The Instigator
BenJWasson
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
missbailey8
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Animal testing does more good than harm.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 577 times Debate No: 92780
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

BenJWasson

Pro

Hey everyone, left this site for a while and am now back in preparation for some upcoming tournaments. Only accept if you are experienced in debate.

Just some rules before we start:
-First round is acceptance only.
-No shenanigans or ad hominem attacks.
-Have fun.

Thank you!
missbailey8

Con

I accept this debate. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
BenJWasson

Pro

Good luck to you as well.

Before I start, let me clear some things up:
-If anyone doesn't know, a contention is another word for point or assertion, I will be using this word in my speeches. Also, c means contention as well (like if I say C1 it means Contention 1.

-Also, a criterion (also called standard) is something which the judge chooses who wins the debate by, it is part of framework. For example, if the criterion is health (and both sides accept this criterion), then all arguments that don't involve health are invalid, because the judge, or in this case the voters, are only focusing on health.

-Lastly, if, at any time, I say "we", "our", or similar words in my speech, it means my team, which in this case is just myself (sorry, used to typing out cases for a team of multiple people).

Ok, let's get into it! I'm going to start with my criterion.

The criterion of this debate is lives. Of course, all species" lives matter, but humans are paramount. Even still, we will prove how animal testing benefits all species, not just humans.

Now here are my contentions.

C1: Animal testing contributes to cures and treatments that save lives.
The majority of the medical breakthroughs that have happened in the last 100 years were direct results from animal research and experimentation, according to the California Biomedical Research Association. Without this testing, both human and animal lives would be lost in numbers far greater than the amount of animals tested. For example, The Anderson Cancer Center animal research associated the vaccine for Hepatitis B with chimpanzee testing. Without these experimentations, thousands, if not millions, of those with Hepatitis B would have been killed every year. The same cancer center also said that animal testing is our only hope for a vaccine to Hepatitis C, proving that animal testing is our best option that we have currently as well as in the future.

So we just proved that humans benefit from animal testing, but we can go a step further and say that animals also benefit from testing. If vaccines were not tested on animals, millions of animals would have died from rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, infectious hepatitis virus, tetanus, anthrax, and canine parvovirus. Some examples of species being saved are the black-footed ferret and the California condor, in both of which animal testing was instrumental.
(American Association for Laboratory Animal Science)

The truth is, animal testing benefits everyone. Even if there is a small amount of suffering, the lives of humans as well as all other animal species being saved completely outweighs it, which is why even the The American Veterinary Medical Association, complete with over 86,000 vets, many of which work for the government, announced that they endorse animal testing.

C2: Animal testing is the necessary method of testing.
Now, in our previous contention we talked about how animal testing saves lives, but you may be thinking "that might be true, but there are other methods". In reality, however, animal testing is the best, most efficient, and thus needed method of testing.

There is no adequate alternative to testing on an animal. Living systems like human beings and animals are extremely complex. Many tested on animals are also very closely related to humans, which makes them even better subjects. For example, chimpanzees share 99% of their DNA with humans, and mice are 98% genetically similar to humans.
(California Biomedical Research Association)

This shows that animals are the best method of testing, and they help us more so than any other way.

That's it for my first speech. I now welcome my opponent to present theirs.
missbailey8

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for presenting their case for animal testing. Here are my three contentions.

A. Animal testing is harmful to the subjects
B. Animals are very different from humans
C. Drugs tested on animals aren't always safe

Let's get started!

A. Animal testing is harmful to the subjects

Regardless of whether or not animal testing is effective, there is no denying that the animals involved are mistreated. How so? Well, it's estimated that more than 100 million animals are killed for testing purposes. [1] Also, many are subjected to the following methods.
  • Forced chemical exposure in toxicity testing, which can include oral force-feeding, forced inhalation, skin or injection into the abdomen, muscle, etc.
  • Exposure to drugs, chemicals or infectious disease at levels that cause illness, pain and distress, or death
  • Genetic manipulation, e.g., addition or “knocking out” of one or more genes
  • Ear-notching and tail-clipping for identification
  • Short periods of physical restraint for observation or examination
  • Prolonged periods of physical restraint
  • Food and water deprivation
  • Surgical procedures followed by recovery
  • Infliction of wounds, burns and other injuries to study healing
  • Infliction of pain to study its physiology and treatment
  • Behavioural experiments designed to cause distress, e.g., electric shock or forced swimming
  • Other manipulations to create “animal models” of human diseases ranging from cancer to stroke to depression
  • Killing by carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck-breaking, decapitation, or other means [2]

On top of this, I'd the animals don't die of their injuries, most of the time they'll be euthanized. [3]

Many would claim that animals don't feel emotion or pain like people do, so it doesn't matter that the death toll due to animal testing is so high. That isn't exactly true either. But there is one difference between humans and animals: While most humans can communicate through words, animals are unable to do this.

“The nature of pain is perhaps even more complex in animals. How pain is sensed and the physical processes behind this are remarkably similar and well conserved across mammals and humans. There are also many similarities in pain behaviours across the species, for example they may stop socialising with people and/or other animals, they may eat less, they may vocalise more and their heart rate may rise. The capacity of animals to suffer as sentient creatures is well established and enshrined in law in many countries, however we don’t understand well how they actually experience pain.” [4]

They experience pain, we know that, but they can’t communicate the exact same way we can. In that way, animals can’t consent to the experiments while people can. We can’t be sure that the animals in question are willing to the experimentation.

B. Animals are very different from humans

Another common argument I see for animal testing is that animals are similar to people, so animals must be ideal test subjects. This is only somewhat true. Humans have some similarities to animals, yes, but it's the differences between humans and animals that can be problematic on both parties.

In fact, even the species that most consider to be the closest to humans have major differences, making animal testing even more dangerous.

"Even animals with greater similarity to humans, such as primates, have failed to predict what happens in humans. For example, monkeys treated with a therapeutic antibody (anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody TGN1412) did not predict the potentially fatal immune response that was triggered in humans. The scientific community has also recently concluded that research on chimpanzees, our closest genetic relative, is unnecessary and is being phased out." [5]

There are many factors for this. I'll use the chimpanzee for an example to compare to people. People and chimpanzees have different stance, strength, genes, etc. [6] On top of that, we have varying levels/different kinds of parasites and pathogens than chimps. [7]

In other words, differences between just a human and a chimpanzee can prove to be very troublesome to work with. Imagine what can happen when we take rats, mice, birds, fish, frogs, etc. into consideration. The differences between a mouse and a human can go on and on. Because of the major variations, can we really consider other species to be reliable subjects?

C. Drugs tested on animals aren't always safe

This contention picks up from my last. Because of how unreliable animal test subjects are, they can provide innacurate results.

For example, in the 1950s, there was a sleeping pill called thalidomide that was tested on animals prior to it’s official commercial release. Little did they know that it would cause 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities. [8] Later on, the sleeping pill was tested on pregnant animals (cats, mice, rats, etc.) and they didn’t experience any birth defects unless it was given in dangerously high doses. [9]

Here's another example to hammer in my point.

"Animal tests on the arthritis drug Vioxx showed that it had a protective effect on the hearts of mice, yet the drug went on to cause more than 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled from the market." [10]

This can prove to be harmful to people, as unreliable results can seriously harm or kill people like in the examples above.

In conclusion, animal testing harms animals, is ineffective, and can kill or harm people because of unreliable results. Thank you. I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals. So long and goodnight!

Citations
[1]http://www.peta.org...
[2]http://www.hsi.org...
[3]http://www.humanesociety.org...
[4]http://www.independent.co.uk...
[5]http://www.navs.org...
[6]http://www.livescience.com...
[7]http://www.yourwildlife.org...
[8]http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk...
[9]http://jpsl.org...
[10]http://animal-testing.procon.org...
Debate Round No. 2
BenJWasson

Pro

I thank my opponent for their case. Just for anyone confused (including my opponent), my opponent's round 3 speech will be to refute my contentions and defend their own, and round 4 will be for defending against refutations made in round 3 as well as summarizing why they should be the winner. Now to refute.

In my opponent's Contention A, they state that animals are heavily mistreated while being tested on, and explain how animals are capable of feeling pain - before I refute that, I would just like to mention that their source for "more than 100 million animals are killed for testing purposes" is PETA. Keep in mind that PETA is a completely extremist group. It is pretty well known, but just in case one of you may not know I will give an example of their extremism, having to do with dogs and cats. PETA says that they are committed to a future in which people would not be able to own pets, claiming on their website "the selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering". Their wish includes a future in such our dogs and cats would be completely neutered into extinction. Furthermore, they make the claim that cats should be on a vegetarian diet to be healthy, even though it is very common knowledge that cats are natural carnivores, relying on diets filled with protein. Hopefully you can now understand the unreliability of PETA as a source. Enough of that, now here is my refutation:

Now while I agree that yes, science shows that animals feel pain, the pain is not nearly as common as people think. Animal research is actually very highly regulated, with many laws to protect animals. In addition to local and state laws and guidelines, animal research has been regulated by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) since 1966. As well as stipulating minimum housing standards for research animals (enclosure size, temperature, access to clean food and water, and others), the AWA also requires regular inspections by veterinarians.
(Animal Welfare Act, Title 7 - Agriculture)

These are just a couple examples of how the research facilities are actually much more humane than people think. Even so, this is an extremely small price to pay for huge medical advancements. When you think about it, a much bigger problem is using animals for food. U.S. statistics show that we consume much more than we use in testing. For example, with pigs, we eat more than 1,800 times the number used in research. If you want to avoid animal death and harm, animal testing is not the culprit.

In my opponent's Contention B, they state the differences between humans and the animals that are tested on - to refute that, I ask to cross-apply my C2. I would specifically like to talk about chimpanzees. My opponent states that chimpanzees are different in many ways, and they bring up a few examples, but if you look into my evidence, derived from the California Biomedical Research Association, it shows that "chimpanzees share 99% of their DNA with humans". Let me give an analogy to explain what my point is. Let's say my friend has $100 billion, and I have 99% of what he has ($99 billion). While the $1 billion gap between us may seem large, I still have nearly the same amount of money as him. Now look at chimps. While the many differences my opponent shares may seem like a very large amount, chimps are still 99% similar to us, which means they are nearly completely the same as us. Hopefully this gives you all some insight on how similar the testing subjects are to us. Even still, non-human primates (such as chimps) make up a quarter of 1% of all testing done on animals, which is an extremely small amount.

I would also like to point out that my opponent gives no other methods besides animal testing. Are you saying that we are just going to let these millions of people and other animals die, instead of saving them for a very, very small cost in comparison?

In my opponent's Contention C, they further explain the unreliability of the results in animal tested products, and gives two examples, which I will refute in order:

-First is Thalidomide, which caused birth defects in humans, yet not in animals. I would like to look at the time in which this drug was tested on and given out in - the 1950s! More than 60 years ago! This is a completely unreliable example, because since the '50s there have been more medical advancements than we can count - testing back then was unreliable in general, and that is completely outdated in current times.

-Second is Vioxx, which had good effects on mice, yet bad effects on humans. Again, Vioxx was distributed in the late '90s, and soon withdrawn. If something has a problem, we make sure it isn't being used before any real damage can be done (ie. millions dead). This is yet another outdated example of unreliability.

-Lastly, to refute both of these, is the numbers. In Thalidomide and Vioxx, they only harm a small amount of humans: 10,000 and 27,000 respectively. However, if you compare that to the number of people (as well as animals) saved by animal testing, it comes out to much, much more. For example, according to the American Cancer Society, the fight against cancer has seen 24 significant biomedical advances in the past 30 years - none of them could have occurred without animal research. These advances are helping us in the cure for cancer, which is the second largest factor for unnatural death in the United States after heart disease. This is just a single example of the many contributions to society done by animal testing.

That is all for my refutations. I wish my opponent good luck in refuting and defending!
missbailey8

Con

Rebuttal of C1: Animal testing contributes to cures and treatments that save lives.

In this contention, my opponent claims that many medical breakthroughs have happened because of animal testing and that without this, many lives would've been lost. This is provided by no source. In fact, none of my opponent's debate provides a source of any kind, except for the California Biomedical Research Association, but there is no specific citation given.

To continue, he gives an example about Hepatitis B and how testing on chimps proved to provide an effective vaccine. Again, like I said before, no sources are provided and after even more research, this theory doesn't hold up. In fact, the vaccine was tested on blood samples from gay men who were at a risk of HPV to make sure the vaccine was effective. [1] Thankfully, it was, but it wasn't because of animal testing.

My opponent then says that animal testing can help animals too. He says that I'd vaccines weren't tested on animals, they would've died from rabies, distemper, feline leukaemia, etc. But this is only a small percentage of animals among those that are killed. And like I said in my opening statements, most animals are euthanized after the experiments. [2] This eliminates the animals that may have been saved from the vaccines.

My opponent then claims that the black-footed ferret and the California condor were saved by animal testing, but again, no proof of this is given. Fortunately, I have no one findings. Unfortunately, my opponent is proven wrong once again. The black-footed ferret and the California condors were saved by breeding programs and specific recovery plans [3,4] Plus, my opponent fails to explain what conservation has to do with animal testing.

Rebuttal of C2: Animal testing is the necessary method of testing.

In this argument, my opponent mainly explains that there are no adequate alternative methods of testing. Before I go into the various, more effective alternatives to animal testing, I like to point out that my opponent never shows any examples of alternatives. He never shows their weaknesses and why animal testing is superior.

With that said, here's why animal testing is inferior to many other variants.

First alternative: In vitro

In vitro - (of a biological process) made to occur in a laboratory vessel or other controlled experimental environment rather than within a living organism or natural setting. [5]

Anyways, with in vitro, human cells can be used instead of animal cells, which, in turn, gives more accurate results, [6] as a person is drastically different from an animal, like I said in my opening statements.

Second alternative: Microdosing

"A more recent development, microdosing, puts experimental studies back into the bodies of human volunteers. It uses drug doses too small to create either a pharmacological effect or an adverse reaction and has been made possible by analytical methods that can detect substances in blood and plasma at concentrations in the pg/ml range." [7]

In other words, this can be used on people.

"Microdosing, the administering of doses too small to cause adverse reactions, can be used in human volunteers, whose blood is then analyzed. Artificial human skin, such as the commercially available products EpiDerm and ThinCert, is made from sheets of human skin cells grown in test tubes or plastic wells and can produce more useful results than testing chemicals on animal skin." [8]

With both of these alternatives, we can decrease the suffering from unwilling animal subjects and use human volunteers instead, all while getting more accurate results.

Thank you. Best of good luck. So long and goodnight!

Citations
[1]http://blog.advocatesaz.org...
[2]http://www.hsi.org...
[3]https://nationalzoo.si.edu...
[4]https://www.nps.gov...
[5]http://www.dictionary.com...
[6]http://advocacy.britannica.com...
[7]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[8]http://animal-testing.procon.org...
Debate Round No. 3
BenJWasson

Pro

Hey everyone, before I start my speech I would like to debunk a false claim made by the opponent - "none of my opponent's debate provides a source of any kind". This is completely untrue. I have two ways of sourcing - the first one is just saying it: "this organization says ___". An example of this, outside of the California Biomedical Research Association (as my opponent said that was the only source I used), is the Anderson Cancer Center used in the first paragraph of my C1. The second method I use is to put a source in parathensis under the evidence. An example of this is (American Association for Laboratory Animal Science), which is put at the end of the second paragraph in C1. I will now list all the sources and where they were used in my speech to avoid confusion:
-California Biomedical Research Association (contention 1 paragraph 1, contention 2 paragraph 2)
-Anderson Cancer Center (contention 1 paragraph 1)
-American Association for Laboratory Science (contention 1 paragraph 2)
-American Veterinary Medical Association (contention 1 paragraph 3)

Now that the whole source thing is over, let me go on to defend my case and refute my opponent's.

Starting with their rebuttal of my contention 1. They start by saying that I have no source, which I already proved untrue. My source for the hepatitis treatment argument was the Anderson Cancer Center, and if you actually read that paragraph, you will clearly see this. Now, the funny thing is, my opponent continues to prove my claim false by saying that the vaccine was tested on gay men. So what source do they have? A blog written in 2012. Even worse, the author has no credentials listed whatsoever, meaning they are not reliable at all.

My opponent goes on to say that that the black-footed ferret and the California condor were not saved by testing, but rather breeding programs and recovery plans. First of all, their condor source mentions how they use " breeding facilities". However, this is testing. The test is to see if these animals will survive with breeding. The experimentation is the forced breeding in captivity - so yes, the condor was saved by experiments. Second of all, if you look in their source of the ferret, from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, they say the black-footed ferrets are being saved by "developing assisted breeding, especially artificial insemination". This is yet another form of testing, it's experimentation! Both of my opponent's sources prove my opponent wrong.

Moving on to their rebuttal of my contention 2. My opponent brings up multiple examples of alternatives. First is "in vitro", which is basically the use of fake models that are studied upon, yet again, this is still animal testing! They need animals to be tested upon to get the models that are studied. Even the source my opponent uses says that "in vitro" is an "alternative technique in basic research and toxicology". Keep in mind the source says basic research and toxicology. This is just because "in vitro" is a more advanced method of animal testing. The second alternative my opponent brings up is micro dosing, however even my opponent's source says that this isn't a completely reliable method, and animal testing is still needed: "microdosing... could reduce the need for animals but not eliminate it". So while microdosing may take away a little animal testing, it isn't a complete alternative.

This is my last round, so I will conclude on why I should be the winner of this debate. I have proven why animal testing is extremely beneficial and necessary in contention 1 and 2 respectively, and all of their refutations to these points have been completely taken care of by me. I have used much better sources than my opponent, even though they claim the opposite. All of my sources have been from official government organizations, medical research organizations, and official centers built to deal with disease. I have clearly shown these sources in an organized manner - if you actually read through my case, you will see all of them. I have organized my speeches to be easy to follow. Both of us have had equally good conduct.

I hope all of you enjoyed this debate, and I welcome my opponent to present their last speech, in which they will defend against refutations made by me and summarize why they should win. Good luck!
missbailey8

Con

Defense of Contention A.

My opponent first points out that I used the source PETA to project how many animals are killed each year through animal testing. Well, my opponent fails to realize that many other sources agree that about the estimated number of animals killed through animal testing. (It's projected to be over 100 million.) These sources include Cruelty Free International, [1] Speaking of Research, [2] Humane Society International, [3] And Statistic Brain, [4], among others.

My opponent then claims that animal research is highly regulated. Well, the amount of pain they go through says otherwise.

"In research and testing, animals are subjected to experiments that can include everything from testing new drugs to infecting with diseases, poisoning for toxicity testing, burning skin, causing brain damage, implanting electrodes into the brain, maiming, blinding, and other painful and invasive procedures. It can include protocols that cause severe suffering, such as long-term social isolation, electric shocks, withholding of food and water, or repeated breeding and separating of infants from mothers. In toxicity testing, animals used in chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies receive the test substance daily, seven days a week, for up to two years with no recovery periods. Many, if not most, animals die before the end of the study. With the exception of chimpanzees, animals who survive their use in research and testing can be killed after the study is completed." [5]

Note how it said that food and water can be withheld from the animals, which goes against a claim my opponent made. While it may appear to be well regulated from the Animal Welfare Act, actions speak louder than words.

My opponent brings about the meat industry and how many lives it takes. This is one part I partially agree with. Yes, while the meat industry takes more lives than animal testing does, this doesn't excuse the deaths attributed to animal research. The death toll is still outrageously high whether you're comparing them to the meat industry or not.

Defense of Contention B.

In this argument, my opponent states that chimps make the best test subjects in animal research because we share 99% of DNA with them. Besides the fact that it's actually 98%, my opponent fails to take into account little differences.

"First of all, remember that we are talking about 6 billion letters of DNA here. The original 2% actually adds up to 12 million differences. Add on top of that another 28 million worth of missing and extra DNA and you start to get some serious differences even if it is only 5%!...Apparently a big part of what makes us different are differences in how we use these genes. Numerous studies have shown the same genes behave differently in chimps and humans. This means that a gene might, for example, be less active in humans or active at a different time or different location in the body." [6]

Little differences like these can prove to be detrimental. Unless we have an exact equivalent or just a human step in, then we won't get the exact same results as we would with the other alternate subjects.

My opponent claims that the examples I have were irrelevant, as they were over 60 years ago and about 20 years again respectively. When you research it, these are just small projections of animal research done today.

"In fact, studies show that if you flipped a coin to guess how a human will respond to a certain drug, your prediction would actually be as accurate as if you tested the drug on a nonhuman animal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the pharmaceutical industry all acknowledge this. The FDA reports that 92 percent of drugs approved for testing in humans fail to receive approval for human use. This failure rate has increased from 86 percent in 1985, in spite of all the “advances and refinements” intended to make animal tests more accurate. In addition, more than half of the few drugs approved are later withdrawn or relabeled due to serious or lethal adverse effects in humans." [7]

My opponent then measures in the number of deaths from Thalidomide and Vioxx to cancer. First of all, this is an unfair comparison, as cancer has taken lives for thousands of years, while the medications I showed only had a short life on store shelves. Second, the number of deaths caused by animal testing far outweighs the deaths to cancer. I've already clarified that 100 million animals die from animal testing ever year, while 7.6 million die of cancer every year. [8] That doesn't mean that cancer isn't valid or that it isn't as important as animal testing, but you should be aware how much the rates of death to cancer are dwarfed by animal research.

And here's why I should win the debate: for one, my opponent never gives specific citations to these sources, while I did. He could've easily just said it was research from, say, the American Cancer Society, when it could've been from a different source or there could be contradictions made in the articles that we'll never see, while I provided by sources so that every could see them. Secondly, I was able to defend against every one of my opponent's rebuttals. Thirdly, I've pointed out the inaccuracies in my opponent's information in both my rebuttals and my defense against his rebuttals.

Thank you. Best of luck. So long and goodnight!

Citations
[1]https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org...
[2]https://speakingofresearch.com...
[3]http://www.hsi.org...?
referrer=https://www.google.com...
[4]http://www.statisticbrain.com...
[5]http://www.neavs.org...
[6]http://genetics.thetech.org...
[7]http://www.neavs.org...
[8]http://www.worldcancerday.org...
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by BenJWasson 1 year ago
BenJWasson
How I see it is that because we have all of this higher brain function, we're objectively smarter than other animals, and we stay at the top of the food chain, making us more important - it's like saying that the lion can't kill the zebra; any other carnivorous species kills, and we're a carnivorous species.
Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
But that makes us more important? We're more unique, that's for sure, but that doesn't mean that we are more important.
Posted by BenJWasson 1 year ago
BenJWasson
Fire, humans are most important because we have the ability to reason, we have a sense of morality, and our brains are just much more advanced to the point where it is much more humane to test on animals rather than humans. (I don't personally believe this, but I have to argue it)
Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
@Benj, you didn't say why humans are more important. They are all animals, and they all have rights. Why are humans more important?
Posted by BenJWasson 1 year ago
BenJWasson
Everyone, when voting on this debate, keep in mind the criterion I stated in the second round. Humans are most important, animals always come second - just make sure to factor that into your decision because it's very important to acknowledge.
No votes have been placed for this debate.