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On Animal Testing

Animals are my friends...and I don't experiment on my friends.

Like most people, I love animals to death. Not literally to death but a beagle puppy that crosses my path would be at serious risk. And I basically treat anyone who doesn’t love animals with great suspicion.

That being said, I never really applied this to my life in the sense that I never really did my research for issues like animal testing, zoos, fur farms, etc. I protested by proxy, and that’s not the right way to live. So, I’ve made it a point to understand these issues, form a clear stance, and I hope you guys will join me!

This all started when I was organising some of my makeup – mainly in terms of binning things that are waaay past their expiration date. When doing so, I felt really ashamed that I wasted so much money buying products that I never finished. But more importantly, I realised that a rat probably had this rank perfume sprayed into its eyes so that I can let it sit for years in my closet. Not okay.

The first topic is animal testing (food, drugs, biologicals, medical devices, cosmetics).  I tried to keep it as concise as possible and hope that some will find it informative and thought-provoking.

Main Arguments Against

It’s not the only option anymore. There exist a number of alternatives to animal testing. Skin cells, microchips, and bacteria cell are some of the more popular ones. In fact, animal testing is now illegal in Europe and India due to the viability of these methods. Computerised patient-drug databases, virtual drug trials, MRIs and CT scans are just some of the other alternative methods.

It frequently fails to achieve the ends.  According to the FDA, 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully pass animal trials and go into human clinical testing fail during the human clinical trial phase, which follows from the previous point. This means that more often than not, animal testing fails to indicate whether a drug is even effective. Accuracy can be as low as 60%, so there’s still a significant possibility that the drug is lethal after testing; understandable, considering only human tissue can yield truly accurate results.

The system is flawed. Re-launched drugs, which have contain the same active ingredients as previously tested, must be tested again due to a system of complex legislation. Also, thousands of animals are killed during ‘preclinical’ experiments for the purpose of marketing. Frequently, the drug will not even be approved for human clinical trials. There needs to be a more reliable predictive system during the animal testing period.

Main Arguments In Support Of

I think it’s reasonable to say that no one is for unnecessary cruelty of animals. That’s not really the issue. But some proponents claim that there reliable information can be found in animal testing, prominently with primates and genetically modified mice; although the extent to which human diseases can even be extrapolated to GM mice is under debate.

Also, alternative methods are more demanding, both technologically and financially, which is a reason why it’s not practiced everywhere.

So what are we trying to decide between here? Either potentially pioneering medical advancements with the potential to save millions of lives, as argued, or unjustifiable suffering of innocent sentient beings (whose planet we already fucked to oblivion).

Things to Think About

The debate is still raging and it’s a science-driven discussion above all else. If the issue involved a drug that can potentially treat a terminal illness, then the debate becomes more morally ambiguous. In this case, it’s likely up to research and further medical advancements to reduce the cost of alternative methods, so that they can be more widespread.

But there are things that can start with us. What exactly is in the value of the countless other products that are tested each year? A brand doesn’t need to carry 50 shades of lipstick or launch a new line of skincare every few months if the demand decreases.  We don’t need makeup collections that can fill a walking closet. But that’s a whole other issue.