The Instigator
Paramountdesktop
Con (against)
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93 Points
The Contender
TheoreticalReality
Pro (for)
Losing
77 Points

Animal Testing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/30/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 17,255 times Debate No: 5208
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (26)

 

Paramountdesktop

Con

Animal testing is a cruel and should be abolished.

Apropos animal testing, what a deplorable procedure a vivisection is. Every year, tens of millions of animals are dissected, infected, injected, gassed, burned and blinded in hidden laboratories on college campuses and research facilities throughout the U.S.

Of course there are benefits, but why should innocent animals have to suffer? The answer is: an animal's life is considered less valuable than a human's. Why?

Animals veritably do not have a lesser capacity for pain then humans. Although it may sound anthropomorphic, animals can suffer emotionally. When an animal is separated from its young it grieves. Of course an animal can suffer pain. Most animals have the same pain sensory receptors that humans do.

So why are they considered less valuable than humans?
Animals don't have a voice and can't represent themselves in our society.

Because of that, they must accept whatever fate humans impose on them.

If anything, humans should be tested on because humans have the privilege of choice and can voluntarily volunteer their bodies.

This too, however, is unacceptable. I propose that, with all of the technology we have at our fingertips, maybe a new solution could be innovated.
TheoreticalReality

Pro

Without specifying the "new solution" you suggest, we must assume that abolishing the practice of animal testing will either result in no testing for those products or testing on humans, at least for the time being. I will therefore argue that animal testing for medical research is worthwhile and more ethical than its abolition.

Starting with your first point:
"So why are they considered less valuable than humans?"

-Instead of debating whether animal's experiences are equal to human experience, I will try to point out how human life is more valuable by assuming first that it isn't. If human life was equal or inferior to animal life, which is what you would logically conclude if it wasn't MORE valuable, then we would assume that animal lives would be worth more than a a lesser number of human lives. For example, if you were forced to choose between sacrificing the life of one person or of three people, you would choose the one person if you had no obligations to prefer one life over the others. So in the same way, if you were forced to choose between one human life and several animal lives, for example, three fish, you should give preference to the higher number if you truly believed in the equality of humans and animals. No ethical person would kill a human being for the sake of three fish, and everyone would agree that it is the better decision.

"If anything, humans should be tested on because humans have the privilege of choice and can voluntarily volunteer their bodies."

Despite the ability of humans to give informed consent, voluntary human testing cannot be a replacement for animal testing, especially for medical research. Drugs are tested on animal to ensure their safety or effectiveness in treating a particular disease. Very few, if any, people would volunteer for testing like this because of the risks involved to their health and even to their lives. Researchers would have to offer some sort of incentive, such as money. This would single out the economically disadvantaged for testing, another kind of discrimination, and also raise the costs of medical research and possibly the drugs themselves. Even without the negative consequences of recruiting volunteers in this manner, the testing itself would bring immeasurable harm to the participants.

And finally:
"I propose that, with all of the technology we have at our fingertips, maybe a new solution could be innovated."

The precise reason you would need to test out drugs is to observe effects that you were unable to predict. Advancements in medicine that allow us to predict negative side effects without testing, but we still perform testing for the "just in case." You would need to know absolutely everything to eliminate the need for testing, and until we can predict with absolute certainty, we will always need that "just in case."
Debate Round No. 1
Paramountdesktop

Con

"So in the same way, if you were forced to choose between one human life and several animal lives, for example, three fish, you should give preference to the higher number if you truly believed in the equality of humans and animals. No ethical person would kill a human being for the sake of three fish, and everyone would agree that it is the better decision."
Of course, because of the inherent nature of every species to protect their own species, the answer to that question is obvious: kill the fishes. But does that signify that the value of the animal's life is any less? No. It means that humans purely have the instinctual predilection to protect members of their own kind, as do fish have the predilection to protect members of their own kind

I would also like to introduce scientific points to supplement my ethical points about why we should not experiment on animals.
Animals not only react differently than humans to different drugs, vaccines, and experiments, they also react differently from one another. Ignoring this difference has been and continues to be very costly to human health.

Examples:
The most famous example of the dangers of animal testing is the Thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s and 1970s. Thalidomide, which came out on the German market late in the 1950s, had previously been safety tested on thousands of animals. It was marketed as a wonderful sedative for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and it supposedly caused no harm to either mother or child. Despite this "safety testing", at least 10,000 children whose mothers had taken Thalidomide were born throughout the world with severe deformities.

Clioquinol is another example of a drug that was safety tested in animals and had a severely negative impact on humans. This drug, manufactured in Japan in the 1970s, was marketed as providing safe relief from diarrhea. Not only did Clioquinol not work in humans, it actually caused diarrhea. As a result of Clioquinol being administered to the public, some 30,000 cases of blindness and/or paralysis and thousands of deaths occurred.

You claim that if animal research is discontinued, it will be at the expense of human health and life. Industry groups, such as Americans for Medical Progress credit animal research with advances such as the development of the polio vaccine, anesthesia, and the discovery of insulin. But a close examination of medical history clearly disputes these claims.

Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Albert Sabin, are credited with the development of a vaccine to combat poliomyelitis (polio). Yet in the medical industry itself there remains a dispute as to the means by which the development of the polio vaccine occurred and whether or not the vaccine even played a major role in stopping the virus. Dr. John Enders, Dr.Thomas H. Weller, and Dr. Frederick C. Robbins won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for proving for the first time that it was possible to grow poliovirus in laboratory cultures of non-nervous-system human tissue. This team stopped just short of creating the polio vaccine that would be released to the public. Around the time Enders, Weller, and Robbins won the Nobel Prize, Sabin and Salk began using monkey kidney cells to produce their polio vaccines despite the existence of better alternatives. It was unknown at the time that viruses commonly found in monkey kidney cells are now known to cause cancer in humans.

The claim that the polio vaccine was developed through the use of animal experimentation is misleading. Furthermore, as far as the benefits are concerned, there is ample evidence demonstrating the harmful effects the polio vaccine has had on human health. Deborah Blum, in her 1984 book, The Monkey Wars, wrote, "In the late 1980s, scientists tracking the life histories of 59,000 pregnant women all vaccinated with Salk polio vaccine found that their offspring had a thirteen times higher rate of brain tumors than those who did not receive the vaccine." (pg. 229) Many historians believe that the decline in cases in polio, like many epidemics of the past, must be attributed to factors such as improved hygiene and not solely vaccination.

Animal research is not aiding the fight against cancer. In fact, it is diverting resources from effective research and from the most obvious solution which is prevention. According to the National Cancer Institute, 80% of all cancers are preventable. Clinical observation and epidemiological studies have shown us that high fat diets, smoking, environmental pollutants, and other lifestyle factors are the main causes of cancer.

Moneim A. Fadali, M.D., in his book, Animal Experimentation: A Harvest of Shame, reports:

"Despite screening over half a million compounds as anti-cancer agents on laboratory animals between 1970-1985, only 80 compounds moved into clinical trials on humans. Of these, a mere 24 had any anti-cancer activity and only 12 appeared to have a 'substantial clinical role.' Actually, these so-called 'new' active agents were not so new: they are analogs of chemotherapeutic agents already known to work in humans." (pg.25)

The progress that has been made in the study of AIDS has come from human clinical investigation and in vitro (cell and tissue culture) research. Animal models continue to be used even though they do not develop the human AIDS virus. The development of life saving protease inhibitors was delayed by misleading monkey data. Referring to efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine, leading AIDS researcher Dr. Mark Feinberg stated: "What good does it do you to test something in a monkey? You find five or six years from now that it works in the monkey, and then you test it in humans and you realize that humans behave totally differently from monkeys, so you've wasted five years".

Clearly, if we are going to make medical progress, a new approach is needed. Human medicine can no longer be based on veterinary medicine. It is fraudulent and dangerous to apply data from one species to another. There are endless examples of the differences between humans and non-human animals.

1. PCP is a sedative for chimps
2. Penicillin kills cats and guinea pigs but has saved many human lives.
3. Arsenic is not poisonous to rats, mice, or sheep.
4. Morphine is a sedative for humans but is a stimulant for cats, goats, and horses.
5. Digitalis while dangerously raising blood pressure in dogs continues to save countless cardiac patients by lowering heart rate.

The National Institutes of Health alone pours well over five billion dollars annually into superfluous animal experimentation. Abolishing animal research will mean these resources could be redirected into prevention and the types of research which actually have a chance of advancing human medicine and human health.

There is no basic connection between animal testing and the human health. The general belief in the goodness of animal testing is basically the result of brainwashing that the general public has been subjected to for a long, long time. Behind these torturous practices are the pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars on financing and publicizing the research universities and institutes.

Clearly, if you we are looking to make any progress in medicine, an entirely new approach is required. Human medicine should no longer be dependent on veterinary medicine. It is dangerous and fraudulent to apply data retrieved from one species to another entirely different species.
TheoreticalReality

Pro

"...humans purely have the instinctual predilection to protect members of their own kind, as do fish have the predilection to protect members of their own kind."

-So you are saying that in this scenario the morally correct thing to do would be to sacrifice the human life? What are your moral standards, exactly? Do you think that death will cause pain to a fish and its family that is even remotely close to the impact of the death of the average person? Even supposing that a fish would go through the same experiences of pain and grievance, which is impossible to prove at best, humans are much more social and productive creatures. Think about it this way: can you name one other animal that cares AT ALL for the well-being of another species or the environment, except for humans? (and of course, when an animal like a dog is dependent on and/or trained to help their owners)

"It is fraudulent and dangerous to apply data from one species to another."

-Of course toxicology testing that assumes that all drugs safe for animals are safe for humans is dangerous. But incidents such as the Thalidomide tragedy would not have been PREVENTED by not testing the drugs on animals. All these examples you site don't show how animal testing is necessarily harmful, it just shows why we may need better methods of testing drugs that pass safety tests in animals. I cannot site specific examples, but I am sure that many, many substances have been shown to be toxic in animals and have therefore been prevented from mass distribution. Animal testing can give two results: one, the substance is shown to be safe in which case it may or may not be safe in humans; and two, the substance is shown to be harmful. The point of animal testing is mainly to separate out the latter, so we can investigate why they were harmful and prevent the substance from reaching the public if it is determined that the harmful effects would also develop in humans. Animal testing, like any other kind of testing, even human, does not give a definite answer as to the actual effects of the product in use. For example, a certain drug may only prove to be toxic in people who smoke, or drink, or some other condition, because no two people are exactly the same. That is why we use animal research not to predict EXACTLY what will go on when the substance is administered to the actual consumers, but to investigate effects that may show up. Life, even disregarding the minute differences between species, is such a complex thing on the whole that even the most advanced computers and lab work cannot tell us how the individual molecules of a drug will affect the individual molecules of our cells.
Debate Round No. 2
Paramountdesktop

Con

"Do you think that death will cause pain to a fish and its family that is even remotely close to the impact of the death of the average person? Even supposing that a fish would go through the same experiences of pain and grievance, which is impossible to prove at best, humans are much more social and productive creatures. Think about it this way: can you name one other animal that cares AT ALL for the well-being of another species or the environment, except for humans?"

We only have knowledge about what humans can emotionally and physically experience BECAUSE WE ARE HUMANS.

Think about the mutual relationships between animal species. They are are beneficial to each other, and, of course, that relationship is valued because of the benefits.

Animals value their environment because it provides the habitat and resources they need to survive.

Isn't it the same with humans? We care about the environment and other animals species because they either directly or indirectly benefit us. If the environment is impaired, that could mean harmful repercussions. If the food chain is disrupted, consequential extinction and overpopulation of species ensues.

The following is information found from a reputable source.

________________________
Nobody benefits from animal testing when they take medicines. Drugs originate not from such tests but from clinical observation, serendipity and rational drug design. Animal testing became mandatory following the thalidomide tragedy, but it has failed to prevent further disasters. Vioxx, which was used to treat arthritis and acute pain, is the biggest drug catastrophe in history. According to David Graham, associate director of the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Drug Safety, an estimated 88,000 to 139,000 Americans alone had heart attacks or strokes as a result of taking Vioxx, as many as 55,000 of them fatal. Smaller drug disasters are commonplace, killing many thousands every year.

New human-based tests could prevent many of these deaths. Microdose studies of volunteers reveal drug metabolism in the human body with accuracy. Yet regulators require animal studies, not microdose studies.

We would all be safer without animal tests, which correctly predict drug side effects only between 5 and 25 per cent of the time, according to studies published in the scientific literature. Action must be taken now to prevent another Vioxx.
--------
http://www.newscientist.com...
__________________________

"Of course toxicology testing that assumes that all drugs safe for animals are safe for humans is dangerous. But incidents such as the Thalidomide tragedy would not have been PREVENTED by not testing the drugs on animals."

Many more lives would have been saved if humans were initially tested on, instead of animals, before the product was released. We should not assume that medical products that have one effect on animals will have the same effect on humans or vice versa.

That is why animals testing is not only futile but detrimental to humans.
TheoreticalReality

Pro

"We care about the environment and other animals species because they either directly or indirectly benefit us."

-So if you believe this to be the case, then any points about the "natural rights" or "equality" of animals can be set aside. Whether animal testing is ethical or not is no longer a component of this debate from this viewpoint.

"According to David Graham, associate director of the US Food and Drug Administration's Office of Drug Safety, an estimated 88,000 to 139,000 Americans alone had heart attacks or strokes as a result of taking Vioxx, as many as 55,000 of them fatal."

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org...) over 80 million people were prescribed rofecoxib (trade name Vioxx). When you consider that the "disastrous effects" of the drug were only present in less that one-fifth of a percent of patients receiving the drug, you have to wonder whether any study, animal or human, could have predicted its effects.

"Drugs originate not from such [animal-based] tests but from clinical observation, serendipity and rational drug design."

-I believe you may have missed the point I was trying to make (lost among the rambling sentences of my last argument, I'll admit). The main purpose of animal toxicology testing (the kind of testing you are referring to when you mention how animal testing doesn't prevent drug disasters such as the thalidomide tragedy) is NOT to ensure the safety of a drug, but to try to uncover possible effects of a drug without administering it to humans. For example, if a drug is shown to cause brain damage in mice, then researchers would try to figure out exactly how the drug caused this damage. If it is determined that the drug would have the same effect on humans, then it would not be given to the public, however, if the damage is such that it would only appear in mice, or if the mice suffered no ill effects from the drug, then further testing would be conducted.

Yes, it is true that the testing process we currently use is fallible, but so is any sort of testing, animal or human. And no testing is even more open to disasters such as the ones you describe. Scientists admit that animal testing is not the be-all and end-all method of determining whether a substance is toxic or not, it is merely a "preliminary" sort of screening for any drug.

All the examples you state for drugs that produce different effects in animals are the exceptions. Animal testing with a variety of species and conditions will be quite accurate, just as any sort of human study will be more accurate with a large, representative sample. I also feel that in our debate we have neglected other kinds of animal-based research, such as in the relatively new fields of genetics and bio-engineering, focusing mainly on toxicology testing.

In conclusion, animal testing is beneficial because it provides a safe way to test a drug, at least as a sort of preliminary test, without the excess cost and ethical concerns of human testing. Some research requires animal subjects, such as in determining how a gene will affect life-span or future generations, or for inter-species comparative studies. There are countless examples of medical and scientific breakthroughs that would never have occurred without animal testing practices. However, like anything, animal research is still a work in progress. Alternatives such as microdose testing may one day decrease our reliance on animal testing, but as of right now they are either too expensive or not completely developed to become substitutes, and I doubt that they will ever become reliable enough to do away with animal testing completely. Like I mentioned before, we can never be completely sure, and that is why we do testing like this: to compensate for any knowledge we don't know we lack.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Voice4thevoiceless 2 years ago
Voice4thevoiceless
Animal testing is futile. Please read the follow the link to read more!!!
http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au...
Posted by Adilya 3 years ago
Adilya
I think that we should use animals for testing, we can not kill people and testing because they will suffer more than animals.
Posted by lovelife 6 years ago
lovelife
Paramount, you are the first person I've ever seen that shares my veiw. I presented pretty much the same argument in my biology class last semester and my teacher looked at me like I was retarded and was all "are you serious?"
Posted by zanerad 7 years ago
zanerad
I don`t believe its right to test on the poor, little animals. They should have rights just like us, we are animals too. We`re just different species of animals and we`rejust more advanced. I know that it might help us discover things, or maybe find out a secret of life, or even improve a product, but we could try to use some other resources to do these things.
Posted by Fiked 7 years ago
Fiked
Animals are Aninals, not people!
They should not be given "rights agenst testing"
Posted by jmlandf 8 years ago
jmlandf
I learned a lot with this debate. I think we should do testing as prelim. research but not rely very heavily.
Posted by Juiceworld 8 years ago
Juiceworld
What about all the animal desiesses that have been cured through animal testing? Should they test these products on humans? think of all the Vac. that your dog or cat gets.all of these were tested on 1000's of anamals first.
Posted by Democritas 8 years ago
Democritas
Animal testing should be abolished, if you think it might be harmful or there are harmful chemicals in it, then you shouldn't be trying to put it in make-up anyway.
Posted by Juiceworld 8 years ago
Juiceworld
Its an argument between compassion and logic. Compassion tells us that this is wrong. Very few animals on this planet have the capacity for that. Logic tells us that it is a necessary thing to do. As one person on here already said," It is a necessary Evil."

That being said animal testing with makeup and shampoo's and the like IS wrong. These are trivial thing's that don't need to be produced. we have enough of these products that animal testing is unnecessary.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
This was a great debate! Paramount, you did animals a disservice! LOL! I think people outside the scientific and medical communities have no idea, nor can they possibly comprehend the effectiveness of testing on animals. I agree with con- it is immoral and unethical, but it is a necessary evil. Even the Native Americans practiced animal testing, and if they didn't they'd have died out long before Europeans came the America!
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Reasons for voting decision: Both did a very good job, and both would win in any other debate. But since you guys went up against eachother, the result was a spectacular debate. Of course, I'm against animal testing. But none of you are even on Debate.org, so I seldom need to post a reason for my voting.
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