Humans In Medical And Psychological Research Biology Essay


Throughout history, animals have been victimised and generally portrayed with restricted value and have been subjected to the most inhumane cruelty. They are dominated by manipulating them as subjects to be tested on rather than individuals with rights by repeatedly being breed and genetically engineered for research. They have suffered in their pursuit of freedom and are exploited and used as an industrialized role of merchandise. The central purpose behind animal testing is to; pioneer, innovate and assess mercantile products. There are many different categories in which animal testing falls under, some of which are: medical tests, pure research, military defence and cosmetic, personal and household product testing and psychological research. Some of the tests that are carried out are: acute, chronic, eye/skin irritation, psychological, toxicity and damage from bullet tests. The experiments are carried out in commercial facilities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies and defence laboratories. Institutions carry out the research for; the benefit of humans, to further our knowledge, discover effective ways of killing people in wars or solely for monetary purposes. Animals are not mentally capable of being understanding but that does not make them more expendable to mankind. They are manipulated by the suffering that they are subjected to unnecessarily. Therefore, animals should be eradicated from scientific uses.

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The most commonly accepted type of animal testing that takes place is medical experiments. It aims to discover cures for diseases by practising the effects of contemporary or advanced drugs on animals. This is sometimes achieved by regularly injecting the animal with vaccines or other chemicals to deliberately infect them with deadly forms of viruses and bacteria. The results obtained from tests conducted on animals may not produce complimentary results with humans because of interspecific variation. An example of this is the use of Penicillin which is one of the most used antibiotics that is saving millions of human lives but kills guinea pigs and cats. Other examples are the drugs Thalidomide and Clioquinol. Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women as a tranquilizer in the early 1960s to prevent morning sickness. Tragically, it turned out to be lethal to developing foetuses and resulted in severe deformities. Although, the drug was previously tested on several contrasting species and was found to be safe. Only the animals that were exposed to immense doses of the drug (over 200 times the average dose to humans) resulted in deformities. The results obtained from the animal tests did not conclude the human response. Another example of this is the drug Clioquinol. It was marketed mainly in Japan for relieving the symptoms of diarrhoea. It was safely tested on animals without any symptoms of neurotoxicity. However, the drug malfunctioned with humans. In fact, it caused the diarrhoea itself and also evoked a neurological disease called Subacute Myelo-optic Neuropathy (SMON.) The aftermath of the drug was thousands of cases of paralysis, blindness and death. Despite the fact that both drugs were established as being safe during animal testing the consequences were devastating and destructive when consumed by humans. These two experiments demonstrate that the data collected cannot be meticulously hypothesized.

Another form of medical experimentation is xenotransplantations (animals have their organs extracted and replaced with organs of another animal). These are carried out for research purposes or to practise medical techniques. Most of the animals used are euthanized. The animals are often mishandled, abused and are sometimes not actually anaesthetised or even administered analgesics during the severe tests. This was revealed in an advertisement released by PETA advising viewer's discretion. The inhumane ways in which the animals were treated was disturbing for most people. It included secret video footage of the harsh realities of laboratory testing on animals. The research that is carried out is often funded by the government and organisations such as, Cancer Research UK and The British Heart Foundation. The US spends approximately $18 billion every year to get inaccurate, disappointing and unpromising results. PETA feels so strongly about animal testing for the use of medicine that they have pledged to support cruelty-free companies and charities. They made hundreds of petitions to prevent the cruelty of animals by trying to bring animal testing to a halt. Some of them have been successful; more than half a million animals were saved by influencing the White House to make changes to the chemical testing programme. They did this by proving that testing products on animals were not necessary. Therefore, it is not right to use animals for medical research as the results are unreliable.

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However, some may argue that animal testing should be allowed where it could potentially save human lives as it is only way in which the intended harm and annihilation of lives could be justified. Medical breakthroughs such as cornea and heart transplants, enhancing treatments for disorders and the discovery of immunisations have all been discovered from tests carried out on animals. If it had not been for animal testing the life saving drugs and surgical procedures would have not been discovered or even introduced. This means that diseases such as Cholera would have still been around. As a result of medical discoveries the average life span has been increased, infant mortality has decreased and the quality of life has been enhanced, all of which are results of vaccines, drugs and therapies derived from experimenting on animals. There are many organisations which supports animal testing such as 'The British Royal Society' because of the major medical accomplishments in the 20th century which confided in utilizing animals. Also, some may argue that it is right because it reduces human suffering as it allows us to test life changing treatments before they are considered safe to us humans. If animals were not available to test drugs then there would be a delay in the release of most drugs which could cost thousands of human lives. Therefore, some may say that it is justifiable to allow animal suffering as there is some good gained from it.

Furthermore, some scientists may say that the only reason that animals are used during medical tests is because the procedures are illegitimate to be carried out on humans and there is no other substitute. They may also argue that the tests are conducted under the professional supervision of a panel of animal welfare organisations and veterinarians and that only a minority of organisations break the law. Most scientists concluded that if animal testing was to be abolished then we would be affected by it. It would have the effect of immobilizing medicine by eternalizing the endurance of human suffering and jeopardising the well-being of humans.

In spite of this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that less than ten percent of drugs that succeed in the animal testing phase make it to the human clinical phase. Irrevocably, animal testing is absurd and pointless. However, some scientists still refuse to believe that animal testing is of no use. The tests have been confirmed to be pointless numerous times. The tests can only further our knowledge of diseases and illnesses but do not create a permanent cure. However, there are many new research methods that scientists could use instead to find out the effects of the drugs such as, cell cultures, human volunteers and computer models. These methods do not involve animals and are more accurate. They are also reliable because the drugs could be tested out a numerous amount of times without the cost of lives. This could ultimately show the effect specifically on humans which is the main aim of animal experiments.

Animals are also used in lesion studies for psychological research. The animals that are used are kept in solitary confinement where they will often suffer from dementia from having no freedom. Some are purposely driven mad so they can characterise traits of conditions such as schizophrenia and depression so they can be tested on for cures. Lesion studies include damage being done to the brain and recording the resulting change in behaviour. This could be done by; surgically removing or burning away a part of the brain or by using drugs that temporarily 'shut off' parts of the brain. For example, the animal could be injected with Dopamine (a drug which is excessly released into the body of Schizophrenics.) The behaviour of the animal would then be observed to see whether it has any traits like a human suffering from Schizophrenia would have. After observing the behaviour the animal would no longer be injected with Dopamine. Therefore, the brain is only affected temporarily. This is more ethical because it does not cause long lasting damage. However, removing a section of the brain is extremely unethical as the damage is beyond repair and the animal has to be euthanized as a result of it. Sometimes the damage is so extreme that the neurological functions are no longer intact; some suffer from intense seizures or paralysis. In summary, the credibility of the studies is low because there are many differences between animals and humans. Therefore, the results may not apply to humans. Despite this, they further our understanding and knowledge of the brain and help neurologists to discover new things. Without such studies we would still be questioning mental disorders such as Schizophrenia and would have never discovered antidepressant drugs.

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The tests carried out are categorised according to the amount of suffering that the animal is subjected to, it ranges from mild to extreme. Mild testing is the lowest degree of harm that the animals can endure, such as, obtaining blood or urine samples, changing the animal's diet or carrying out minor biopsies. The second category of animal testing is moderate. This could involve implantations of electrodes into the brain for psychological research. The third category is substantial testing which can include removing a part of the brain. This is severely detrimental to the animal's health. Finally, the most tragic form of animal testing is the unclassified level. There is no hope of recovery after the procedures are carried out. They are despaired from a life of suffering by administering extreme doses of anaesthetics so they have no hope of ever becoming conscious again. The procedures are carried out in respect to the lowest level of suffering that is mandatory. However, the researchers cannot accurately predict the suffering that the animal experiences. Therefore, more stress may be caused than intended.

However, some may argue that Human beings share about 80% of their DNA with mice. Due to the fact that they are similar to human's scientists believe that it is worthwhile to carry out these tests on animals. Also, their logic could follow something such as; the killing of a hundred mice during animal testing is not ethical or moral yet it could guide scientists to the discovery of a new drug which could cure a disease such as AIDS and could therefore save over a million lives. This is the doctrine of double effect; a good cause emerges from an evil cause. As a result of this millions of lives are stabilised across the globe by finding cures for diseases and preventing them using vaccines. Despite this, this utilitarian claim is not credited because thousands of lives are being taken at the same time.

One of the most controversial areas of animal testing is the use of animals for military defences. The military uses animals to tests weapons, chemicals and gases. They are used to evaluate the aftermath of warfare. This relentless act shows no compassion towards those who once belonged to us. The animals are also used to improve surgical techniques such as stopping haemorrhages. To make the situation as realistic as possible the procedures are performed on live animals, just as a soldier would be conscious when wounded by a bullet. One of the most horrendous cases of military testing was known as 'The Atomic Ark' experiment. In 1946 four thousand farm animals were loaded into an 'ark' and set adrift. They were all killed by the atomic bomb that exploded above them. The aim of the experiment was to see the effect of an atomic bomb placed closed to people. The test proved what was originally predicted. It is absurd to kill animals in such logical tests. Other examples of remorseless tests that are performed include; submerging live rats in boiling water and infecting the burns, drenching rats with flammable chemicals then setting them up in flames, blasting animals with explosives, exposing them to total body irradiation, attaching cartons of mosquitoes to see the effects of them feeding, mutilating and shooting animals. Murdering animals to develop new techniques to maliciously kill humans is barbaric and unforgivable. Therefore, it should not be allowed.

Many new cosmetic (make-up, skincare), household (air fresheners) and personal (dental care, soap) products are invented every day. For most of these products to be able to be put onto the market legally they need to be tested for toxicity and safety. Scientists only use animals as a solution to this. Testing the products on animals often requires; pumping the product into the animal's stomach to see how much it takes to kill the animal, putting drops of the products into their eyes and rubbing it onto their bare skin to determine burning or irritation and forcing the animal to inhale the product by putting a gas mask on or putting the animal in a tube and suffocating it with gases some of which are carcinogenic. All of this is extremely harmful and traumatizing for the animal. Products which are labelled "tear free", "harmful if swallowed" or "rinse with water if it gets into your eyes" are statements determined from testing the products on animals. Vanity products have no need to be tested on animals, it is entirely narcissistic. It is so extraneous that organisations such as PETA have protested to ban it. This has influenced the EU to introduce a new 'Animal Cosmetic Product Act' in March 2013 to ultimately ban the marketing of every cosmetic product that contains ingredients derived from or tested on animals regardless of whether there is no other testing alternative.

There are many acts that are in place to protect and limit the number of animals in experiments. The 'Animal Welfare Act of 1966' in the USA requires companies that test their products on animals to report the number of animals used. Unfortunately, it doesn't include birds, rats or mice. Therefore, some companies do not report it. The Humane Society introduced 'The Coalition for Consumer Information' which gave consumers information about cosmetic products. The program aspires to get companies to authenticate that they do not test any of their products of animals. A "leaping bunny" logo represents this. PETA is another institution which is attempting to show scientists that animal testing has no bearing on medical discoveries as the tests cannot reliably predict the aftermath in humans. Finally, the Animal Scientific Procedures Act of 1986 introduced forfeiture for the neglect and cruelty to animals. The Act was a breakthrough in the battle against animal testing. To be able to use animals in future experiments institutions now need a trio of licenses. The first two licenses require; the aim of the experiment, the number of animals used and information about the facilities and staff carrying out the procedures. Ultimately, the most important form of authorization is from the Home Office. Only is it granted when it is established that there is no alternative way of attaining the results apart from testing the procedure out on animals which will best replicate the effect that it has on humans. Also, the benefits of the experiment have to be massively significant and overwhelming so that it can immensely benefit the world. 'The Animal Testing Act 1986' states that "the minimum amount of animals must be used and must only involve animals with the lowest degree of neurophysiological sensitivity. It must also cause the minimum amount of stress and permanent impairment." Therefore, the animals involved are alleviated of pain; they are anaesthetised if the pain inflicted is more than simply the pain of an injection. Analgesics can also be administered to comfort them. Therefore, some may argue that they are caused hardly any pain and are made as comfortable as possible in the environment that they are possessed in. However, we can question how ethical this is. The environment in which they are held in is detrimental to their health; the sound of screaming and crying animals cause stress to the surrounding animals that are isolated in diminutive cages where they often run around in circles from boredom and agitation. Most of the animals spend their entire lives locked up and being tested on. This is known as chronic testing. Some of the animals are breed for experimental purposes. This is class A dealing. They are breed to be killed; they are repeatedly given large doses of drugs until they are killed to determine a sensible dose for humans. Class B dealers get their animals from auctions, pounds or from shelters. They chose the unadoptable ones from the shelters that would be euthanized anyway. Therefore, some may argue that we might as well utilize them to help people as they are going to be put down either ways. It is unethical and immoral to do this to creatures that cannot speak for themselves. What would they say if they could speak?

In conclusion, it is extremely dangerous to compare data retrieved from one species to another species as they would not have the same genetic make-up. However, companies still use animals as a way of testing their products to predict the effects of it on humans ignoring the reality of it being incredibly unreliable and unsafe. In addition, animals do not need to be killed in order to find out that ingesting any cleaning product such as bleach will cause harm to a human or that applying cream into the eyes will cause irritation. Moreover, cosmetic, personal and household products cannot be linked to life changing applications such as medical testing can and therefore the taking of lives for it should be questioned. Also, the fact that all drugs are tested on humans in clinical trials before being released makes no sense that animals are used before. Equally, you could argue that it is prejudiced to take the animals life if the tests only benefit us and not the animal itself. It is also nefarious to ignore the life of a non human organism when the death of a human in an experiment would amount to murder. The death of innocent and naïve animals by testing cosmetic products on them, which is unnecessary, is unforgivable. There are many companies which do not test their products on animals and are profited from as well as any other company. Therefore, it is not a necessity to test products on animals.

Also, the purpose of the medical field is to sustain and improve life. However, animal testing completely contradicts this as millions of lives are lost every year trying to save "more precious" lives. Overall, testing on animals produces faulty results. It is unscientific as you cannot directly apply the results to humans. "In silence they suffer, in loneliness they die."

Overall, animal testing should also be prohibited because there have been other discoveries with enormous impacts. For example, scientists have decoded the entire human genome. This is the genes of the entire human body. Therefore, it makes no sense that scientists investigate the effect of drugs on monkeys and other primates because their DNA is the closest match to ours when they know our genome and could replicate parts of our bodies using this information. The genome could be used to treat thousands of disorders that affect humans. Henceforward, there is no need to assess the use of medication on other organisms which will not even produce reliable results. Secondly, post-mortem studies can be used to learn about diseases and their causes. This would be a very effective way of learning about diseases and their prevention as the information gathered comes specifically from humans with the disease. Thirdly, animal testing should be abolished is because scientists have produced cell based tissue models that replicate human skin by cloning. Cosmetics and household products should be tested on this artificial skin rather than being applied to animal skin where first degree burns are often formed. Not only is it preventing permanent damage to an animal but it is more reliable as the effects are on a human sample so the results are also as accurate; animal testing could never provide such accurate results. Finally, stem cells can differentiate into any cells which can fundamentally grow into organs. Incredibly accurate and reliable results would be produced from these experiments as the cells are collected from adult humans or embryos which would mean that they have identical DNA. This would replicate exactly how a drug or a product would react to a human. There would be no possible errors apart from human errors from experimentation; for example, applying the wrong dose. The stem cells can also be influenced to develop into diseased human tissue. The cells can then be used for drug screening. The discovery of stem cells could revolutionise medicine and ultimately replace animal testing.

"There are no alternatives to animal experimentation, for one can only talk of alternatives if these replace something of the same worth; and there is nothing quite as useless, misleading and harmful as animal experimentation." -Professor Pietro Croce, M.D.

Animal Testing

The monkey is being tested for the effects of marijuana when being injected into the eyes without being given any anaesthetics. The aim is to determine whether it would help people who suffer from glaucoma. However, the results will be incredibly inaccurate as the monkey does not have the disease. Therefore, the purpose of the experiment is almost pointless as its eye will react completely differently.

Lethal chemicals are injected into this cat's brain to see the effects for research purposes. There is clearly brain damage

as one pupil is fully dilated and the other is not. Curiosity literally killed the cat as it had to be put down because the damage that was done was beyond repair.

The skin irritancy test involves the experimenter removing on average seven layers of skin by shaving the fur off and attaching tape and removing it several times. This skin is then exposed to chemicals which often cause swelling and abnormal tissue growth in the area. The area often gets infected and the animal often dies as a result of it.

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The Draize test (eye irritancy test) involves the use of rabbits as their tear ducts do not allow a lot of tear flow. They are completely restrained. The experimenter places a chemical into one of the eyes while the other one is used as a control. The rabbit's eyes often burn forming ulcers as they are fully conscious. They most often become blinded during the process.

Rabbits are repeatedly used in the pyrogen tests.

The pyrogen test involves rabbits being restrained and having a probe inserted into their rectum. They often struggle and become fixated with each other as they go insane from being immobilised for hours. A substance is injected directly into the rabbit's ear vein repeatedly.

At the end of the test surviving mice were killed in this gas chamber.

Botox testing is one of the most controversial types of animal testing. Mice are injected with botulinum toxin which is one of the most toxic substances known to man. The mice become paralysed and suffocate from not being able to breathe. To aid their death the experimenters break their necks using a pen. However, they sometimes break their backs instead. The lucky ones who survive from a lower dose are killed in a gas chamber.