The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
6 Points

Should animals die to help dying humans?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 727 times Debate No: 43325
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Do you think it is right that thousands of laboratory animals are killed or used several time in experiments? They may or may not find a cure for cancer, but they would all be committed animal abuse, but under controlled conditions, making it perfectly legal. I do not think becoming a scientist, you get handed a license which allows you to perform experiments on animals which may kill or harm them, with no results or cure for cancer.


Alright, I'll accept zolly1988's debate on this topic. As she has not yet gotten far into her argumentation, I will not either, and use this round for acceptance and clarification, both of my point and of the debate.

I believe this is a debate about animal testing in the clinical setting, with Con taking the argument that animal testing should not be allowed in this instance, and my taking the argument that animal testing should be allowed. I hope that is a fair assessment.

Now, my argument is mainly going to be focused on the necessity of utilizing animals to pursue medical needs. I think that the lives of humans suffering from terrible disease should be prioritized to the lives of laboratory animals. My view is that there is a definitive need to solve for the medical harms in the world, and that to ignore them for the sake of reducing any vestige of animal cruelty is not a reasonable assessment.

So I eagerly await the elucidation of my opponent's responses, and thank her for creating this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting and taking on my first debate here.

I understand your points. I understand how medical treatment is a priority and would be a medical breakthrough, if achieved. Would the animals that died, giving their life to aid research, be recognised or have the treatment named after them? Or would the scientist that performed the experiment receive all the recognition, even though it would not have been achieved without the animals?

Is it right to breed animals in the laboratory, solely for the purpose to be used in experiments and eventually die?

Would it not be more humane for research to be undertaken via a different method? We are a much more developed society now.

What if a cure was found, used to treat 1 patient, killed hundreds of animals, for the cure not to be effective on any pther patient?

Cancer research has been on-going, yet no cure has been found, but lots of animals have died as a result. Will there ever be a cure? Will there ever be a different method used to aid in the cure research?


I appreciate my opponent's argument, and will be glad to provide some response. But first, just a short view of my perspective going into this debate.

I'm a microbiologist, meaning I am very familiar with a wide variety of diseases, especially of the infectious sort. Despite that appreciation, my work is solely in plants. I think I would have trouble working with animals myself, as I would have my own moral qualms with utilizing them for research purposes. So I deeply respect the concerns of animal rights groups. And if this was a topic about whether it is morally repugnant to breed animals specifically for use in drug testing, I think we would simply be able to agree and walk away.

But we're not simply stating something about the animals. It's not solely them that we're concerned about. I think we can both agree that the lives of human beings should be valued. The people out there suffering from disease didn't get the choice to suffer as they have. Their families didn't get to choose to watch them suffer. Society didn't get to choose to help fund their treatment if they are too poor to do so on their own. So as we consider within this round the importance of consent, I think we should also take into account the consent of those individuals for whom these treatments are being pursued.

Before I begin, I'd like to clarify what we're talking about. Specifically, what we'll be discussing is preclinical tests on drugs and biologics, which are necessary to accomplish before getting into clinical trials with human beings. They are usually required to adhere to strict sets of ethical principles in treatment of the animals. What these trials are meant to accomplish is to provide a baseline for adverse effects. To be specific, these are termed the No Observable Adverse Effect Levels (NOAEL), meant to determine what is a safe dosage. This isn't meant to find out when it kills someone, just the point at which that level of harm is 0. This inflicts some level of suffering, and depending on how confident they are in their dosing requirements, this could lead to varying levels of harm.

Now, I will admit from the start that there are going to be more drugs that don't work than those that do. At the preclinical level, many simply won't be effective, and of those that are effective, many won't be effective enough to ever make it to market. The number of drugs that make it through Phase III clinical trials and go to market are slim by comparison to those that enter preclinical trials.

However, this is misleading. Why is it so difficult to achieve a marketable drug? Because the system we use for ensuring that a drug is both effective and safe is incredibly involved and meant to protect patients. The result is a far safer and more effective series of drugs entering the market, based both on research of the products themselves as well as others that don't stack up.

My opponent will likely argue that we have developed other methods for testing that are just as effective. I would beg to differ. In vitro systems, an alternative that uses cells in culture to test drugs, does a poor job of emulating living systems. Simulations tend to be incredibly limited in what they can tell us, and are especially limited by our understanding of complex systems and known interactions. Other "alternatives" simply reduce the dosing and amount of animals utilized, and even these remain uncertain.[1] Our "developed society" still lacks the information required to make these feasible.

The only other option is to insert human beings into preclinical studies. This is actually worse. For one, human beings cannot consent to drug treatments with such dramatically uncertain outcomes. There is no possibility of consent if doctors cannot provide any clue of possible safety outcomes. For another, this would lead to the exploitation of the poor, as no one in their right mind would volunteer for these studies, so payment would have to be afforded. As the poor are the only ones desperate enough to take such payment, they would be the sole group pursuing this.

So by necessity, we must use an unbiased, complex system that bears some similarity to ours. This requires mammals. The most commonly used test organisms are mice and rats, since they can reproduce quickly, be cloned easily, and have their offspring genetically modified with some consistency. In some cases, we have to get closer to human physiology, and thus we move closer to humans by testing in dogs or monkeys. These are less optimal systems, and the testing usually involves just a few specimens.

Now, let's go back to outcomes. I think my opponent underestimates the amount of impact that these experiments have had. Most of the major vaccinations have been extensively tested in animals. The amount of lives saved is difficult to determine, but MMR, a vaccine meant to address measles, mumps and rubella, likely saves hundreds of thousands a year.[2] And that's just viruses. The amount of lives saved by antibiotics are uncountable, as the most common and effective method for treating bacterial infections the world over. If not for the continuous testing of new antibiotics, diseases like tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus would have long ago become immune to all known antibiotics and be untreatable. Anti-parasitic drugs are essential, and include the likes of quinine, which is necessary for the treatment of malaria, one of the most common and deadly diseases in the world.

And that's just the infectious variety. Con refers to cancer. Cancer survival rates have dramatically increased over time in a number of areas.[3] Despite an increase in incidence, childhood cancer survival rates are up from 58% to nearly 80%.[4] No, we don't have cure yet, and yes, we all wish that treatments were improving at a more dramatic rate. But cancer, much like other health issues, has become less of an issue with time as a result of this research. Life expectancy has increased across the human population ever since the early 1900s, mainly due to the advent of tested drugs with some certainty of the outcomes.[5] I don't think it's debatable that the testing we've done has improved outcomes.

Using this knowledge, I will now answer the remaining questions my opponent has posed. I don't think it's perfectly right from a moral perspective to breed and raise animals for experiments, but it's better than any other available option. The others either don't work, or would require that animals with autonomy in the wild lose it. Beyond that, we would lose the access to clones and knock out/in mice, which would reduce the efficacy of these preclinical studies and increase the amount of animals necessary.

As for the point of recognition, I will actually use this as my advocacy. I don't think that animals utilized for such research get enough credit for said research, and as such, I will advocate changing publication policies. Specifically, I think publications should be required to state the number of animals utilized and killed, as well as their individual names/identity codes acknowledged in any publication that utilizes such information. That doesn't change whether or not the animals die, and therefore doesn't change my position in this debate.

Lastly, while I appreciate my opponent's questions, these aren't arguments. I'm hopeful that he'll make substantive arguments directly against animal testing in the next round, as well as respond to my points, but for the time being, we only have uncertainties out of the Con side in this debate.

Debate Round No. 2


zolly1988 forfeited this round.


Well, count me disappointed. I was hoping to see Con's position against animal testing. Sadly, it would appear that I won't get the opportunity. As this argument hasn't taken many turns, I will simply conclude my arguments, and provide a reason to vote for me.

I don't think anyone can look at this issue and not feel some measure of heartbreak for all the animals that have to suffer and die for the benefit of our health and well-being. It's troubling to subject them to these tests, and I wish we didn't have to. I wish we had the technology to replace them in our drug testing process, and the day that an affordable alternative becomes available that is equally effective, I will be lobbying for its general usage in all research.

Sadly, that day has not come. We don't live in that ideal world. We live in this one, a world where we cannot recreate the complexity of an animal system to use in testing. Yes, we face moral hurdles when we do research like this, but we face worse ones in their absence. The harm we can do only increases in the absence of animal testing.

So when you vote in this debate, think about that necessity, and the points I've described above. My opponent wasn't able to describe his position, much to my distress, but I have taken the time to detail exactly why animal testing is necessary and what the other moral uncertainties involved look like. I've even weighed them against the moral qualms of utilizing these animals. Con simply hasn't provided any reasonable alternatives. There's simply nothing to pick him up on in this debate.

Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by kbub 3 years ago
Something to think about: Did the animals really "give" their lives?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TheLastMan 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.