Animal Testing – An unnecessary evil
When it comes to wildlife and nature, we humans have two main schools of thought. The first being that God created the world for man and every creature and resource is present to serve man and keep them well. The other looks at human beings as simply one of many creatures inhabiting earth. We are not special and are equal to all other species. Most of us fall in between these two thought processes, where we feel that humans have a sense of responsibility to protect the earth but were still on top of the food chain.
The sad reality is that the earth really needs protection from humans itself. No other species on the planet has caused as much as damage as we have. This ideology explains the main idea of the article.
An animal test is any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. Animals are basically used as disposable objects to see the effects of tests conducted on them. Now these tests vary on a large scale. According to Cruelty Free International,
Animal experiments include:
- injecting or force-feeding animals with potentially harmful substances
- exposing animals to radiation
- surgically removing animals’ organs or tissues to deliberately cause damage
- forcing animals to inhale toxic gases
- subjecting animals to frightening situations to create anxiety and depression.
These animals, unlike the common notion around the world are not only used for discovering life saving vaccines. The reality is that these animals are used for chemical, food, drug, cosmetics, medical training exercises and just curiosity driven experiments. PETA accounts for over a 100 million suffer and die in the United States of America every year.
Animal testing has been a crucial part of science since its inception. Animals were simple to procure and no one would be held responsible for any acts committed against them. Later as the world advanced, we as a society realized the importance of animals and started speaking up for the creatures who do not have a voice. But could opposing such a fundamental aspect of science and technology inhibit the knowledge that we as human beings can gain and pass on to our future generations?
There is no denying the fact that animal testing has paved the way for magnificent discoveries. The California Biomedical Research states that almost every single medical breakthrough in the last century was a direct result from animal testing. Life threatening diseases such as cystic fibrosis, brain injury, tuberculosis etc. have a cure today because of the relentless testing on animals. But science and technology itself has paved the way for humans to start using other means of testing instead of animals. In-vitro testing and 3d printing has changed the face of experimentation in a huge way. Poietis, a French bio printing company, has found success by printing out a liver that can test the toxicity of a drug. The Environment Protection Agency hopes to reduce the chemical testing of mammals by 30 percent in the year 2025 and completely eradicate the need of animal testing by the year 2035.
India’s Stance on Animal Testing
Only a very few number of countries have actually taken an initiative on banning the unnecessary use of animals to test products. India is one of those countries that have banned animal testing for cosmetic products. India in fact is the only South Asian country to take a step against animal testing. This ban is only for the use of animals in cosmetic testing which is clearly not an essential item for humans to survive and other various alternatives can be used to make sure those items are safe for human use.
These animals are protected under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Animal Cruelty Act. Violation of these acts by any company or individual could lead to a punishment of 3-10 years and is also liable to a fine of Rs.500 to Rs.10,000.
COVID-19 and the end of animal testing
We’re living in a time where the world has been brought to a standstill because of a virus. The only way for the world to go back to normal is by discovering an effective cure in the form of a vaccine. There are a lot of vaccines available but without effective testing they will not be available to the general public. Now a normal individual would think that there must be extensive animal testing but the reality is organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have already started testing on human subjects. Now this really begs the question of how important animal testing truly was. The reality is that according to The National Institutes of Health (NIH) about 95 percent of animal tested products do not work on human subjects. Therefore, it is clear that animal testing is just an unnecessary step in an already elongated project.
We humans need to realize that planet is earth isn’t a property that we own. There is a shared co-existence between all wildlife and the rest of the human beings. The resources present on our planet is very limited. No other species requires the same amount of resources we consume. Therefore, we must take responsibility while using these resources to ensure that we don’t completely deplete it. Animal testing is just one of the problems humans have caused. There is no denying the fact that animal testing has paved the way for modern science. But right now, we’re living in a world where animal testing has become an unnecessary step. Especially using animals for testing non- essential products. It is not only inhumane but immoral. For the first time, India is a country that is above these problems. The early criminalization of animal testing has helped India set an example for the rest of the world. The sooner we as a society realize that coexistence is the key to survival the better it is for our future generations to live in a world that understands equality and freedom.
Author: Ben Jose Jose,
IFIM Law School, 1st year