Rodent testing in labs

Opening Argument

Whether mice/rats should be tested in laboratories has been debated for a while now. So do you guys agree with this popular decision, or do you feel they should find something else to test on? After watching an episode of Adam Ruins Everything, I'm considering becoming Con-Animal testing. I am open to suggestions, though.
  1. How do you feel about animal testing?

    9 votes
    1. I'm all for it!
    2. The testing should expand to other animals, not just rats/mice.
    3. We should ban it entirely! Test on humans instead!

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  • Here's why I'm thinking about disapproving these tests; it's ineffective and a net loss.

    I haven't looked into other animals yet, but rodents react differently to chemicals from humans. 80% of rodent reactions test positive, but those chemicals can kill a human. [] Since testing on mice hardly makes actual cures for humans, it's not worth wasting money on this.

    The most accurate test subject for human medication would be humans. I'll see if I can find any information about whether it's reasonable to test on human cells.
  • edited November 2017
    I support it for medical research and only medical research, not for anything else.
  • namemcnamenamemcname 63 Pts
    edited November 2017

    @SilverishGoldNova If you think animals don't deserve a right to life then...
  • edited November 2017

    @SilverishGoldNova If you think animals don't deserve a right to life then...


    I said I supported animal testing explicitly for medical research and nothing else, not that animals shouldn't have a right to life. This is called a strawman argument.
  • Yeah, I don't like Appeal to Emotion arguments. If my opinion changes, it's always because I found an argument better than mine. And actually, the reason someone would want to test medicine on animals would be to make medicine for said animal. But for making stuff for humans, test on humans.
  • edited November 2017
    Yeah, I don't like Appeal to Emotion arguments. If my opinion changes, it's always because I found an argument better than mine. And actually, the reason someone would want to test medicine on animals would be to make medicine for said animal. But for making stuff for humans, test on humans.
    Appeal to emotion and ad hominem fallacies are pretty common in any debate pertaining to animal rights. Namemcnames argument was a pretty clear Appeal to emotion/strawman combo. I've had an experience with him. He dwells primarily in the flat Earth debate(s), and he occasionally joins debates to attack my arguments with fallacious 1-liners, and then leaves for days, weeks, or even months when called out.

    Testing on animals really only makes sense for animal products, and it shouldn't be done in the way they're doing it currently.
  • We can try to achieve utopia, but it is impossible. We have to get as close as possible to it. In a utopia, I agree that animals have their right to life. This may be achieved in the future, but as of now, it is necessary. 

    My argument isn't that testing on rodents should be allowed or not. I don't know about the effectiveness of these tests and such, but I'm just saying that there are some necessary things in the world which might be considered immoral in the future, but are needed now. 
  • I believe that this testing should be stopped on rodents and all animals.
    DebateIslander and a lover. 
  • To be fair, we shouldn't completely ban animal testing, since that's how we get medication for animals. Medicine for one species will probably work differently on another, but if we test for medication intended for the species of the test subject, we'll definitely have good medicine.
  • Considering we are debating the use of animals in a human society, it is only natural to conclude that a human life is worth more than a rat's. If there was a button I could press that killed a few mice and a few monkeys to save a human I would press that button. I'm not saying animals don't have a right to live, I'm just saying that if the animal testing could save a human life than i'm all for it.
  • @MissDMeanor It's true they're planning on adjusting rodents to better get proper results, but it's expensive (see 1st source). Though without this adjustment, results get innacurate. (Currently, the server of the source is down. I believe it talks about this, though.) In one trial, a medicine was used on rodents, and did wonderfully, but quickly killed a human test subject. This Huffington Post talks about the lack of certanity from animal testing:

    Since a few tests had mouse success and human failure, I believe it follows that a tested mouse failure can also be a human's success. Testing on animals is inaccurate for making human medication. Instead, let's expand animal testing so it makes medication and treatments for said animals, like dogs or cats.
  • @PowerPikachu21
    I would completely willing to sacrifice all those mice for that one time it worked. 
  • @MissDMeanor You seem to agree (or at the very least drop) that rodent testing is inaccurate when humans are the consumer. I'd like to go one step further and say it's a waste of money to do these tests. Here's a source I found:

    More than 12 million dollars are consumed in animal tests, and about 92% animal success tests were human failures. Again, if an animal success can equal human failure, it follows that an animal failure can equal a human success. Testing on mice, or other animals, for the purpose of human consumption wastes time and money if we can't rely on the tests in the first place. Since we test on humans eventually anyway, why not make humans the first subject?
  • I think there need to be some important considerations when we're answering this question. Much of what you guys have already discussed is their costs and success rates, which I concede are both not great. But no one has really discussed alternatives except in the vaguest sense. So that's where I'll focus my attention.

    To my knowledge, when it comes to testing various drugs/biologics/etc., we have a lot of options, but they can all be brought into 4 categories: simulation-based testing, in vitro testing (i.e. cell cultures), testing in another living system, or testing in humans. Let's go through all 4.

    1. Simulations

    This is often where people go first because it doesn't involve a violation of animal rights and, in fact, doesn't require a living system at all. The idea is that, given the plethora of knowledge we already have about interactions within the human body, we could simply put in those into some program and then simulate the effects of adding a drug to that system. The problem with this is that it assumes we already have enough information that we can know all or even a majority of the possible interactions that could occur within the body. Particularly when we're dealing with novel drugs, this is a big problem because we're basically functioning under the assumption that the synthetic system we have effectively mirrors reality, but the complexity of all possible interactions within the body is simply too difficult to map to any program. This might be a possibility at some point, and even now it might be a good option for initial screening, but it can't replace any sort of system-based approach.

    2. In vitro testing

    The idea here is to use human cells to simulate effects on the body, and in this case there is a strong argument to be had for human cells being more akin to human beings. The problem is that, regardless of how they're structured, they are still not a system. At best, we can generate something resembling a single tissue or organ and subject it to a given treatment, but treatments are only rarely restricted to a single site within the body, regardless of the formulation or purpose. At best, this can provide some basis for understanding if a drug has toxicity problems and may actually be effective in the host, but it is extremely restrictive and ignores many of the larger issues.

    3. Another living system

    Let's get this out of the way: most living systems are much further from human beings than mice. Nix everything non-mammalian because it bears little resemblance to us and would have even less applicable findings. The reason we use living systems is to function as a model for what happens when a drug is administered - where does it go in the body, what does it do to various organs and tissues, etc. It takes a lot of the uncertainty allowed by options 1 and 2 out of the equation by allowing for the drug to spread throughout a system. So, the other options here are mammals more similar to humans. Many might automatically jump to chimpanzees and monkeys, but there are others that are often used, like dogs and pigs. These all bear a greater resemblance to humans, and thus can provide a more accurate picture of what would happen in humans. There are a few problems with them, though. First, the costs of using these dramatically increase. Caring for the animals alone costs quite a bit more, as do monitoring systems and training. Second, they have fewer babies slower. If your goal is to monitor the effects of various drugs over multiple generations, then all of these animals would be impossible to use without years of study. Mice and rats produce more offspring faster. Third, these are all less well-studied organisms, and thus less malleable to various changes. Mice and rats have whole industries set aside to make genetic deletions and alterations, resulting in genetically identical populations that simply don't exist among these animals. Moreover, since many of the studies done in genetic engineering have been done in rodents, it would be much more difficult and time intensive to make new changes to these organisms, whereas rodents can be changed rapidly to suit the needs of an experiment. Still, these aren't bad options, and labs will often do subsequent studies following on rodents in more human-like mammals, which is a smart way to go after you've done some of the initial screening.

    4. In humans

    This is the gold standard. Human beings are most like human beings, so why not use them? Well, all of the issues I presented under 3 apply here, but then there's the issue of consent. How can a human being consent to a pre-clinical trial? I would argue that they cannot meaningfully do so. If the doctors have not established a toxicity threshold (or even what that toxicity does), then there's no way that they can know precisely what their subjects would go through should things go awry. That means that any consent forms they sign would have to be incredibly vague, and the price that they're paid would have to be... well, pretty insane, since death is a distinct possibility. And someone who has a decent amount of money to their name wouldn't consider submitting themselves to something with even a decent probability of death, which means that most of the people who would be submitting for this are desperate for cash. Combine that with the fact that they would still need a large number of participants for the initial screening in order to eliminate person-to-person differences as a factor, and you've got yourself a slew of problems.

    I'm not saying that none of these are reasonable - if anything, I think that rodent testing alone is a ridiculous choice, even for early screening. Instead, I think we need to consider rodent testing a necessary tool that, for the time being, cannot be replaced by any of these options. Already, we put human beings at some great risks in Phase I clinical trials, and that's when we have some idea of what the toxicity thresholds are for a given drug. We need to be far more certain of the risks before we can put human beings through any trials.
  • I think it should mostly be done on rats and mice because most people don't like rats and mice and these rodents. However, I think animal testing is not a good idea. 
  • averyapro said:
    However, I think animal testing is not a good idea. 
     Why not? What would you suggest be done instead?
  • Animals should not be tested on for any products due to the possible dangers of the product or solution.
  • @yolostide

    I understand the desire not to subject animals to the harms inherent to drug testing. That being said, I’d like to hear what alternative you think is best. Drugs do require testing, so how should we do it?
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