In this Essay I will be examining and considering religious and ethical responses to animal experimentation reviewing whether the argument for or against outweighs the other.  

One of the questions facing society today is whether animals should be used in scientific experimentation. Animal experimentation is widely used to develop a range of medicines and to test the safety of them and other products. But many of theses experiments cause pain and suffering upon animals and some end up with a reduced quality of life. If it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer then experimenting on animals produces serious moral problems. Animal experimenters are very aware of this ethical problem and acknowledge that experiments should be made as humane as possible. They also agree that it's wrong to use animals if alternative testing methods would produce equally valid results. More than 2.7 million live animal experiments were authorised in Great Britain in 2002 is this ethically and religiously moral?

The number of testing on animals has halved in the last 30 years as the laws and restrictions have become tighter, the British law requires that any new drug that has been produced must be tested on at least two different species of live mammal. One must be a large non-rodent however UK regulations are considered some of the most rigorous in the world and the Latest figures show Animal experimentation is up overall by 3.2% to 12.1 million in 2005. This is despite European Commission and member state’s individual promises to reduce and replace the use of animals in experiments. Some details for 2005 are listed below

Dogs 22,000
Cats 3,600
Primates 10,394
Mice 6 million 53%
Rats 2.2 million 19%
Birds 650,000 5.4%
Rabbits 300,000 2.6%
Cold Blooded Animals 1.8 million 15%
Guinea Pigs 240,000 2.1%

“The Animals Act of 1986 insists that no animal experiments be conducted if there is a realistic alternative” ()

Humanitarian organisations and governments have funded studies into alternative. It is estimated that the total spent by the UK government is in the region of £2 million a yearIn 1959, British zoologist William M. S. Russell and microbiologist Rex L. Burch published "The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique", in which they put forth the 'three Rs of animal research

  • Replacement - use alternative methods, e.g. testing on cell cultures (in vitro)              

  • Reduction - use statistics to reduce the number of animals that must be used for each experiment

  • Refinement - improve the experiment to reduce animal suffering

Animals were also used to develop and range of serious life threatening medications and procedures such as anaesthetics which is developed to prevent human pain and suffering during surgery. It has also been scientifically proven that you can generalize animal results to humans satisfactorily. Scientists claim there are no differences in lab animals and humans that cannot be factored into tests this is the reason why Operations on animals helped to develop organ transplant and open-heart surgery techniques and almost every medical treatment you use today has been tested on animals (). From this you can come to the conclusion that Human life has greater intrinsic value than animal life

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Cultural changes of today have also made animal experimentation a lot more moral. When animal experimentation first began thousands of animals were being killed needlessly, however in the 21st century procedures are a lot more necessary and reduce the amount of pain endured by the animals. As technology progresses fewer testing on animals are being carried out as they can compile data that they have already gathered or use alternatives. Also with the help of more organisations such as PETA (http://www.peta.org/) animals that have been used and survived experimentation now have a place to go to instead of being put ...

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