Animal Testing: The Unnecessary Evil 

Animal testing has been a part of pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and toxicity research for many years. Many innocent animal lives are being taken for the sake of science, when it is unnecessary to do so. Scientists have had the knowledge of human embryonic stem cells for research for years and yet they decide to use sentient animals instead. Even though animal testing has proven beneficial in the past, scientists should use human embryonic stem cells to do research instead of animals because it would not only be cheaper, but it would also be more accurate and morally appealing.

If scientists were to start using human embryonic stem cells instead of animals, it would save the american taxpayers billions of dollars. There are so many more important thing that the government should be spending tax money on, but they choose to instead pay for useless, expensive testing. Bethany Hope Rishell states in her article “Harming Humans via Animal Analysis: A Utilitarian Critique of Regulatory Requirements and Emphases in the Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic, and Industrial Chemicals Industries” that “a simple toxicity test… frequently costs about $30,000.” She then goes on to state, “More complex testing, such as carcinogenicity tests, cost closer $1 million.” These numbers do not account for what the scientists that conduct the tests are being paid. These numbers could be easily lowered if scientists decided to start testing on hESCs instead of animals. If these numbers were to be lowered, it would significantly lower the costs of medicine and medical treatments.

Another pro to stem cell testing is that it would be a lot more accurate than testing on an animal. Logically speaking, the way humans react to certain things is significantly different than the way a rat or mouse would. So, why would scientist still use animals to test life saving medications and medical treatments meant for humans? According to Rishell, animal testing has delayed finding the cure for certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

An example of this is when she mentioned, “while humans cannot live without insulin regulating their blood sugar, mice, including mice genetically engineered specifically for the study of diabetes, can survive without insulin.” This example means that all the time and money spent on testing mice for the cure to diabetes was to no avail. Another example of animal testing being unreliable is when scientists were attempting to test on animals for heart disease and other heart problems, they could not successfully create medications to help cure these diseases. Eventually it was discovered that “cardiovascular disease almost never develops in any other species other than homo sapiens.” There is no denying that animals cells work very different than that of a humans.

Lastly, testing on human embryonic stem cells would be more morally appealing than testing on a sentient animal. The main difference between hESCs and animals is that an hESC cannot feel pain unlike an animal which can. Of course, it could be argued that an hESC is or could be a living person, but animals are already living creatures. This is where the political debate comes in. According to Davor Solter, the author of the article From Teratocarcinomas to Embryonic Stem Cells and Beyond: a History of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, the scientific community is becoming more politically driven.

Because there are so many people in politics that believe that hESCs are living humans, they are letting these animals suffer instead. Science should not be about politics, but about doing whatever is needed to come up with medicines, cures, and treatments to help whoever needs it. Morally speaking, everyone can agree that researchers should not inflict pain on something that can actually feel it, and risk the results not being accurate, but instead test on something that cannot feel pain and would give more accurate results. Testing on hESCs give scientists more accurate results and less room for error.

Some may argue that animal testing has been beneficial in the past and science should switch practices if the ones they use work. The main problem with this counterclaim is that even though animal testing has gotten science pretty far, as I had previously stated it has not been reliable. The more that scientists discover about the human body and the diseases that can inhabit it the more complex and in depth the research on these diseases need to be.