of an increase in happiness of all affected by it. These views about the nature of rights theory have profound effects on the rights of animals. In this regard, this paper discusses utilitarian approach and failure of animal testing.
Utilitarianism deploys aggregation of benefits and harms in order to determine the right course of action. This might appear quite appealing because it reduces moral choices to simple arithmetic (Wolff, 2006). Nevertheless, how does an individual quantify benefits and harms, particularly in dealing with animal research? For instance, development of cardiovascular bypass integrated innumerable animal experiments, which is an enormous harm. However, it eventually resulted in success of open-heart surgery, which is an enormous benefit. The utilitarian calculation or argument might conclude that this was a justifiable use of animals.
By claiming that bettering condition of animals, for example, by curing their diseases, could justify an experiment, Gruen (2011), takes an absolutist approach to animals and their rights. In addition, Gruen (2011), also acknowledges that there are variations between sentient species. Overall, humans are at extreme end of the spectrum of species yet they have a sophisticated language skills, an awareness of others, self-awareness and the ability to plan. As a result, they might have preference over other species. Just like humans, nonhuman primates might have preference over rodents.
On the other hand, Mitchell (2010), has argued that animals also have rights. The life of an animal has intrinsic value to that animal, and bestows moral status to those individuals. Human beings have no mandate to exploit other animals regardless of the possible gains to human beings. Mitchell (2010), stated that the best we can do with regard to animals is not to use them for testing. Other philosophers have also fought in favor of animals on the grounds of contractarianism and reverence for life concepts. Though such concepts seem to have not received proper attention from the researchers.
Human Rights, Animals Rights
The debate concerning the ethics experiments involving animals, resides on the issue of moral association between nonhumans and humans (Wolff, 2006). Over the centuries, Western philosophers have viewed humans from different perspective to the rest of the animal kingdom. For instance, Aristotle believed that there was a hierarchy of animals, with human beings at the top of it. According to Aristotle, humans were at the top due to ability to reason and rational thinking. Even within humans, there is hierarchy, with men being considered more rational than women. Descartes, on the other hand, considered nonhumans to be insentient machines. As a result, they could not feel pain. Because of this reason, they could be exploited ruthlessly. Other philosophers, such as Kant, acknowledged that animals could suffer, though they lack moral status. According to Wolff (2006), Jeremy Bentham, who lived in the 18th century, predicted that the time when the animals might acquire those rights that could have been withheld from them.
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The way we treat nonhuman creatures, especially animals, indicates a distinction we make between humans, whom we consider as individuals, and nonhumans, whom we consider as things. Though one might consider some animals as having certain special features, we consider all those features to be dependent and tradable based on the judgment that the sacrifice of the features will benefit us. According to Mitchell (2010), this trade is often permissible even when the animal interest is significant and the human interest is admittedly unimportant. The use of animals for the purposes of entertainment such as rodeos or circuses reflects such scenarios where human interest seems to be more significant than animal interest. It is known that animals are neither persons under the law nor in moral theory. They are property, which implies that they exist solely as means to human disposure. According to Mitchell (2010), they have interests, which cannot be sacrificed, even when the benefit to be gained by human is mere amusement at the cost of great pain to the animal.
On the other hand, persons refer to precisely those beings, such as corporations, having interest, which can be traded for consequential reasons alone. An example of person is de jure person, which implies that their personhood exists solely because they result from creation of the legal system. However, every person has at least some interests, though not essentially similar interests, which are safeguarded by both law and moral theory. According to Gruen (2011), these interests are safeguarded even if trading them will cause consequences that deemed to be desirables.
It is thought to believe that the theory of animal rights seeks to shift at least certain nonhuman to human side. The two reasons can support this movement. The first reason is that those supporting animal exploitation argue that nonhuman is qualitatively different from humans. As a result, animals can be classified as nonhumans (Gruen, 2011). However, animal rights proponents have argued that there is no such difference since some nonhumans will be in possession of the supposedly exclusive characteristic. It is not enough to argue that the difference of species alone is morally justified; after all, to depend on species alone as morally justified is to presume a difference that requires to be proved by individuals holding such views. Secondly, it is apparent some animals have certain characteristics that we often link to personhood. For instance, Gruen (2011), argues that empirical and theoretical considerations show that some animals possess desires, memory, intention, self-consciousness and sense of future. Attribution of several of these mental conditions shows that it is sensibly perfect to consider certain animals as psychological individuals faring well or ill during the course of their life. Since animals have desires, and the capacity to act in pursuit of their goals, they might also be considered to have preference autonomy, which is a significant characteristic for attribution of rights.
A popular misconception is that animal activists argue that animals be granted similar rights as human beings. (Wolff, 2006). In addition, the criticism itself shows a primary confusion concerning the tights theory. In several ways, the animal rights theory is concerned about the inclusion of nonhumans on the humans. This inclusion should be differentiated from the matter of the scope of any rights that animals might have once we move them from the nonhuman side to human side. However, there is one sense that considering animals as persons is extremely different from considering addition humans within that class. If we acknowledge that an individual is not a “thing”, the protection we have given that individual is at the same time significant, but also the bare minimum to differentiate that individual from being a thing. Saying that an animal is included in the category of persons says nothing concerning the scope of the tights the animals might have other than saying that we will safeguard the rights of that animal in order to acquire personhood status (Gruen, 2011).
Certain counterarguments hinge on whether animals are moral beings. Mitchell (2010), concluded that only autonomous beings have rights. As a result, animals fail to meet the requirements specified for being full members of moral community, and therefore, they fail to qualify for rights. From the same perspective, we need to distinguish non-moral from moral beings. Moral beings exist within a web of obligations and reciprocal rights created by their own dialogue. On the contrary, non-moral beings exist outside that web. Mitchell (2010), pointed out that it is both cruel and senseless to try binding non-moral beings into the web. Despite animals having no rights, we have duties and obligations to them. Mitchell (2010), also draws a division line between wild animals and those that man has made dependent on him. Certain form of contractualism provides us with the most appropriate approach to moral theory. From the moral theory discussed below, animals will be denied moral standings. Part of the problems experienced, when invoking the moral theory in solving ethical problems of animal experimentation, is the propensity to use address it using a single theoretical construct, be it contractualism or utilitarianism, which is a rights-based, or any other. In the place of both contractualism and utilitarianism, an approach similar to that deployed in resolving ethical dilemmas in clinical practice might be helpful.
In order to assess claims concerning the normative indeterminacy of the rights theory, two distinct components or levels of moral theory will be discussed in this paper. Comparative normative guidance of the deontological and utilitarian approaches in relation to every component will also be explored (Mitchell, 2010). The first level or component of moral theory is what the theory preferably seeks. The second level offers a normative guidance to the personal level with regard to what they theory ideally requires.
Ideal and Micro Component of Moral Theory
This component of moral theory requires that we ask what the theory envisages as the appropriate state, which would be attained if the theory under consideration was accepted. For animal activists, the moral theory is a theory of abolition, and not regulation of institutional exploitation. Animal activists object to the treatment of animals exclusively as means to ends. As a result, they object to the property status of animals to be bargained away provided there is some kind of human benefit involved, which allows all their interests, such as their basic interest in physical security that is a requirement to meaningful acceptance of other interests (Mitchell, 2010). This would require complete abolition of those forms of animal exploitation, which are reliant on the status of animals.
According to this component of moral theory, animal exploitation is unjust to the animals. The rights theory is considerably clear about this component of moral theory. As the rights theory condemns the institutionalized exploitation of nonhumans, it also condemns direct participation in exploitation of animals (Mitchell, 2010). If an individual proposes the abolition of human slavery due to its unjustness, that individual would seemingly conclude that ownership by a master is violative of the rights. Likewise, an individual exploiting animals by using them for experiments or eating their meat also perpetrates suffering among animals.
However, a difficult moral issue remains unsolved. It is not possible to avoid participating in institutionalized exploitation of animals, because almost each aspect of our lives is some way linked to institutionalized animal exploitation. As such, animal activists and rights advocate are faced with difficult decisions, for instance, as to whether to utilize drugs tested on animals.
Utilitarian theory is different from traditional animal welfare because it considers the long-term animal liberation. The long-term goal is more progressive than the conventional Welfarist approach provided every one of us agree on how to describe the competing interest. According to Wolff (2006), utilitarian theory is the same as animal welfare since it demands that we balance the interests of human beings against the interests of animals under circumstances threatening to compromise evaluation of animal interests in any event.
Macro Component of Moral Theory
In order to assess the claim that animal rights is unrealistic, absolutist or utopian, we must examine the macro aspects of rights theory. Finding a single instance in which the advocates of animal rights support the concept that there is any possibility of immediate action, which will lead to the immediate abolition of all institutionalized exploitation is a difficult task (Wolff, 2006). The only way that such an effort could succeed is if we were willing to rise up in violent confrontation given the large numbers of people participating in institutionalized exploitation. However, if there is sufficient numbers of people to make such scenario, the confrontation would be unnecessary, because people would be capable of effecting dramatic changes in treatment of animals via political means.
According to Gruen (2011), nothing in the rights theory essentially precludes the animal advocate from pursuing judicial change or incremental legislative. However, it is hard to think that we can speak meaningfully of legal rights for animals only if they are considered property. In order to put the issue in the context of my earlier discussion of basic rights, only if animals are property, then their rights or those that are a requirement for the enjoyment of other non-basic rights can be sacrificed provided some benefit is found to exist. If we can kill animals for food, use them for experimentation, imprison animals in cages at zoos for amusement, or shoot them for fun, then saying that animals have rights is merely an abstract sense. According to Gruen (2011), basic rights are a requirement to enjoyment of non-basic rights. In addition, possession of non-basic in the absence of basic rights is useless.
The opponents would respond that each movement achieves rights incrementally. For instance, Gruen (2011), cited that progress is made incrementally in social movement via continual reform. Gruen (2011), tried to compare the incremental progress made in social movement to the incremental progress made towards obliteration of exploitation of animals. This attempt failed to for the reason that no other circumstance is comparable with regard to the baseline protection afforded to nonhumans. To put the issue differently, once we have individuals who are holders of basic rights, it makes sense to talk about making incremental reforms in rights.
Animal Testing and Ethics
According to the opponents of animal testing, pain is an inherent evil, and any action causing pain to another creature, whether human or nonhuman, is not morally allowed. With regard to Wolff (2006), who is a utilitarian, animal activists claim that the moral question concerning animals is neither whether they can reason, nor whether they can talk. A researcher who forces rats to choose between starvation and electric shocks, in order to see if they can suffer from ulcers, does so, since he or she knows that rats have a similar nervous system as that of human. Pain is inherently an evil, whether witnessed by an adult, an animal or a child. If it is not right to inflict pain on people, it is also wrong to inflict pain on nonhumans.
In addition, it is suggested that the lives of creatures, both small and large, have value and should be respected. The right to be treated with respect does not rely on the capability to reason. Just like an insane should be treated with respect despite inability to act rationally, animals should also be treated with respect, this does not involve people exploiting animals and depriving them of their right to life. The right to treatment with respect rests on a creature being a subject of life, with certain preferences, experiences and interests. Like human beings, animals are subjects of life.
Painful animal testing is not morally permissible. Utilitarianism does not commence with rules but with goals, and therefore, it has significant normative specificity. Utilitarian approach might appear quite appealing because it reduces moral choices to simple arithmetic. The way people treat nonhuman creatures, especially animals, indicates a distinction they make between humans, whom we consider as individuals, and nonhumans, whom we consider as things. There are certain counterarguments that hinge on whether animals are moral beings. The macro component of moral theory requires that we ask what the theory envisages as the appropriate state, which would be attained if the theory under consideration was accepted. Finally, issue can be supported by claiming that most scientific research involving animal testing has no scientific merit, since most scientific experiments are performed out of curiosity. Animals are shocked, burned, stared and poisoned as researchers look for information that might result in human benefit.