Do animal rights supporters refrain from using life saving drugs which were developed through animal testing?
It is an interesting question I think it would be difficult to do, because most drugs have been tested on animals at some point. It would be like refraining from using cars or aeroplanes, because the first crash tests used pigs! Or refraining from using air conditioning, because temperature/comfort figures were developed using data gathered on Nazi political prisoners. I think we have to accept that the human race has a dark past…
I had a friend who was a passionate animal rights protestor: she had epilepsy, and had to take strong medication that had almost certainly been tested on animals. But she still campaigned against animal testing for current and future research.
A few of them do. However, I personally do not believe that this is ethically required.
To explain, let us hypothetically suppose that while the Nazis were experimenting on prisoners during World War II, they had discovered the cure to cancer. Hypothetically suppose that the question before us, now that the Nazis have been defeated, is what to do with this cure. Should we use it, or should we discard it?
My answer to this question is an extremely controversial one, and it is one which many other animal rights activists and vegetarians strongly disagree with. My answer is use it. I believe that it would make no sense to discard the cure for cancer simply because it was obtained in an unethical way. We can condemn the means through which the Nazis discovered it, and vow to never repeat their mistakes, while at the same time use this cure to save as many lives as possible.
This is also my attitude with regards to the use of life saving drugs which were developed through animal testing.
Quote from Animal Rights and Vegetarian Ethics by Eugene Khutoryansky
Sometimes you have to disobey your beliefs in order to live. If that would be the only cure you can get, then why not use it. You can still promote your beliefs even using these drugs.