Why are animals used in research? Should they be experimented upon? The use of animals in scientific research has been a subject of heated debate for years throughout the world. Opponents believe that animal experimentation is cruel and unnecessary, regardless of its purpose or benefit; while scientists accept it within an ethical framework.
What about us, the public, the consumers, on which side should we stand? Do we accept animal research and take the risk of being labeled as cruel and selfish, or do we join animal-friendly organizations and ignore the severe consequences for public health and research?
If you’re not the only one divided by this matter, you should read the Jackson Laboratory’s “Why Mouse Genetics?” text and “Mice and Rats in research” by National Anti-Vivisection society.
While both texts are addressed to us, the uninformed and curious public, the first one presents the reasons and advantages of using mice in research whereas the second one denounces it severely.
I found really interesting that both articles use similar strategies to defend opposite arguments.
On the one side, the lab goes for a reachable vocab, citing an inventory of diseases that profit from experiments on mice. The page suggests that mice experiment is indispensable to insure better-quality lives. Understandably, anyone would like to live longer: we, humans, are selfish.
From the time and money saved by using mice to the resemblance between the animal and men, many other reasons are mentioned, proving the ‘okay’ of this technique. Quotes from a PhD doctor in favor of mouse use also increase the statement’s credibility.
Let’s not forget about the smart layout used by the lab. Indeed, the reader enjoys a reader-friendly page: from the bullet points listing the advantages of the process; to the colorful graphic on top, it all pushes boredom away from the reader.
On the other side, the National Anti-Vivisection society’s text vehemently disagrees with the usage of mouse in science, as it promotes ‘advancing science without harming animals’.
The text bets on pathos by stating that “it is not safe to assume that what occurs in rodents will predict what happens in people”, bringing us to doubt the reliability of the drugs we use. Confirming that nothing is being made to stop animal research, the article goes on introducing a new project that will terrifically increase the number of mice and rats used in experiments. They illustrate the argument by numbers (8,500) and by putting forward a trust-worthy institution, the National Institutes of Health, highlighting the severity of the situation. Lastly, the article insists on facts and precise period of time to show the public it has been mislead: the numbers of mouse usage provided by private study more than doubles the ones provided by the government.
While both texts made use of strong rhetoric and both appear to be right and credible, I must admit that the lab’s article convinced me the most. While the text’s clear arguments and layout influenced a lot my judgment, it’s mostly the fact that the other text condemned animal research without giving any other alternative that made up my mind. Stop harming animals sounds really nice, but how can we agree to do so without knowing how the drugs we depend on will be tested?
I trust that until an alternative viable and harmless technique is elaborated, we must stick to an ethical and controlled animal research, along with pressuring the biomedical industry and the governments to be more transparent, working towards a better-regulated regime.