"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" - Jeremy Bentham
Despite the numerous facts and statistics discussed, and the logical reasons behind animal rights protests, for most people the issue comes down to whether or not it is ethnically wrong to experiment on aninimals. But how can it not be?
Each year, thousands of creatures are locked up, subjected to tests that often cause them pain or death, and used in ways that don’t even benefit them - to an unusually large scale. The fact that they are animals makes no difference - people may have no problem killing one animal for the sake of a thousand people, but what about killing one child for the sake of a thousand? Is that acceptable, too? Some would say yes, it is, but the law would prohibit such an action, to protect the child's individual rights. Abortion, as well, is looked down upon by many wishing to protect the rights of the unborn fetus - yet there is not nearly such a passionate defense for the rights of the fully developed, living creatures being killed each year. The hypocrisy is extreme and pointedly ignored.
Besides the moral questions, there are many misconceptions regarding the human benefit of testing on animals. Some claim that almost all our medical breakthroughs of the past few decades, at least, are attributed to animal testing. However, this is not necessarily the case. Most of the higher life expectancy of people this century is due to human advances in hygiene and health awareness. The polio vaccination, so often used as an argument to support testing, was actually developed with two separate bodies of research: one of which involved animal testing and generated little progress, and one in which no animal testing was used and which won the Nobel Prize (the breakthrough came when scientists discovered how to grow the virus using human and monkey cells).
Also, despite the use of animal testing in cancer research, speculation has arisen that the overuse of these tests is actually harming progress in that area. Mice - the typical subjects of testing for cancer research - die by the thousands for the sake of futile experimentation. According to Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the National Cancer Institute, “The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in human beings.” The physiological differences between humans and animals makes it difficult, if not impossible, to use animal responses to predict how humans will respond to a treatment.
Besides suffering during testing, conditions of animals and their living quarters in labs are often foul. The welfare of these animals is considered "too expensive," and they often die starved or drowned in their own filth.
According to PETA, "Some drugs that have been approved through animal tests can cause serious and unexpected side effects for humans. A 2002 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that in the last 25 years, more than 50 FDA-approved drugs had to be taken off the market or relabeled because they caused 'adverse reactions.'" Animals have been dieing at staggering rates for the sake of human life - supposedly. But if the drugs and medical treatments actually harm people, the purpose has been defeated and the lab animals are still dead.
The torture of one animal is called cruelty - so why is the torture of thousands called "science?"