Portrayal of Animal Testing Affect our Perspectives of it

If you make an animal right activist and a scientist who conducts animal experimentation sit in a room together, an explosion of arguments (and a lot of finger pointing) inevitably emerges. Conflicting views about the propriety of animal testing has been an ongoing debate ever since animal testing was introduced to the general public.  In 2012, 54% of young adults between the ages of 18-29 opposed animal testing, an increase of 23 percent since 2001 . In 2014, “49% of the interviewed subjects think that experimenting on animals to test medicines is acceptable.” Over the years, more people seem to have transitioned to wanting the banishment of animal testing due to the cruelty factor. Still, from the statistics, it is evident that the nation is pretty divided on their opinions of animal testing.

Social media tends to paint animal testing in a negative and critical light, and those exposed to these messages only see the tragic effects on animals. Usually, the media presents the scenes where the animals are abused and testing in an unethical manner. Many people, in the consideration of wanting to give a better impression to others, argue that they are strongly against animal testing. If they supported animal experimentation, then talks like “Omg, that person is such a cruel and heartless human being! How can he/she not consider the feelings of animals? Oh the pain these animals have to go through!” would surround and haunt the one individual who supports this alleged “sin”. Yes, I will be that one individual, among the thousands of teen animal lovers out there, who supports animal testing. Obviously, I don’t support the labs that abuse these animals, but I do support companies and labs that follow ethical procedures while doing animal experimentations.

I also do not support companies like Neutrogena, who do animal testing for the sake of developing cosmetics. We don’t need to sacrifice the health of animals to make BB cushions or mascaras. Animal testing was meant to develop new medicines and drugs that would be beneficial to both humans and animals. Through animal testing, scientists have developed Penicillin, various asthma treatments, and insulin, which are all extremely useful. Rats, mice and other kinds of animals used in experiments have short lifecycles. Testing results come out faster, and if the products are successful, they can be used as soon as possible. The efficiency of animal testing can potentially save someone else’s life

As the Foundation of Biomedical Research finds,“Animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century – for both human and veterinary health. From antibiotics to blood transfusions, from dialysis to organ transplantation, from vaccinations to chemotherapy, bypass surgery and joint replacement, practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure and control of disease, pain and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with lab animals.”

Sophomore Julia Chang doesn’t support animal testing, and instead suggests alternative methods. Photo by Jenny Chin.
Sophomore Julia Chang doesn’t support animal testing, and instead suggests alternative methods. Photo by Jenny Chin.

Sophomore Julia Chang is one of the teenagers that opposes animal testing. She believes that “the way those animals are treated and the conditions they are put in are really shocking.” Contrary to my opinions, she thinks that “it’s ridiculous and gross that people are okay with hurting animals. If you just google animal testing you can see how scared the animals look and how damaged they not only physically but mentally”. This is a perfect example of how most people have a partially false perception of what animal testing is like and the purpose of it. Chang suggests an alternative solution to animal testing. She says that “after [people] die, they can donate their bodies to science and further testing can be done, though it is not as effective as testing on a live person, it’s definitely way more humane”. Chang feels that since people are already put into clinical trials, they might as well also help test products.

The recent uproars and petitions on Change.org are only opposing a small portion of animal testing, the unethical, dirty, and bloody side. If we really get rid of animal testing, are we going to test new products on humans? The cycle would just repeat again, and in the future, headlines in the newspapers would be “No more Human Testing!” rather than “No more Animal Testing!”.