We need to test cosmetics, medicines, and other products on animals in order to make certain they are safe for humans.
The primary ethical considerations we must address when examining the necessity of vivisection are the right of animals to be free of experimentation for human purposes and the value of tests performed upon them. In the case of cosmetics testing, it is both selfish and cruel to insist that animals suffer and die for the sake of vanity. A similar argument can be made for household products, which are not necessary for human life. Moreover, there are many effective alternatives to animal testing for both cosmetics and household products, which can and should be used instead.
There are also many effective alternatives to animal testing in the case of vivisection for medical and pharmaceutical purposes. This is good news, since animals have been proven time and again to be poor models for the study of human injury and disease. But if this is the case, you might ask, why are animals still used in medical and pharmaceutical research at all? One reason is momentum. The tradition of vivisection is deeply ingrained in this research such that status quo bias is a powerful factor in perpetuating it. Another reason is money. Researchers receive grant money based on the number of papers they publish in scientific literature, and it is both easier and faster to use animals as test subjects than it is to undertake human-based research. Finally, while the FDA has often failed to show that the results of animal tests can be extrapolated to humans, companies still use animals in testing in order to protect themselves in the case of a lawsuit. This means that unreliable animal tests are giving rise to unreliable medical and pharmaceutical results, which result in unreliable treatments and medications that are themselves excused by the legal system because of the unreliable animal tests underpinning them. It is altogether a vicious circle that could be eliminated with a more sensible approach to medical and pharmaceutical research that does not involve animals at all.
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