To Test or Not to Test: Ethics in Animal Testing

To Test or Not to Test: Ethics in Animal Testing

Student Name

GEN 499 General Education Capstone

Professor Millie Jones

November 16, 2050*

*This sample paper was adapted by the Writing Center from an original paper by a stu- dent. Used by permission.


To Test or Not to Test: Ethics in Animal Testing

The subject of animal testing raises questions of necessity. Animal testing is

something that has been done for many years for several different reasons. It has been

used since the dawn of medicine by physicians and scientists. From biomedical research

to testing cosmetics, people claim that animal testing is necessary to benefit people in sa-

tiating their need for certain products as well as saving lives. There is an idea that animals

are the best way to find treatments and cures for people, but the treatment of animals is of

concern for some members of society. Society is feeling more and more that animals

have as much right to live freely in this world as humans do, and our obligation to see to

this makes animal testing a societal problem. Due to these concerns and others, there

have been several laws and acts formed to protect animals and minimize their suffering.

And with the advances of technology and other discoveries, the question of the necessity

of animal testing is becoming an issue for animal activists and lovers everywhere. The

future of medicine and biomedical research should not rely on animals for testing. In-

stead, we should use alternative testing methods and work toward making different life-

style choices. These solutions create the ethical outcome of ending the suffering of these

animals, which will have a positive influence on society and culture.


Animal testing has been deemed necessary for many reasons. Animal testing has

been done to determine the safety of household cleaning products, cosmetics including

The introduction should introduce your topic and share the societal problem that you see. At the end of the introduction, you should state your thesis, which should include your proposed solution to the problem. You may also state the positive ethical effects of your proposed solution.

The introduction ends with a the-

sis statement that includes the

student’s pro- posed solu- tion(s) to the societal prob- lem. She also

has included the positive ethical outcome of the


The introduction includes a very brief discussion of why this is a

societal problem.


} Use section headers for

each of the major sections of your paper.


Here, the student is

introducing the topic of animal testing to the


This first body section of your paper should provide some background

information on your topic and discuss why this is a societal problem.


skin care, shampoo and makeup, as well as biomedical research that provides medicine

and treatments for humans and pets alike. The BioIndustry Association (2002) argues that

“Animal research has made a vital contribution to the development of medicines that save

many lives every day” (Taylor, 2005, p. 7). In 1938 Congress passed the Food, Drug and

Cosmetic Act because of public demands after tragic incidents involving an untested

product (Why Do Companies Test Cosmetics or Other Products on Animals?, 2013).

There have been many arguments and evidence that shows the “good” that animal re-

search has done in regards to biomedical research. Studies involving dogs, rats, rabbits,

cats, chickens, pigs and sheep have all helped to contribute to the understanding of heart

disease. Drugs and vaccines that can be a possible solution to the devastating HIV/AIDS

virus are present due to the tests that have been performed on chickens, cats and monkeys

with a similar virus. Animals have been used as models for research for almost every dis-

ease that is known to man (Lee, 2015). If animal testing has contributed to creating drugs

for diseases as serious as cancer and HIV/AIDS, naturally animals are being used to find

cures and treatments for many other diseases and sicknesses.

Therefore, how could animal testing be wrong? Indeed, research has shown that

animal testing is helpful to progress in the field of medicine and biomedical research as

well as developing treatments that are yielding promising results. However, it comes with

a high cost. It comes with the cost of animals being subjected to tests that put them

through distress and can harm or kill them. Humans and animals are both sentient beings;

sentient meaning a person or being that has feelings or that can feel (Sentient, 2015). Re-

search shows that 37% percent of animals used for science suffer moderate to severe

stress and discomfort or severe pain (National Statistics, 2014). When it comes to using

This paragraph discusses the first reason that ani- mal testing is a societal problem and provides evi- dence to support this.

Reason #1

In this paragraph, the student has given the reader

some background information on the



animals for science and experimentation, people tend to focus on the fact that non-human

animals are inferior to humans. Regardless of whether or not this is true it does not take

away from the fact that animals are sentient and that they experience pain and seek pleas-

ure. Animals and people react to pain in similar ways by screaming or trying to avoid the

source of the pain. “The American Veterinary Association defines animal pain as an un-

pleasant sensory and emotional experience perceived as arising from a specific region of

the body and associated with actual or potential tissue damage” (Dunnuck, n.d, para. 6).

Some of the animals used in biomedical research are not given any pain relief. They are

subjected to painful conditions and physical procedures that leave them in intense cold or

heat, or have limbs crushed and spinal cords damaged (Callanan, 2009). Pain and suffer-

ing are unique to every individual. Every person’s and even animal’s pain threshold is

different. However, evidence clearly shows the pain that is experienced by these animals

is experienced the same way that it is in humans.

Physical pain is unfortunately not the only problem that these animals undergo.

Psychological distress, fear, and sadness have been demonstrated amongst a wide variety

of species (Ferdowisiann & Beck, 2011). The use of chimpanzees and other primates for

animal testing has generated a lot of controversy because of their similarities to humans.

Ironically enough, it is also the reason that so many researchers have wanted to use them

as models. Indeed chimpanzees are highly emotional and intelligent creatures that are

evolutionarily and genetically similar to human beings. This is the argument of research-

ers that makes them great candidates for biomedical research. Philosophy Department

Chair Lori Gruen states, “They’re very similar to us in terms of their emotional lives and

This next para- graph discusses a second reason that animal testing is a societal prob- lem and again provides evidence to support this.

Reason #2


their intellectual and physical and social experiences, and using them in painful, invasive

ways is to harm them; they don’t consent to it” (Lee, 2015, p. 3).

Besides the obvious reasons of the pain and suffering that these animals feel, there

is the question of the necessity for animal testing in regards to medical advances. Despite

the increasing number of technological alternatives to animal testing, over 100 million

animals are legally used for animal experiments each year for medical research alone. In

2007, England, Wales and Scotland used 3.1 million animals for genetic and biomedical

experimentation (Callanan, 2009). In October of 2006 attendees of the opening day of the

Joint World Congress for Stroke in Cape Town, South Africa were devastated at the fail-

ure of a drug that was intended for ischemic stroke. The drug, NXY-059, had reached

phase III of clinical trials and failed to do what the animals used for the research had

promised. The drug was supposed to “stop the cascade of the necrosis in the event of a

stroke, and protect the remaining viable brain cells” (Gawrylewski, 2007, para. #). Direc-

tor of Michigan Alzheimer’s Diseases Research Center in the Department of Neurology

at the University of Michigan Sid Gilman says that one of the major faults in the trials for

NXY-059 was its use of animal models (Gawrylewski, 2007). Besides the millions of

dollars wasted, there was a waste of life and unnecessary use of animals for painful re-

search. This is one of many examples of disappointing let-downs of drugs that were test-

ed on animals that did not work.


Considering the horrific psychological and physical pain that animals have to go

through in the midst of testing for biomedical research, alternative testing methods are in

Reason #3

This paragraph discusses a third reason that ani- mal testing is a problem.

Evidence is used to support this.

Solution #1

This next section of your paper is where you will discuss your proposed solu- tion(s) to the problem.


order. According to Callanan (2009), there has been much successful research and many

tests done to help find treatments for diseases and sicknesses that have plagued humans

and did not involve animal testing. Many scientists have started and are continuing to de-

velop alternate ways to test and find treatments for people because they do not want to

harm animals. Some of these new developments include cell cultures, analytical technol-

ogy, micro-organisms, computer models, population research, and volunteer studies. Cell

cultures have contributed to the understanding of cancer, Parkinson’s, and HIV/AIDS.

Analytical technology uses equipment that selects anti-cancer and anti-malaria drugs be-

cause of the reaction it produces with DNA. Computer models are allowing for virtual

experiments to be conducted (Callanan, 2009). Tissue engineering is also an alternative to

animal testing. It uses a 3-D skin equivalent that is physiologically comparable to skin. It

investigates wound healing melanoma research, infection biology, analysis of infection,

invasion of different pathological microorganisms and immunological, histological, and

molecular-biological analysis. This study has been inspired by economical and ethical

incentive (Mertsching et al, 2008). Animals are subjects for painful and uncomfortable

vaccine success for human diseases. However, some researchers have begun to rely only

on human data, cells and tissue. As far as vaccine development goes, researchers have set

up a surrogate in-vitro human immune system to help predict an individual’s immune re-

sponse to certain drugs and vaccines. This test has been compared with data from animal

experimentation and has proven to produce more accurate pre-clinical data (Ferdowsian

& Beck, 2011). This evidence shows that alternative ways to test treatments are in fact

possible and even better, making testing on animals more of a choice than a necessity.

In this paragraph, the student dis- cusses her first solution. You can see that she used several pieces of evi- dence to support her argument that this solution is viable.


Along with alternatives to animal testing, there are alternative lifestyle choices

that can prevent people from having to use the drugs that are being tested on animals.

Naturally there are some things that are out of people’s control including genetics and

accidents that cause serious bodily harm. However, there is the choice to exercise, eat

healthy, and engage in healthy behavior and activities that will prevent a lot of diseases

that call for people to use some of the drugs that tested on animals. Complementary and

alternative as well as integrative healthcare include preventative healthcare, and natural

remedies to help treat the physical body as well as treating the mental state. Having better

habits can help to eliminate some of the issues that these medicines that torture animals

can be good for. For instance, headaches and migraines are a common problem unfortu-

nately. According to the International Headache Society, 46% of the adult population suf-

fers from regular headaches 11% suffers from migraines while about 46% suffers from

tension headaches (as cited in Adams & Lui, 2013). Also noted is that the most common

way that people treat headaches and migraines is through conventional medicines that

include acetaminophen, acetylsalicylic, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that

may cause a plethora of issues including dry mouth, constipation, seizures, and weight

gain. These are also some of the things that they induce animals with in order to see if the

drugs they are giving out work. There are several different alternative methods to treating

headaches in migraine including drinking more water, having a healthier diet, acupunc-

ture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. These are all cruelty

free and have been shown to help people (Adams & Lui, 2013). Again, these alternative

and preventative treatments offer a solution to the problem of animal testing.

Solution #2 In this paragraph, the student dis- cusses her second proposed solution.

You can see that she used several pieces of evi- dence to support her argument that this solution is viable.


Evaluation of the Evidence

The evidence used here is all valid and reliable and without bias. The majority of

sources used here are scholarly, peer-reviewed articles which makes them both valid and

reliable. There are also a few sources used here that would be considered popular sources.

However, the information used from these sources is valid and reliable because these

sources are secondary sources where the evidence used from them was provided by relia-

ble organizations. For example, one source (Sentient, 2015) was used only to provide a

definition to the reader for background information. This definition is valid and reliable.

Another source (Why Do Companies Test Cosmetics or Other Products on Animals,

2013) was used to provide background information on the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmet-

ic Act, which is also valid and reliable information. A third source was also used to pro-

vide a definition for background information (Dunnuck, n.d). This definition is from the

American Veterinary Association and is valid and reliable. While some of the sources can

be seen as having biases, I do not feel that any of the evidence presented here from these

sources is biased in any way. For example, some of the authors may very well feel

strongly that animals should not be tested, but the evidence used was not based solely on

opinion. Instead, it was based on facts, studies, and experts in the field. For this reason, I

do not feel that the evidence used here contains biases. The real strength of each of my

sources is that they did include valid and reliable evidence and they were not simply ap-

pealing to the emotions of the reader. The main weakness of the sources is that some

failed to provide alternative viewpoints to their argument.

In this section evaluate all of the evidence you used by discussing the validity, reliability, and any biases. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your sources. Interpret and discuss the statistical data you used and explain it to your reader. You may even want to use visual representations such as graphs or charts to show statistics. Then, point out the limitations of current research and attempt to indicate areas for future research.

Be sure to use a topic sentence for each of your

body paragraphs to indicate the focus of the paragraph.

The student has discussed why the evi- dence used in the paper is valid and reli- able and has discussed several sources indi- vidually to show this.

Here, the stu- dent discusses any possible biases of the evidence pre- sented in the paper.

Strengths and weaknesses of the sources are also pre- sented.


Several of the sources provide statistical data that needed to be interpreted. The

statistic from National Statistics (2014) about the percentage of animals for science that

suffer can be seen in the following graph:

This statistical evidence shows that while there are certainly animals used for research

that are not suffering, more than 37% are suffering, which is more than a third of all of

these animals. These statistics provide evidence that show a concrete percentage of the

suffering that is occurring.

The future of biomedical research can continue to make advances without causing

harm and suffering to sentient beings. However, more research will need to be done to

find additional alternatives and to make the most out of the current alternatives. There is

also limited research on preventative measures of healthcare related to the issue of animal

testing. It would be useful to see more correlation studies done on preventative medicine

and a drop in the need for biomedical testing.

In this paragraph, the student inter- prets statistical data from a source and also provides a graph to show a visual representation of this data. Be sure to cite any visual data that you include.

Here, the stu- dent states some of the limitations of current re- search on the topic and/or areas where more research is needed.


Ethical Outcomes of Solution

The issue about the physical and emotional pain that animals feel during animal

testing has been considered by supporters a “necessary evil.” This offers insight to a utili-

tarian view of why we use animals for testing purposes. Utilitarianism is the idea that

when there is a choice between two acts, the one chosen should yield the greatest amount

of happiness for the greatest number of people (Mosser, 2013). There is an obvious corre-

lation with this way of thinking when it comes to animal research. Throughout different

studies involving the opinions and thoughts on animal testing, people use words like “re-

grettably” or phrases like “necessary evil.” The BioIndustry Association (2002) states,

“If we are to develop effective new treatments against mass killers such as cancer and

heart disease, regrettably [animal testing] will continue to be necessary for the foreseea-

ble future” (Taylor, 2005, p. 7). The utilitarian view claims that despite whether people’s

acts are morally right or wrong, the results, consequences, or effects of the acts shown

will determine the morality of what is done (Regan, 1997). The theory of utilitarianism

shows that ending animal testing would lead to a negative outcome for society because it

could cause more people to suffer.

Ending animal suffering is clearly a positive ethical outcome, and the solutions of

alternative testing and alternative lifestyles can create this outcome. One of the issues that

animal activist have with this practice is that animals are sentient beings who feel and are

very aware of what is happening to them. They feel pain and fear in knowing that they

are being harmed. It has been shown in research and is no secret that animals are sentient

and feel pain and react to pain virtually the same way that humans do. It presents an ethi-

cal dilemma because animal testing inflicts pain, suffering, and death to non-consenting

This first para- graph of this sec- tion shares an argument that could be consid- ered a negative ethical outcome to her proposed so- lutions.

This second par- agraph of this section shares an argument that could be consid- ered a positive ethical outcome to her proposed so- lutions.

Negative Outcomes

Positive Outcomes

For this section of the paper, the stu- dent discusses ethical arguments for and against implementing her proposed solutions. In this section, you can refer to ethical theories as well as your own personal ideas about what is ethical or unethical.


sentient beings (Masterton, 2014). Their lives obviously mean something to them due to

the noticeable depression they are in when under the conditions of tortuous research. Re-

gardless of the good that animal testing has done, it does not take away from the fact that

pain and suffering is involved to the beings that are a part of it. Using alternative testing

practices and adopting alternative lifestyles of preventative care can help eliminate the

need for harming animals in the name of medicine.

The positive ethical outcome of ending the suffering of animals in the name of

medicine outweighs the argument that testing animals provides the greatest good for the

greatest number. The reason for this is that the argument for the negative ethical outcome

can actually be avoided by using alternative testing measures. We can still continue to

test medicines and treatments without the use of animals. Scientist and researchers alike

are developing and testing new alternatives without having to set back all of the hard

work that has already been done and these alternatives have been successful. Finding

ways to treat and heal alternatively removes the horror of animal testing. Therefore, this

“necessary” evil is not necessary after all. And the greatest good for the greatest number

can still be reached without making animals suffer. Also, the solution of changing our

lifestyles to prevent needing so much medicine will lead to the greatest good for the

greatest number as well.


While animal testing is a social concern for our society and culture, there are

ways that we can and should work to eliminate this. One major way to do this is by re-

searching and investing in alternative testing measures. There are alternatives that cur-

rently exist and are being used, but this needs to continue at a greater rate. The cost of

In this section, summarize the main points made in your paper.

Here, the stu- dent has shown a rationale for why her pro- posed solution will produce a positive ethical outcome.



delaying this is the unnecessary suffering of innocent animals. We should also continue

with the current trend of investing in preventative healthcare such as living a healthy life-

style to help eliminate illnesses and the need for medicines. We now know more than ev-

er about the benefits and risks of certain foods, products, and behaviors and we are in a

greater position to use this for the good of all living beings. This is an important issue to

tackle because the way that we treat those who are not in a position of power, such as an-

imals, reflects on our identity and who we are as a culture and a society. Our character is

in question if we continue to allow unnecessary suffering to animals to happen.

The student ends her pa- per by stating why this is an important conversation.



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