John Stuart Mill held the utilitarian belief in justifying actions. In other words, the consequences of an act are what determine it to be good or evil. A major topic of discussion for a while now has been the debate of animal experimentation. There are many pros and cons to both sides of the argument, some of which you can find at this site. In short, animals are often harmed for the betterment of mankind. It’s a tough situation that can be even tougher to justify. If you are to look at the situation simply from a human perspective, it seems like a great idea. Once you consider the effects though that testing has on many animals every year, you might think again.
There are of course some regulations on what scientists can do, but there are still research studies conducted that cause animals pain and suffering. A common test used for cosmetic testing is the Draize Test in which a substance is placed on the eye or skin of an animal (usually a rabbit) and left there until the effects are recorded. Many people argue that these tests are cruel and untrustworthy because of the difference in human and rabbit eyes. According to PETA, over one million animals are killed every year due to testing. This figure does not include mice and rats, which amounts to about 100 million each year. Here you can find a video produced by the Humane Society that explains the cosmetic industry of the Untied States and gives examples of products that are tested on animals. Also covered in the video are solutions to eliminate these methods of testing. One solution that is already in use is the use of reconstructed human tissue to test the products, which is even more accurate than tests done on animals.
We as humans are receiving the benefits at the expense of other beings. It’s hard to say if the benefits for us outweigh the consequences that affect animals. Both sides must be evaluated to take a side. We can develop many vaccines such as those for rabies and polio through tests. In addition, organ transplant surgeries have been very helpful and antibiotics have been developed.
I think testing that does not inflict any pain or do any harm to animals is justifiable. However, I would like to hear your opinions on this topic. Is harmful animal testing justifiable? How do you personally feel about this topic and what do you think Mill’s response might be?