Debate Kit: Should Animals Be Used in Experiments?

A hot topic in classrooms and on the minds of the public is the use of animals in experiments. Almost every classroom debate unit or school debate team’s topics include the question of whether or not it’s justifiable for humans to test on animals. Here at PETA, our core belief is that animals are not ours to use. We know that many schools assign debates on topical issues to help their students learn to speak and write persuasively, develop research skills, and recognize multiple sides of a controversial or multifaceted issue—and vivisection is certainly one such topic. This student debate kit lists a variety of resources that can be shared with students to support the argument that animals shouldn’t be used in experiments.

Resolved: Animal testing is ineffective, unethical, and wasteful and should be replaced with non-animal methods.

Affirmative Argument

Millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside barren cages in laboratories across the country to be used in experiments. They languish in pain, suffer from extreme frustration, ache with loneliness, and long to be free. Instead, all they can do is sit and wait in fear for the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them. The lack of environmental enrichment and the stress of their living situation cause some animals to develop neurotic types of behavior, such as incessantly spinning in circles, rocking back and forth, pulling out their own fur, and even biting themselves. After enduring pain, loneliness, and terror, almost all of them are killed.

There are many non-animal research methods that can be used in place of animal testing. Not only are these non-animal tests more humane, they’re also more relevant to humans and have the potential to be cheaper and faster.

Each of us can help prevent animal suffering and take a stand against vivisection by buying cruelty-free products, requesting alternatives to animal dissection at school, donating only to charities that don’t experiment on animals, and demanding the immediate implementation of humane, effective non-animal tests by government agencies and corporations.

White rabbits in small laboratory cages© iStock.com/jxfzsy

Become an ‘Expert’

Use the following links to conduct research on general information about vivisection and prepare logical arguments:

Build Your Case

Use the following links to gather evidence and examples to support your position against experiments on animals:

Research Articles, Scholarly Articles, and Investigative Analysis

Accounts and Statement From Vivisectors, Experts, and Patients

Eyewitness Investigations, Whistleblower Reports, and Videos

Evidence of the Wastefulness and Ineffectiveness of Vivisection

Finding the Solution

Use the following resources to help build a proposal suggesting solutions to issues that could allegedly arise if humans stopped experiments on animals:

Dissection-Specific Resources

Anticipate Counterarguments, and Prepare Rebuttals

Analyze websites that support vivisection to determine their stated reasons for justifying the use of animals in experiments. Investigate what benefits laboratories, universities, and experimenters gain by using animals in experiments, and think critically about their motivations. Also, examine which other entities benefit from using animals in experiments (e.g., breeders, governmental organizations, and scientists who study only captive animals). Create a list of typical statements made by parties who want vivisection to continue. Information included in the links in this document can be used to respond to counterarguments.

Additional Resources

Websites

Photographs

Books

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Have students use the curated content in this debate resource kit to prepare an affirmative argument stating why animals shouldn’t be used for experimentation. These resources will assist students in supporting their position using scientific, ethical, and philosophical arguments.

Want free educational posters and stickers for students to use during their debates? E-mail us at [email protected]

Do your students need to conduct an interview as part of their research? Staff members from PETA’s student sector are available to speak with students via phone, Skype, or e-mail and to answer questions about our stance on vivisection. Have students e-mail us directly at [email protected]—or if you’d like to contact us on their behalf, please fill out the form below, and we’ll arrange for them to speak with a representative.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind