Humans use animals for all sorts of things, like food, of course, and companionship. They harvest all sorts of animal products from wool and leather to glue and even heart valves. Animals are used for many different services: guard dogs, therapy animals, truffle-hunting pigs, polo ponies, and so on. In 1933, more than a dozen women went blind after using Lash Lure mascara (National Academy Press, 2004). The compounds in this product literally burned their eyes and resulted in blindness and even death in one case. This led to the use of animals for safety testing of cosmetics. Today, animal testing for safety and efficacy of drugs, sweeteners, food additives, and medical treatments is commonplace. These uses are controversial, however, not only because the animals may suffer during the process and are often euthanized at the end of a test, but because even closely related mammals do not respond to drugs or toxins the same way humans do much of the time. Mice models are often used for safety testing, but they may not be the best choice.
This video may help you decide: Should We Trust Studies On Mice?
Use this article to help shape your opinion on animal testing: 14 Pros and Cons of Animal Research
Now choose ONE of the following topics:
- Volkswagen exhaust testing on monkeys
- Testing the safety of cosmetics
- Alzheimer’s treatments tested in animals
Answer the following four questions as they relate to your chosen topic:
- Explain the rationale and main benefit of the testing process you chose.
- Debate whether this use of animals is necessary or worthwhile.
- Is there an alternative to this testing?
- Is there some animal that it is okay to test on—insects, worms, fish, mice, and so on? Where do you draw the line?