Animal Testing & Welfare Learn how to correctly analyse this topic.

Victoria Schoenlaub

7 min Read Time | August 10th 2021

Key takeaways

1

While animal testing and welfare are important issues, they often fall into the realm of ethics. You must remember to assess the impact and consequences of animal testing and welfare on society or the environment.

2

Two great starting points for assessing the impact of animal testing and animal welfare are its effects on human health or biodiversity.

3

Remember not to confuse impact with ethics!

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What are they?

Animal testing is a common laboratory practise meant to assess the safety of market-bound medical, cosmetic, household, chemical products and to research potentially harmful diseases. This testing method is responsible for the deaths of around 25 million animals every year. These tests are often performed (in order of decreasing use) on mice, rats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, farm animals, dogs, primates, and cats. The common argument against animal testing is regarding the ethics and the violation of animals’ rights; however, an environmental and health impact has been documented, including impacts on biodiversity, waste production, water contamination, resource use, and laboratory workers’ health.

Animal welfare describes how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. “An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter.”


Sources

https://www.u-turntheearth.com/post/how-animal-testing-harms-the-environment#:~:text=How%20does%20Animal%20Testing%20Affect%20our%20Environment%3F&text=Most%20of%20the%20waste%20that,contributing%20significantly%20to%20air%20pollution.

https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3298/1/1/14/pdf#:~:text=While%20there%20are%20few%20specific,on%20biodiversity%20and%20public%20health.

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SDG choice

✅ SDG 14

✅ SDG 15

Impact assessment

Writing an impact note about animal testing or animal welfare can be difficult because:

1) it is not specifically a target of the SDG 15 or 14, so there are no guidelines

2) it is on the surface of a rather ethical issue

Here are some ways you can turn a note on animal testing into an impact analysis (as opposed to an ethical analysis):

  • Focus on the consequences of these practices. Add figures about the number of animals used in testing procedures every year and describe the effects for these animals or on the health of people who conduct these tests.
  • Give a more exhaustive understanding of this issue to your readers. Why do companies use animal testing (to reduce the number of people being harmed by the product)? What alternatives to animal testing exist, and why are these companies not using them?
  • Take a critical view and detail all the pros and cons (or benefits/limits) of animal testing.


Here are some ways you can turn a note on animal welfare into an impact analysis (as opposed to an ethical analysis):

  • Explore the direct impact animal welfare has on human health (SDG 3) or explore the direct impact animal welfare has on biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Take a critical view and detail all the pros and cons (or benefits/limits) of the activities the company is undertaking on animal welfare.


Check out Golden Rule #3: Differentiate ethics from impact to ensure you conduct an impact analysis and not an ethical one.

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