Personally I have never worked in labs that work on animals – it isn’t something I ever want to do – but I’m fairly familiarised with the procedures and uses, and yes, I am in favor of animal testing in medical research. However, there is a big BUT. I oppose the use of animals in any other areas such as cosmetic products, particularly when it comes to ‘luxury products’. With that I mean anything that is of no medical use, such as shampoos/skin care products etc. If we have to test a skin care product on animals, then it should have never become a skin product in the first place, as these shouldn’t contain questionable substances.
When deciding whether a substance ‘qualifies’ to be tested on animals, I like to consider whether animal testing is necessary for the development of a product. In research, particularly drug research and clinical trials, this is often the case. If we weren’t to test a drug on an organism similar to us (ie it has a brain, circulation, nervous system and similar genetic layout) we would again, put people in harms way.
With improving technology and lab methods, they are becoming less needed and ideally will become obsolete over time, but are currently a robust ‘standard’ enforced by the FDA, for example.
When I see individuals protesting against animal use in research, I doubt they know what the consequences of that could be – considerably slowing down drug discovery. I understand that from an outside viewing point it might seem cruel, but animal testing is at the moment indispensable in parts of drug research.
Another thing worth mentioning is that getting permissions to test on animals in research is very difficult. There is a lot of paper work and ethical decisions involved, if animal models, such as mouse, are required for the type of research. The number of mice used are regulated, how mice are killed – as ‘humane’ and ‘painless’ as possible, aso. That said I think these rules should be strongly enforced and maintained to oversee and limit animal testing, to the areas where this is absolutely necessary.