The problem of animal testing provoked many concerns and various reactions in the society. Some people consider that it is a social value, while the position of others is opposite. This issue is highly controversial. On the one hand, the animal testing has been a crucial in developing effective medicine for people. One the other hand, animals experience suffering, pain and death during this process. They cannot defend themselves, and such attitude is inhuman. However, it is necessary to analyze these social issues from the ethical theory perspectives. Therefore, the paper is focused on analyzing animal testing as the crucial social issues using the Utilitarianism and Rawls theory, according to which animal testing can be accepted either as appropriate or inappropriate social value.
The issue of animal testing became an ethical dilemma for the modern society. This dilemma is based on several claims. According to one of them, the live animal research is the only effective way to provide specific crucial benefits to the people, particularly in the serious human disorder, therapeutic treatment, or prevention. In compliance with the second claim, it is morally crucial to find other methods to treat and prevent the serious human disorders. The third issue is that due to the animal research, individual animals will inevitably face distress or suffering, and the intervention will not benefit the animal concerned. The last claim states that it is morally crucial to preserve the animals welfare whereas causing animals suffering is not acceptable if it does not provide any benefit to them (Cochrane, 2007). Therefore, it is possible to note that these claims are in conflict with each other.
One can analyze the issue of animal testing through the utilitarianism theory. In this theory, the interest notion is usually explained regarding the ability to reach happiness, enjoyment, or suffering. Therefore, individuals have interest in the act that will provide their enjoyment or reduce their suffering (Cochrane, 2007). The utilitarianism theory states that people should act in a way that provides happiness. Hence, this theory is based on some claims. The first one is that people should increase general amount of happiness. The second issue states that the level of overall happiness should be as high as possible. Finally, according to the last claims, what is beneficial to the individuals is the highest amount of happiness. This is the positive utilitarianism. On the other hand, there is the negative utilitarianism that focuses on minimizing the total suffering sum. Moreover, there is the average utilitarianism, according to which people have to increase to the total happiness sum, while all sentient individuals enjoy the average happiness. At the same time, the standard utilitarianism states that people have to gain the maximum amount of happiness that consists of all positive situations of happiness. Hence, for utilitarian, the ethical decision requires people to strike for the most favorable benefits and cost balance for all sentient individuals that are affected by peoples actions (Foex, 2007). Nonetheless, undertaking right actions, according to this theory, is not only a matter of executing optional tasks. It is also crucial to do something instead of nothing. The utilitarian duty is to provide the improvement that has critical consequences for the society.
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It is possible to state that the utilitarianism is aggregative, consequentialist, welfarist, and universalist. This theory is universalist because it considers the interest of the people who are affected by the action, regardless of their race, gender, nationality and other traits upon the reflection and are not morally acceptable. At the same time, this theory is a welfarist because it provides notions of what is ethically good in relation to the peoples welfare that one can realize as the satisfaction of their interests. The majority of individuals focus on the acceptable job, family, friends and good health. Moreover, it beyond any doubt that all people concentrate on gaining a life that will be free of pain and provide some pleasure. Therefore, the utilitarianism promoted the ethical rule that is aimed to satisfy peoples interests, particularly those who lead relatively painless and pleasurable life. Moreover, this theory is consequentialist because it evaluates the wrongness and rightness of the action by that actions expected consequence, particularly the degree to which the action satisfies interests (Foex, 2007). It is often possible to predict such consequences and compare them accurately with more than common sense. Finally, the theory is aggregative due to the increased interest of all individuals who are affected by the provided action.
In modern Western society, people have a tendency to establish their priority over the animals (Cochrane, 2007). The utilitarianism theory promotes the equal interests for both human and nonhuman, which means that it is important to consider and respect animals interests. Nonetheless, this theory states that the animals testing can be acceptable only in cases when the happiness provoked by their exploration is greater than the caused harm. The main point is that the biomedical research on animals is necessary for maximizing peoples happiness. Further, such research is acceptable and can be performed despite the harm that is caused to the animals.
In general, modern animal testing started in the 17th century in France and England. It was vital for peoples understanding of human and animal physiology. The famous early example is the investigation of the heart role in blood circulation provided by William Harvey. While observing the live animals hearts with opened thoraxes, Harvey was able to see that blood circulates in the body as a result of the heart contractions. It is difficult to realize that the people conducted such procedures at that time without vivisection, particularly lancing live animals. Recently, animal testing played a great role in the therapeutic treatments and vaccines development for numerous infection disorders, involving polio, typhus, yellow fever, rabies, smallpox, and anthrax. They also were similarly crucial in the noninfectious disorders study, being used in the insulin development for the diabetes treatment, various surgery advancements, transplantation techniques, and techniques of blood dialysis for patients with kidney failure (Cochrane, 2007). At the same time, the animal research will provide a crucial contribution to the new medical treatment development at the initial stages of the research, in the development of the subsequent treatment, and in the safe pharmaceutical product testing.
In addition, live animal testing is provided outside biomedical field. It is also a common practice to use this method in order to test the new substances and products for toxicity and other possible negative effects on human health before marketing. Moreover, the animals in biomedicine serve to breed more animals involved in the research. Moreover, the veterinary personnel and scientist use them for educational and training purposes, for disorder diagnosis and biological matter production, such as antibodies and cells. Therefore, from this perspective, it is possible to realize the utilitarianism theory. In particular, the human happiness has to prevail over other feelings. In this case, peoples painless and healthy life is the great part of the happiness understanding (Cochrane, 2007). However, common understanding of this theory promotes equal interests for both human and nonhuman. Consequently, it is possible to justify the animal testing from this perspective considering the fact that the positive consequences are more significant as compared to the caused harm. From the provided information, it is possible to realize the positive consequences of the animal testing. In addition, these outcomes were more significant than harm and sufferings caused to the animals. The reason is that, in such a way, people managed to discover many abilities and opportunities required to handle serious disorders and implement new and more effective prevention and treatment techniques.
Therefore, the appropriate policy, which is based on the analyzed theory, has to provide the ability of animal testing to support peoples well-being, and to useless sufferings and cruelty respectively. The most important task of the related policy is to reduce animals suffering as a result of the medical experimentation that usually appears in case of unjustified research protocol, from the scientific perspective. The main problem is that such inappropriately designed experiment is not able to provide any useful scientific knowledge and is not worth animal suffering. The more difficult cases occur, when the suffering amount decreases or the potential of the experiment to represent useful knowledge grows. The policy focused on avoiding unnecessary sufferings can opt to the trust in the judgment of every individual research scientist or empower other person, apart from the researcher, to provide some basic assessment of the scientific values in every new animal research protocol (Latham, 2012). Moreover, it can provide guidance and information to the researchers or overseers in order to improve their decisions.
Moreover, unnecessary sufferings can appear when the animal suffering amount provided in the experiment is not strictly required to conduct such an investigation, when animals are used more than it was necessary or when less sentient animals could be substituted for more sentient ones or tissue or computer models substitutes for animals entirely or when crude experimental procedures are providing avoidable pain or stress (Latham, 2012). The policy, which is aimed at avoiding such unnecessary sufferings, will promote or require from the researcher to use three Rs. In particular, refine experimental procedures causing distress or pain; replace animals with non-animals, higher order animals with lower ones; and reduce the number of animals involved in the experiment (Latham, 2012).
The other unneeded suffering can appear outside the actual research protocol, yet still in the experimental setting due to the inappropriate animal handling, feeding, and housing practices. The aim of the policy should be to avoid such kind of sufferings that will provide humane standards for animal care and housing.
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At the same time, the animal testing issues are represented as the unacceptable social value according to the Rawls Theory of Justice. This theory uses prejudice-blind and metaphorical contractors to argue for the justice and fair system production. The hypothetical contractors are set in the natural state and called from the original position of which they are unaware and do not know specific conditions that typically bias the moral rules construction. Such limitation is named the ignorance veil and blinds the contractors revealing morally arbitrary facts about themselves. Therefore, Rawls demand the ignorance to ensure that the social constructs designed by the contractors are the fairest to all in the society (Garner, 2012). The main point is that if people are unsure of their potential position in the society, they try to ensure that all positions hold equal moral consideration.
In general, the Rawlss theory states that the animals do not have rationality and as a result unable to participate in the contract construction that would not be entitled to the justice it provides. The Rawlss theory reflects the external morality, and this principle is the intuitive equality argument (IEA). The IEA is the interpretation of the Rawlss theory crux because it provides the guiding instructions for the decisions made by the contractors in the original position (Garner, 2012). According to this principle, no one deserved the benefits that are represented to them by the morally arbitrary characteristics. This is the principle that underwrites the provided theory because it is unfair that someone has to suffer detrimentally due to the characteristics beyond any control.
According to Rawls, there is no society that can be free from the inequality provided the inevitable occurrence of the undeserved benefits, both socially and physically. The well-ordered society must arrange these inequalities in order to obtain the greatest benefits from the least advantaged ones, and the process is called the Difference Principle (DP) (Kukathas, & Pettit, 1990). This is the IEA sentiments application to the actual world. In order to provide the fairest society, people have to ensure the best possible inequalities distribution. This implies that the inequalities must belong to the least advantaged benefits. The DP application to the animal produces is the system, in which they are most benefiting from their disadvantages being the least advantaged society members (Kukathas, & Pettit, 1990). The main benefit of such approaches is that it ensures equality without identical treatment need.
In the theory, there is an argument regarding social contract. Rawls asks the audience to imagine the original position existence, namely a hypothetical arena, where people must realize what morality or principles have to be denied or accepted (Rawls, 2007). People in the original position are rational in the sense that while choosing between the justice principles, they will choose those that best advance their own interests. Therefore, such rational agents are placed behind the ignorance veil that denies them certain facts knowledge about themselves, such as good conception, natural abilities or assets, socioeconomic status and the specific circumstances knowledge of the society they will inhabit (Garner, 2012). The argument regarding intuitive equality and the social contract are interrelated. In particular, they are mutually reinforcing. Hence, Rawls states that a basic issue for determining the original position is the fact that if it provides outcomes, which people consider intuitively acceptable, they conform to the intuitive equality argument.
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A common argument against animal-friendly contractarianism is that it involves animals and humans in the unresolvable conflict because people are unable to decide who takes the action. Animal testing holds a specific position since it is a widespread issue, but has non-trivial consequences both for animals and for the humans. Nonetheless, it also produces great harm by exposing animals to the extended confinements, death, and painful experimentation. Hence, there is a position in the Rawls Theory of Justice, which is unsympathetic to the non-human animal rights (Garner, 2012). However, such position is wrong. In the theory, Rawls states that animals ability to feel pain and pleasure clearly imposes humanity and compassion duties in their case (Garner, 2012). It is evident that in his policy regarding non-human animals cannot be included in the theory of justice scope for the reason that it is not possible to involve them in a natural way. Therefore, based on this theory, it is possible to characterize the animals by irrationality, which means they cannot fit the needed description and being excluded. Nonetheless, despite such statement, Rawls emphasizes that people have moral obligations to the animals, including the duty not to treat them in a cruel way (Garner, 2012). Hence, animals are owed justice. Nowadays, animal testing requires their great suffering which, in general, lead to their death. Such attitude is completely wrong. Considering the analyzed theory, it is possible to state that animals deserve justice that should be based on the animals rights respect.
The animals are often denied justice and equality due to the common idea that they do not suffer from the experiments. The scientists do not seek to determine how animals perceive the testing, and the government does not provide sufficient control over such activity. It is worth noting that in 2005, thirty-seven countries used 50.4 million animals for testing (Tuvel, 2015, 225). In the US, 1,134,693 animals were involved in the American laboratories in 2010 and 953 thousand animals in 2012 (Tuvel, 2015, 225). These animals involved sheep, rabbits, pigs, primates, marine mammals, hamsters, guinea pigs, dogs, cats and other animals. Almost all these animals are able to experience distress and pain. Moreover, this issue is frequently researched. It is difficult to determine the exact amount of distress and pain animals experience during testing (Tuvel, 2015). Nonetheless, there are criteria that help to suggest the animals distress and pain. These involve self-mutilation, abnormal posture, abnormal vocalization, changes in dietary intake and behaviors, restlessness, personality changes, such as increased aggression, impaired activity, and altered heart rate, muscle twitching, or abnormal breathing (Tuvel, 2015).
There are numerous experimental areas, where the animals experience distress and pain. They are engaged in the toxicology researchers that test chemicals for toxic effects, cosmetics, pesticides, and household cleaners on animals (Tuvel, 2015). Hence, in the acute and oral versions of these tests, animals are force-fed substance by mouth or by the tube that is inserted down their throats after which they express symptoms of internal bleeding, convulsions, paralysis, diarrhea, and vomiting. Finally, they die experiencing great distress and pain before (Tuvel, 2015).
In addition, the animals are often used in the mutagenicity researches that test products in order to define if they provoke genetic mutations, similarly to the reproductive toxic researches that test chemicals to identify if they provoke birth defects, infertility, and miscarriages (Tuvel, 2015). Animals are included in the neurological studies that can involve the infliction of the brain and bone damage. Moreover, they are subject to the joint studies on the parental and reproduction care, normal and abnormal social behavior, problem-solving and learning, communication, aggressive behavior, drug addiction, and depression (Tuvel, 2015). Most of these researches force the animals to experience great pain and sufferings.
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Moreover, animals sufferings relate to the laboratory confinement. In the animal ethics assessments of the research, institutional animal care and involvement of committees do not factor the animals experience in laboratories when they do not participate in the research (Tuvel, 2015). Despite the fact that laboratories can provide some benefits to the veterinary care forms of the regular diet and protection from external threats, such as bad weather and predators, the laboratory confinement is highly related to the lack of access to the species-typical behavior, conspecifics, frustration, and boredom (Tuvel, 2015). At the same time, chronic stress and fear are the common feelings of the animals that live in the laboratory setting, particularly of those that were captured in the wild environment (Tuvel, 2015). Therefore, considering the provided information, it is possible to notice that animals deserve the justice from the people. Moreover, the animal testing cannot serve as the social value because it completely destroys the equality principle between human and non-human creatures. Hence, it is crucial to implement an effective policy that will abolish the animal testing.
The best way to ban the animal testing is explaining its useless essence and to represent some effective alternatives. It is crucial to understand that the animal testing replacement does not pose any threat to the human patients. Moreover, the animal testing replacement will improve the science humaneness and quality (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). The first alternative is the cell cultures. Particularly, it is possible to develop each animal and human cell type in the laboratory. Researchers managed to coax cells to grow in the 3d structure such as miniature human organs that can lead to the more realistic way to test new therapies (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). Human cells were used to develop the little device known as the organs-on-chips. It can be applied to replace the animals as well as investigate the disease and biological processes, such as the drug metabolism. These technologies have already been provided using appropriate mimic gut, kidney, heart, and lung (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). Therefore, the cell researches serve as the key developments in such areas as AIDS, kidney disorder, sepsis, cancer.
The next alternative is the human tissues. The diseased and healthy tissues gained from the human volunteers can lead to more relevant ways of human illness and biology research as compared to the animal testing. Hence, it is possible to obtain human tissue during the surgery (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). For example, eye and skin models created from the reconstituted human tissues were developed, and one can use them replacing the test for inhuman animals irritation. In addition, the human tissue can be used in case of the persons death (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). Post-mortem brain tissue is crucial in realizing the brain recovery as well as effects of the Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis disorders.
The next alternative is the computer models. The main issue is that considering growing computers sophistication, the capability to replicate or model human body aspects is permanently increasing. The musculoskeletal and digestive systems, skin, kidneys, lungs and heart computer models already exist and they can be utilized to provide virtual testing grounded on the provided mathematical data and information (Cruelty Free International, n.d.).
The other way is the volunteer studies. Therefore, the fast and great advances in the technology provided the possibility to adopt sophisticated technologies and develop recording techniques that can be applied to the human volunteer’s safe research. Brain imaging technologies that can look through the brain can be utilized to detect the brain disorder treatment and progression (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). It is possible to apply the innovative techniques, namely microdosing, to the volunteers in order to evaluate how small potential new drugs doses can express themselves in the human body (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). Such microdoses are radio-labelled, inserted in the human bodies, and assessed through the use of sensitive evaluating technologies that are named the accelerator mass spectrometer. Moreover, less high-tech research for pain, drug addiction and nutrition can be provided in the consenting humans for the advancing medical and scientific reason. Such researches allow replacing animal experiments (Cruelty Free International, n.d.). Therefore, the government should provide these alternatives as obligatory in order to ban the animal testing as the unacceptable social issue.
Therefore, animal testing is the highly controversial social issue that has various positions, which usually oppose each other. The main problem of this question is the ethical dilemma that arises in the process. It is possible to analyze animal testing according to several ethical theories. For example, based on the utilitarianism theory, this social issue is acceptable and should be used to provide the highest level of happiness for people. It cannot be gained without good health condition and from the historical perspective animal testing helped the patients to handle the serious disorders. However, one can analyze animal testing can be analyzed using the Rawls Theory of Justice, according to which animals deserve the justice and equal treatment with the human implying that animal testing is the unacceptable social issue. Hence, the problem of animal testing is highly controversial and includes different perspectives that require thorough analysis.