In order to tackle this topic, I would suggest reading the philosopher Peter Singer's work, Animal Liberation, which explores the ethics of speciesism and the role of animals in our society. He argues that our use of animals is morally wrong, and we need to adjust our way of thinking about animals, and see them as independent beings, and not something for us to use for clothing, food, or testing. This is a definitive text in the area of animal rights. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) is another good resource for information on animal experimentation, and PCRM (the Physicians Council for Responsible Medicine) is also a great resource from a more medical perspective. You can also look into the writings of Descartes, who explored animal consciousness, Kant, who looked at using animals cruelly as bad for humans because it weakens us morally, Jeremy Bentham, who believed that since animals are capable of suffering, that makes it morally wrong to abuse them, and Schopenhauer, who did not see animals as "things" and advocated quick and less painful deaths for animals for use as food.
Before I get down to ethical and moral arguments associated with animal testing, it is worthwhile what is basically ethics or moral behavior. Both there terms refer to right behavior as opposed to wrong, and good behavior as opposed to bad. But the concept of good and bad, and right or wrong change from person to person. These concepts are often defined by cultures, which themselves differ from place to place and evolve and change over a period of time. In my attempt to clear this confusion, I describe ethical and moral behavior as the kind of behaviour, which leads to overall good for the humanity. It is worth noting that this good of the humanity is not opposed to good of the individual. Rather both these are compatible with each other. What is goo for the society also benefits the individual in the society. Also in ultimate analysis the good of the society itself is the sum total of good of individuals.
Then to understand the ethical and moral issues associated with animal testing we need to examine its effect on the humanity as a whole. The biggest benefit of animal testing for the humanity is development of better technology to improve the condition of the people. Apart from this I do not see any other benefits. However there are many cost to humanity associated with animal testing.
The biggest negative impact of animal testing is that it tends to inculcate cruelty in human beings. In general, we do not value the lives of animals very much. As a matter of fact we commonly kill animals for food. But this disregard for life of animals can can escalate very easily in to disregard for human life. This is particularly so when we engage in indiscriminate killing, and subject animals to various kinds of pains and sufferings.
Thus though there is some justification in animal testing, there is clearly a case for restricting it only for purposes that are important and cannot be served in any other way. Also there is need to conduct such test in ways that minimise the pain and suffering to the animals.
This is a subject on which the public has been very successfully misled. It is an ethical but also a scientific issue. To hear what doctors have to say on this issue i advise www.curedisease.net www.curedisease.com www.navs.org www.mrmcmed.org www.dlrm.org there are many others.
Animal experimentation is also a crime against humans. Strychnine, cyanide, arsenic, botulin, asbestos, HIV infected blood, DDT, benzene, cigarettes all pass animal ‘tests’. Carcinogens, pollutants, teratogens, neurotixins etc also pass. Animal exp. (vivisection) causes human illness in 2 major ways. Firstly, anything and everything will pass an animal test irrespective of what damage it does to humans and the environment. This provides legal protection to the manufacturers or polluters but not physical protection to consumers. Largely as a result of this fraudulent testing humans now have 30,000 diseases. Secondly, once we have these incresing new and old diseases the research is almost entirely animal based, therefore no diseases are cured. 60 million animals a year killed in medical ‘research’ and not a single disease, and there are 30,000 to choose from, cured year after year.
In regard to Peter Singer you may want to google 'singer ruesch rockefeller vivisection' for some surprisng and little know info. about him and his connection to the vivisectors (animal experimenters).
A valid premise on which to base a discussion of this would be 'animal experiments harm animals, humans and the environment. But they provide legal protection to the pharmaceutical and petro chemical industries, titles, qualifications and income to thousands of people, economic benefit to shareholders and employees of industries who benefit from animal experiments." That is what needs to be weighed up to construct a utilitarian argument.