Scientists have been using animal testing for many years so that we as humans can benefit in science, understand the human condition better, and make numerous advancements in the world. Research is usually taken place inside many universities/medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, and facilities that provide animal testing services to industry. It includes important research such as genetics, behavioral studies, and xenotransplantation, biology, toxicology and drug tests. Animals are also used for education, defense research, and breeding. Although it may seem a lot for these animals to be tested but only benefits us as human beings. Almost every medical achievement in the twentieth century relied on the use of animals in some kind of way. The Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the United States National Academy of Sciences believes that super computers are incapable to model connections between molecules, organisms, cells, tissues, organs, and the environment, which makes animal research necessary. A handful of the times animal testing provides the only alternative from human testing or experimentation.
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But to what extent do we have to go to experiment on god's creatures in order for us to be satisfied and to put our curiosity at rest. We have established the scientific evolution, but in doing so, it seems that our ethics and morals have failed to progress. The knowledge we have obtained is remarkable, but with it comes with a price. Animals have been tortured and heartlessly kill because we consider them lesser beings. Dr. Michael W. Fox, author of Inhumane Society: The American Way of Exploiting Animals, "estimates that twenty-five to thirty-five million animals are used in the United States each year for laboratory testing and research. Research involving tests done on animals is unnecessary and cruel. More humane methods of research need to be employed," (Fox 58). Laboratory animals are demoralized and to suffer in pain for the name of research and testing. Fox mentions that animal testing's on cosmetics and household products are considered a "public relations campaign to dispel public concern and give a false sense of security. The companies that are continuing to test products on animals do so only because they do not want to have to begin putting warning labels on products that might alarm the consumers," (Fox 61). Putting these animals through pain is just morally wrong and should be stopped. There are groups who try to stop the usage of animals and try to use the alternatives.
In today's society a wide range of different companies and organizations are disputing whether animal testing should be banned or not. There are a variety of people who believe animal testing should be performed and have reasons to support why animal testing is acceptable. On the other hand, there are other groups of people who believe that animal testing is morally and respectably wrong. To get into depth of detail entailing about the pros and cons to animal testing and alternatives, I had conducted a survey for fifty people to answer. This survey provided information of how much knowledge these interviewers knew about animal testing and its alternatives. Not only was their knowledge I was surveying it was also their reactions and as well as how much they care about this controversial issue. For researchers who work and study in this field, there may be alternatives to the animal testing in retrospect to the behaviors that go on today. Massive amounts of research can help to provide alternatives as there are other ways to test animals, and therefore animal testing should currently be banned.
Point of View For Animal Testing:
Animal Testing is important especially to improving human health. Without any animals to test on drugs or other products, everything would be based on theories. Many of the types of animals used in testing are killed by home traps, exterminators, or animal/pest control; animals that are being tested or experimented on are not endangered species. No one would want to use something, which maybe poisonous, cancerous, or even cause varies birth defects. Animal testing is a result of many different benefits such as finding effective drugs to combat disease and save lives, gives results from faster testing, improves surgical procedures, decreases human experimentation, and makes products safe for human use. "In some cases, a pretrial product poses a level of risk that is too high to test on humansâ€¦ Animals such as mice provide a close approximation to the results of a product for human use," (Huebsch). When it comes to certain testing the human body can be at a higher risk of danger, where as a laboratory mouse is closer to getting results without deadly human experimentation. Also in order to get result, they need a subject that is consistent with fast testing which is why, "Animals that have short life spans, such as rodents, allow researchers to test clinical trials at many different stages of life in a short span of time, reports Time," (Huebsch). All of the advance surgery procedures have also have benefited from using animals to study. In the beginning there was nothing that could be done when it came to cataract surgery and many people were going blind. Now cataract surgeries has been the one to increase in is improvements and results. Though it was curable it had flaws because the procedure took way too long and the patients recovery took even longer. Due to animal testing, surgery time has shortened, recovery time has decreased, and there is less discomfort after the procedure. Because of animal testing doctors and surgeons believe there is no way that animal testing should be banned. It has saved many lives and most of our advances in medicine are related to the studies animal testing. Probably one of the most important benefits to animal testing is the fact that it saves lives every time an animal is testing a drug or a product that can cure a disease. "These drugs often go on to save lives. Without testing on animals, scientists would have to estimate the effects on humans, likely resulting in lower quality medicine that does not always work," (Huebsch).
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The human race benefits from animal testing and research. "Without animal research, medical science would come to a total standstillâ€¦ you cannot study kidney transplantation or diarrhea or high blood pressure on a computer screen,"(Woods 210 & 212). Woods is explaining the fact that with all the break through with modern and advance science, animal testing is one of the beneficiaries to curing diseases and creating vaccinations:
Animal research has led to vaccines against diphtheria, rabies, tuberculosis, polio, measles, mumps, cholera, whooping cough, and rubella. It has meant eradication of smallpox, effective treatment for diabetes and control of infection with powerful antibiotics. The cardiac pacemaker, microsurgery to reattach severed limbs, and heart, kidney, lung, liver and other transplants are all possible because of animal research(Woods 210).
When a doctor is prescribing medication to a patient, they don't have to worry if the product is safe to use and why should they. With many years of animal testing it had paid off by helping find cures of diseases, genetic, and birth defects. Today ten percent of all diabetics are insulin dependent and without it a carrier of diabetes would die. This is because one thing that has come out of animal testing and research is insulin, which is a medication for diabetes. Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, was at one time a pandemic to the world. This deadly disease caused damage to the nervous system and paralysis; at one time if people were to get this illness they would either end up being crippled or die. Finally in the seventies, after some studies using animals, two vaccines were created; OPV, IPV, and the combination of both has made it possible to come close to the eradication of polio. It ensures that products are thoroughly tested and can be safely used.
Biomedical scientists believe that animal testing is essential in research. According to The Chronicle, "An online poll of about 1,000 American and foreign biomedical scientists conducted last month by Nature magazine found that 90 percent believe the use of animals is "essential" in research, and about 70 percent actually do experiments on animals," (Wilson). Unfortunately the seventy percent that actually do test on animals are the one who end up getting hurt as well:
Still, 70 percent of the respondents said it was difficult for them to voice any concerns because of the polarized nature of animal research. And only a small proportion of researchers who experiment on animals said they had changed their work, either because of their misgivings or because of activism by animal-rights groups. Animal-rights extremists have made some researchers the targets of violence, setting their cars on fire and mailing them razor blades. About a quarter of the biomedical scientists the magazine surveyed said they or someone they knew had been negatively affected by animal-rights activists. And about 65 percent said activists represented a threat to biomedical research in general, (Wilson).
Yet the activists think they are doing right by protesting about animal testing by setting cars on fire, mailing razor blades, or having scientist change their work because of their actions is too excessive. All these scientists and doctors are trying to do is find different drugs for diseases that are not cured yet; scientist believe that the animal testing is essential but the activists are exacerbating everything which is stopping modern medicine to excel. It is an disturbing fact that animals are being killed for testing. Survival is part of life and animal's nature including man. The human race is evolving and we create new meaning to survival. These tests are not to kill life, but to save it and prosper.
Point of View Against Animal Testing:
To what extent do we as human have to go in order to cure a disease? Does that mean we have to kill another life to save one, it sounds a little redundant. Worldwide, companies are executing hundreds of thousands of animals everyday because of testing and experimentations and it all can be avoided by banning animal testing for good. Animal testing is unnecessary pain to hundreds of animals and is also a waste of lives. People who are for animal testing would say that animals do not have any feelings. Wrong of course they do, they are living creatures just like humans and they especially feel pain which is what they go through everyday for testing. One test that animals are tested for and that is considered inconclusive are toxicity tests. According to one contributor, Robert Combes, of Alternatives to Animal Testing he states:
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The Lethal Dose fifty percent test or LD-50 forces increasing amounts of a test product until half of the test group dies. Animals are fed or injected with cosmetic products... As the dose increases internal organs become blocked, rupture, and cause animals' organs to not function and they bleed on the inside. ... Toxicity tests determine the effective toxicity for animals but not humans. They determine the toxic level for mice, dogs, rabbits, cats and chimpanzees, but not for young or old men and women. Some animals die in the test as a result of the volume of material, not the toxicity of the material. Most important, is the number of animals that suffer unnecessarily, (Combes 54).
It is nauseating to think that these animals are being pumped with all of these chemicals and cause internal damage to them and scientist continue to do so till at least half the test subjects die. As for the other half that are still living, even though they are dying slowly they are studied for results and then euthanized.
Company's tests are used to determine the irritancy of many different household products, drugs, and cosmetics. During these test animals are tied up so that movement is restricted and limited. They are not given any pain killers or any other anesthetic. The substance is then dripped into the eyes of the animal, and results are recorded over a period of three to twenty days. Some bad reactions result in irritation or blindness. The problem with this kind of testing is that some animal's eyes have thinner corneas, and are more sensitive to inflammation than human's eyes. That is why it doesn't make sense to test a substance on an animal's eye that will react differently to a humans. As for skin tests, they are just as worst as eye irritancy tests. Paul Illing, another contributor to Alternatives to Animal Testing, he has witnessed what animals endure during a skin test:
They shave the area that will be tested on the animal, and then rub the product on the shaved skin. If the skin reacts badly to the product, they break their necks, throw them away, change the product then test it on another animal! They kill the animal anyways because they say that if they tested another product on it, and the product reacted, it could just be reacting to the other product that was tested firstly on the skin,(Illing 76).
What is remarkable is how can a scientist can actually do these cruel things to an innocent animal and still continue to live their lives guilty free. Also why would they choose to do such a thing as well. It is about time that there has to be alternatives to animal testing where these creatures that god had created can no longer be in mans way or harm.
"Most scientist are glad to use alternative test because they are usually faster, cheaper, and most importantly safer than test on animals,"(Hayhurst 12). A big theme in alternative animal testing is the "Three R's." They were first mentioned by Russell and Burch in 1959 to help guide others for the use of animals in researches: Replacement refers to use of non-animal methods to achieve the same scientific aim. Reduction refers to methods that enable researchers to obtain comparable levels of information. Refinement refers to methods that alleviate or minimize pain, suffering or distress, and enhance animal welfare. Alternatives to animal testing is a necessity in this day in age. An increasing number of animals losing their lives in laboratories or at companies, it is has become a controversy to find methods which cause less or no pain at all in the animals. Test need to be carried out more directly to human volunteers reducing animal testing rate. There are four different types of alternatives to animal testing. Two out of the four alternatives to animal testing are cell culture techniques and computer simulation. Some people claim they are not as true since simulations use programs full of data from prior animal experiments and cultured cells often require animal resulting products, like serums. The other alternative involve the use of humans for skin irritancy tests or donation of blood, which is considered human based alternative. The last alternative to animal testing is called micro dosing; this is where the basic behavior of drugs is assessed using human receiving doses which are below those expected to produce an entire body effect. Alternatives to animal testing are both efficient and reliable for cosmetics and household products. Non-animal methods take less time to complete, cost less to tests compared to animals, and are not questionable with inaccuracies.
One form of alternative testing is Cell Culture/Tissue engineering, it was established itself as one of the successful, and promising alternative to the use of animals. Areas that are important to cell culture are tests conducted for chemical absorption by skin, phytotoxicity, skin corrosion and skin irritation. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is known to have approved these tissue culture techniques as the best alternatives compared to animal testing.
Skin irritation and skin corrosion is a localized toxic effect from a topical exposure of the skin to a substance or product. Human skin equivalent tests can be used to replace animal-based testing. According to the textbook, Cell and Tissue Culture for Medical Research , "EpiDerm from Mattek, EpiSkin, and SkinEthic RHE model two subsidiaries of L'Oréal, derived from human skin cells which cultured to produce a model of human skin. These methods are currently accepted replacements. In august 2010, OECD has published the Test Guideline 439 which describe the new procedure for in vitro hazard identification of irritant chemicals," (Doyle & Griffiths 261). Due to these methods being acceptable alternatives other methods were created. Scientists are using a protein membrane to simulate a skin barrier.
Skin absorption, another cell culture alternative, is practically the same as skin irritation. With this method it will measure the rate of chemical absorption by the skin. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have not yet approved skin absorption as a successful replacement in the United States.
The last form of Cell Culture/Tissue engineering is Phototoxicity. Phototoxicity is a rash, swelling or inflammation which is caused from exposure of light then following exposure to a chemical. It order to conduct this test scientist would administered it to a human volunteer. This test is called The 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU) Phototoxicity Test. The NRU Phototoxicity Test was approved by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The test is used to detect the viability of 3T3 cells after exposure to the chemicals which are from the product they are testing for. This test had all originally come from the embryo of a laboratory mouse in 1962.
The second alternative to animal testing is human based testing which are found in the studies of pyrogenicity, skin irritation, and Modular Immune in Vitro Construct. Pyrogens a majority of all pharmaceutical products or drugs that can sometime cause inflammation or fever when interacting with immune system cells of a human. Instead of using animal cells, the human volunteer can donated cells that can be used as the alternative. The skin patch test which is used for the skin irritation test, is one of the alternatives to animal testing. Unlike corrosion testing, substances defined as irritants cause only reversible skin damage. This test is used in finding medicines for skin irritation; Canada has already replaces animal testing with human volunteers without inflicting any pain or causing any side-effects to their health. All animal testing facts should help us in devising sufficient methods to prevent them. The third method to human based testing is Modular immune in vitro construct. Also known as MIMIC, this method uses human cells to create a model of the human immune system. With this new model of the immune system this is where doctors or scientist can test their new vaccines and other compounds. This allows some of the steps in the vaccine development process be admissible or would have been performed on the animals instead. This process is faster and flexible than the methods beforehand .
Another alternative to animal testing is the use of computer simulation and scanning techniques. This type of alternative to animal testing is increasingly becoming practicable alternative. "In the past crash test dummies/computer had worked with mannequins for the use of computer simulation testing. Such computer work with internal sensors and video cameras that are previously installed in the mannequins. The first of these was "Sierra Sam" built in 1949 by Alderson Research Labs (ARL) Sierra Engineering. Pigs was used for crash testing but eventually they were replaced with the dummies instead." As modern science evolves and as well as humans, scientists have figured a way to conduct their studies without taking a life.
Computer simulations are used to create models for scientists to test their potential new medicines on the. Some models include models of asthma. These techniques are currently still required to be verified in animal and human tests before being licensed to perform such test. Other non-animal simulators have been developed for military use to mimic battlefield induced traumas. At first animals were subjected to simulations to provide military training. Trauma Man and the Combat Trauma Patient Simulator are two simulators for military use. These simulators made it possible for them to simulate hemorrhaging, fractures, amputations and burns as if they were actually in a battle. Trauma Man is also now used for training the military and medical students.
Computer simulation has evolved to the point that computers can actually now model human bodily action. Such actions that are constructed to model are human metabolism; The reasoning for the construction of this type of model is to study plaque build-up with cardiovascular risk, and to evaluate toxicity of drugs. This kind of job was used to be for animals but since technology is evolving there is no use for these innocent creatures. Along with computer simulation there is another part to it, which is the scanning techniques. Magnetic Resonance Imaging also known as MRI's are also a part of the computer simulation alternative. With such degrees in technology these types of techniques has provided in-depth information. Autopsy is also an option compared to animal testing, this type of techniques helps in carrying out biomedical research. While technology is progressively advancing it give scientist the opportunity to conduct tests and to study their vaccinations, drugs, or even their products without any harm to animals in the process.