Gandhi once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” How moral is it for us to use animals in scientific research? For a long time, animals have been used for experimentation in the medical field. This has angered animal rights activists who are against experimentation. This questions not just the legality of the continued use of animals in scientific experiments but the ethics behind it. In several cases, the safety and security of animals used in scientific research are not always guaranteed, and animals may be severely harmed during the research process. Hence, assuming that the use of animals does not harm them in any way possible, this essay will argue that the use of animals for scientific research is justifiable. However, under the condition that these animals are harmed and their life is threatened, using animals in research is then unjustifiable.
Firstly, the use of animals for science is an acceptable practice as it ultimately benefits humankind. Breakthroughs in the history of medicine have resulted in cures for illnesses and health problems, leading to a positive impact on society. Many diseases, such as smallpox, that had once killed millions of people have now been eradicated. According to The Foundation for Biomedical Research, “animal research has been responsible for every medical breakthrough over the past century”. For instance, leukaemia is the most common type of childhood cancer, making up one-third of childhood cancer cases. Research using mice has allowed for treatments to advance such that children have an eight out of ten chance of survival. About 98% of children with acute lymphocytic leukaemia go into remission a few weeks into treatment, and about 90% of those children can be cured. With continued animal research, the current remission rate from leukaemia is now 85%. In addition, with the use of animals in research, heart surgeries, such as coronary artery bypass, are now made possible, and considered common practice, with around 500 000 heart surgeries performed in recent times. Heart defects are usually found in around 40,000 babies per year and this would have ultimately led to many deaths, if not for the heart surgeries developed using rodents, dogs and pigs, allowing babies born to live longer and healthier lives. Thus, the use of animals hold extreme importance in human health and welfare. Throughout the world, with the integration of animals in our scientific research, developments in medicines for diseases that have plagued society have now allowed people to enjoy a higher life expectancy and higher quality of life. Most importantly, the community accepts that animals should be used for research as long as it is within the ethical framework and follows the guidelines set in scientific research. Thus, the use of animals for scientific research is justifiable as it ultimately benefits mankind.