Animal Testing Or Utilitarianism?

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“Over the past 40 years, only one Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine did not depend on animal research for the fundamental discoveries that led to the prize…” (William T. Talman,1) Someone is always sick. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), about 49,000 people die from the flu in the United States - this isn’t counting the hundreds of other diseases or countries. Fortunately, there is a way to reduce that number, and it is medication. As our technology, methods, and knowledge progress, we are able to create more and more effective medicines. One of these many methods is animal testing. Lately, it has been a very controversial topic. Despite what is believed by popular (and occasionally misinformed) media,…show more content…
Merriam-Webster defines utilitarianism as “The belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people.” That’s right - people. Bentham may advocate for animal rights, but he is not truly a utilitarian because he is not focused on humans and their needs; he is focused on animals. He could, however, be called a utopian. Utopia is defined as “an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect” (Merriam-Webster). The definition itself says imaginary. Utopia is an unachievable, impossible fantasy. But by continuing animal testing, the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people will be done, and utilitarian ideas will be met. Although animal testing is viewed in the media as the way that all products are tested, the FDA has claimed that “Most devices use materials, such as stainless steel or ceramic, that we know are biocompatible with human tissues. In these cases, no animal testing is required” (3). Methods of testing devices exist; they are used as often as they possibly can be. However, there are still times when these materials don’t work well enough. Animal testing is only used when it is absolutely essential. Finding a way to keep humans alive and healthy is definitely one of those times of…show more content…
Despite these other ways, “Animal testing is used to measure how much of a drug or biologic is absorbed into the blood, how a medical product is broken down chemically in the body, the toxicity of the product and its breakdown components (metabolites), and how quickly the product and its metabolites are excreted from the body” (FDA, 2). Animal testing is the most effective way to learn whether or not a medicine is safe for human use. Also, the FDA is researching methods to test a medication without using animals, as they reported “There are still many areas where animal testing is necessary and non-animal testing is not yet a scientifically valid and available option. However, FDA has supported efforts to reduce animal testing. In addition, FDA has research and development efforts underway to reduce the need for animal testing and to work toward replacement of animal testing” (4). It also may be claimed by animal rights activists that the only important factor is that animal testing harms living creatures, but the only other option is to harm humans. Andre and Velasquez pointed out that “While we may have a duty to not cause animals needless suffering when we are faced with a choice between the welfare of humans and the welfare of animals, it is with humans that our moral obligation lies” (7). Though animal testing is not the most popular
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