Philosophy - Index > Testing - Index
Animal Testing: Why it is morally offensive

Word Doc, Jackie Bartelmo

Animal Testing: Why it is morally offensive
“The different types of animal testing and why they are morally wrong”

Animal testing is cruel and an inhumane way to torture animals for mankind’s own benefit. There have been millions of animals that have suffered a vicious, painful death in the name of research. Just as Peter Singer asked in his book Animal Liberation “Would experimenters be prepared to carry out their experiment on a human orphan under six months old if that were the only way to save thousands of lives?” (81). Singer further states that “if the experimenters would not be prepared to use a human infant then their readiness to use nonhuman animals reveals an unjustifiable form of discrimination on the basis of species” (81). Animals are living beings just like humans, but people seem to think that animals are nothing but mere tools at their disposal. Types of animal testing are medical research, dissection, and cosmetic testing.

For many years researchers have been using animals as test tools for human medications. People say that by using animals, we are getting closer to finding the cure for cancer, but in fact, all the researchers found was the cure for cancer in mice, but it simply didn’t work in humans, according to a former head of the U.S. National Cancer Institute (PETA: at stake). Animals and humans are built differently; because of this animals don’t suffer from disease in the same way that people do. In research labs animals are screamed at, hit, and stuffed in tiny cages when researchers are finished using them. It is also stated that ninety-two percent out of every 100 drugs that passed animal testing failed clinical trials on people. Every year in the United States alone, there are more than 100,000 human deaths all caused by drugs that were successfully passed by animal testing (PETA: at stake). Since all that extensive research has failed, it has wasted time that could have been spent using alterative testing which would be more reliable and accurate for medical research.

Dissection is another form of animal testing where people cut open defenseless animals just to see how their insides work as if they were some kind of machine. The kinds of animals dissected in schools consist of frogs, cats, dogs, pigs, mice, rabbits, fish, worms, and insects; the frogs are taken from the wild and the other animals are taken from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, pounds, pets stores, and even “free to a good home” advertisements. (PETA: Dissection) A PETA undercover investigator at one of the nation’s largest suppliers for animals to use for dissection was told by his supervisor that some of the cats that were killed had been companion animals that had “escaped” from their homes (Animals and Dissection). Where is the morality in that? The fact that students are cutting open another person’s pet is just wrong. Animals that are used for dissection are being gassed, and sometimes, they are taken out still alive and in pain only to be injected with formaldehyde (PETA: Dissection), which is a severely irritating caustic substance that causes a painful death. Students who dissect animals are desensitized to the sanctity of life, and dissection could encourage students to harm animals elsewhere, possibly in their own back yard. Serial Killer Jeffery Dahmer attributed his fascination with murder and mutilation to classroom dissections. (PETA: Dissection) Animals deserve to live out their lives naturally the way they were intended to.

The cosmetic industry uses animals to determine their safety of the products. As a result of the tests performed, millions of animals suffer painful deaths. One kind of test used on animals is called the irritancy test where a liquid, flake, granule, or powdered substance is dropped into the eyes of a group of albino rabbits (Cosmetic testing). Because of this, the rabbit’s eyes become swollen irritated and may even bleed. While the rabbits are alive and conscious, at least fifty percent of the animals that endure these tests die usually within 2-3 weeks. There is another kind of test performed to establish what skin care products are safe for humans which is called the skin irritancy test. Those tests are mostly conducted on rabbits and guinea pigs. This is a process that involves shaving the animals and placing chemicals on their raw bare skin and covering the skin with adhesive plaster. The animals become immobilized in restraining devices to prevent them from struggling. This form of testing is probably by far the worst of its kind; These animals that under go tests just for a new lipstick or perfume live in tiny, crowded cages in fear of pain and suffering. Animals have different biological systems than humans do therefore the tests cannot be as accurate (Cosmetic testing). Cosmetic testing is not only abusive to animals, but also highly expensive. Alternative testing could retain the same amount of data, and is less expensive and not cruel to animals. The fact that people take small helpless animals to torture them just so humans can make themselves look and feel better is just wrong.

There are more logical ways of conducting tests than these which are stated above. Tests that is more accurate and less abusive to living creatures, such as "Synthetic skin," called Corrositex, Computer modeling and improved statistical design, The Murine Local Lymph Node Assay (LLNA). It is a proven fact that animals feel pain just like humans do, but we still think it is okay to torture and kill animals in the name of science. If this were humans that researchers were using it would be deemed unethical and immoral.  We must to put an end to this cruelty and torture because just like humans, animals are living beings. No matter how it is perceived, it is cruel and unusual punishment. “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.” (Quoted by Hippocrates “philosopher”) If humans would take the time and absorb what this quote truly means, then maybe they would have a better respect and understanding for animals and see why animal testing is morally wrong, and tortures creatures that can’t speak up for themselves.

Works Citied

Cosmetic testing facts. Hidden Ingredient: Animal Suffering. In Defense of Animals. 17 July 2006

People for the ethical treatment of animals (PETA). “Dissection: Lessons in Cruelty.” Media Center 17 July 2006.
    ---. (PETA) “What’s at stake.” Media Center. 14 July  2006.

Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Teasdale, Kate. “Animal testing is morally wrong.” Fazed. 10 July 2006.

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin,