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The use of live animals in conducting medical test has been in use for a long time and it has had invaluable use in the progress of medical science and understanding of human body. The history of use of animals in experimentation is dated to the ancient Greeks and the Romans although this changed from old model to a more advanced state during the 18th and 19th centuries (Tybanks).
Charles Darwin in 1959, through the evolutionary theory was able to demonstrate that live animals could be used as models to study physiology and biology in human beings. In 1863 some British women in Florence were the first to object and protest against vivisection which involves dissection of animal. In England 1876, the Cruelty to Animals Act allowed use of anesthetics during dissection of animals (Tybanks). The use of animals in conducting medical research reached its peak in the early 1980s and it has been going down as a result of public pressure to reduce the amount of animals tested and due to development of alternatives.
The UK in 1986 published, Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act which provides the guidelines and regulations on use of animals for scientific and commercials testing. The UK government also established the Animal Procedures Committee which serves as an advisory and non-departmental public body under the provisions of the sections 19 and 20 of the Animal Act of 1986( Tybanks). The Congress in 1966 passed the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act which served to regulate only acquirement and handling of animals by animal dealers. The act was later amended in 1970, to cater for the care of animals in research institutions. In the second half of the 20th Century, there was mounted pressure for government s to pass severe laws concerning animal testing and this lead to some states not allowing use of animals in experimentation. The Congress in 1985 then passed new animal experimentation legislation together with a bill which required the National Institutes of Health to improve its animal testing omission (Tybanks). Afterwards the Congress restructured the Animal Welfare Act to include more in house examination for proposals for use of lab animals and add more consideration in lessening of pain and suffering in animal experimentation.
Pros of animal testing
Application of animal experimentation has been used in a number products including; housed hold products and cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. When conducting laboratory research, animals have been use in; product safety evaluation, biomedical research and in education. Throughout the world animals have been use d to experiment of products which range from shampoo to new drugs. Almost all medicines used on human beings have to be first tested on animals before being used on humans. Aesthetics which reduce pain and agony during surgery are also first experimented using animals. The argument for support of animal experimentation is that it aids in development of the several medications and procedures that are currently in use today and also use of animals in research helps in development of future treatments. It has been supported that human beings existence has been assisted by the health care developments which has been based on the good side of doing experimentation using animals for many years. Animal research has been justified since it has helped to assist in coming up with ways to assist human beings and other animals for the future. Open-heart surgery techniques and advancement in organ transplant has been made possible through animal surgery. Through animal experimentation it has been possible to develop vaccines fro diseases such as, measles, mumps, rabies, and Tuberculosis and by use of animal tests it has been made possible to develop antibiotics to for, Cancer treatments and insulin drugs. Among the most fundamental advancement in the reproductive medicine has been the use of oral contraception, hormone replacement therapy and test tube babies( in vitro fertilization) and these have been made possible using animal research (Heaven and Stubblefield, 44)
Many medical measures like measuring pacemakers and heart and lung machines were first tested on animals before being tried on human beings. Surgery methods similar to those used to eradicate and fix bone diseases were development through first experimentation on animals. Using animals in research benefits both human beings and animals, as seen in the heartworm medication which was developed from animal experimentation has helped many dogs. Cat feed has been fully been understood through animal testing and this has enabled researchers to advocate for cat food the make them o live healthier and long lives. By using animal models for AIDS it has been made possible to study important factors about the biology of immuno-deficiency viruses in the cell and with this information researchers have been able to raise the require awareness on the stages of pathogenesis and its stoppage by chemotherapy.
It has been argued in support of use of animal testing that the advantages of it has brought to humans is much greater when compared to the pain and agony inflicted to the few number of animals. Supporters of animal testing argue that human beings life is considered more important than that of animals since humans have more capability and sensibility higher when compared to animals. In an example where there is a drowning baby and a drowning rat all need to be saved, we will be guided by our instinct to save the baby first.
Human beings are required to have a moral obligation to prevent preventable suffering to animals but they are confronted with an ethical tight spot to choose from their welfare and that of the animals. A few supporters of animal experimentation attest that ethical rights and values of justice only apply to humans although morality has been considered as a social creation and it does not associate animals. Human beings have the moral responsibility to incur any liability to reduce and prevent untimely death and suffering to fellow human beings through animal testing.
Cons on animal testing
Those who do not support animal experimentation base their argument on morality and whether the practice is suitable and whether the authority is granted to carry out the tests and also whether the tests involving animals give the researchers with helpful information. It has been argued that animals have the right to live and enjoy their live peacefully and that human being should not be permitted to interfere with the animals lives since they have the capability. Those who donâ€™t support animal testing consider deaths occurring during research are unnecessary and same to murder. According to John Frazer and Ala Goldberg they argue that one of the main disadvantage of animal testing are that tests result to discomfort, death, extrapolation problems in the species and the process is very expensive and usually time consuming (Yarri, 22). Since humans are different from other animals the results obtained from animal experiments do not accurately the influence on humans is one of the sober criticism against animal testing.
From the medical advancement so far realized it is very clear that animal testing is a must and will still continue until suitable alternative is developed. The back lies on the animal organizations and those in the medical research field to ensure experimentation on animals is carried out in a morally right and does not result to suffering or discomfort to the animals (Alix, 64). Manufacturers should develop safe products for human use so that there is minimal experimentation on animals. Another strategy that will need to be adopted is to involve a reduction in animals testing used, a refinement of procedures to minimize suffering and distress to animals and replacement of animal models with phylo-genetically lower species. Large manufactures of body care and house hold products should come up with new ways to produce cost effective and less human injury causing products and products that will not require a lot of animal testing.