Vivisection and whether it should be morally accepted for the benefits of human beings

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Research topic: Vivisection and whether it should be morally accepted for the benefits of human beings.

This report attempts to prove that vivisection should be morally accepted by the society. In essence, the report touches on the importance of vivisection in medicine and other non-medicine products too. It is stated that vivisection had save many lives. This has been done through organ transplantation. Our understanding about animals had also been improved. Animal experimentation also benefits the medicine area when new vaccine and treatment is discovered. This has helped to provide better understanding of our body system. Lastly, vivisection is required for the safety trials of non-medicinal product to avoid any defects. Animals such as non-rodents are needed as using human as subject of experimentation is considered an immoral act.


Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is “because the animals are like us”. Ask the experimenters why is it morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is “because the animals are not like us”. Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.

(Charles L. Magel, n.d)

We, human are afraid of everything. We are afraid of uncertainty and a lot of experiences from the past are not forgotten. There was a lot of human dying for the wrong reasons. We went to the hospital to find a cure instead the cure becomes a poison.  Now is the time where animal testing come in. Animal testing or often called vivisection is a process of testing new products and medicines on animals for the benefit of human beings. In United Kingdom, the Medicines Act of 1986 declares that all medicines have to be tested on at least 2 mammals and one of them must be non-rodent (Shandilya, 2008).  This act was introduced when the Thalidomide drug was discovered to cause serious physical deformities in babies born to the mother who had taken it during pregnancy. This problem happen as Thalidomide was not tested on animals (specifically pregnant animals) before. Since then, many countries had followed the lead of United Kingdom and enforced the law on animal testing. Before a product are commercializes, it has to be tested on any animals that have the closest DNA with human. A long process involving animal, “in-vitro” (i.e. in test tube) and using computer program take place before a products can be offered to consumer (Shandilya, 2008). Most drug authorities have to pass all of this before a trial can be conducted on human.

Unfortunately, in order to provide the best things for human beings, we have to hurt the animals. When vivisection is carried out, animals have to suffer in order for the scientist to monitor the effects that might occur. In cosmetics; specifically for eye mascara, it had to be tested on rabbit’s eyes. Morally, it is very cruel to do that and let the animal suffer. However, this “cruel act” is needed to make sure that there is no side effect of applying mascara on our [human being] eyes. In pharmaceutical industry, finding cure and vaccine for AIDS has become a very important goal to achieve. A lot of animals had to be sacrificed but sooner or later, we will find it. This has been proven by history when we had finally succeeded in finding vaccines for life threatening diseases such as rabies, Hepatitis B and Herpes Simplex (Shandilya, 2008). The journey to find the cure or vaccine for many fatal diseases which involves “torturing” the animals had cause the NGO such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to take actions. Members of PETA had been fighting against animal testing since new research methods such as computer models, human studies and cell cultures had been invented.  They feel that all of these methods are more humane and accurate than animal testing. This view had been opposed by scientists and researchers as majority of them are saying that animal testing is the best way to detect any flaws in products and medicines.

We can see very clearly that there are many strong opinions and thought on the subject of animal testing. The main question is that should vivisection be morally acceptable to develop products and medicines that will benefit human beings?

When we look closer into this, we can see that vivisection should be morally accepted. This will bring a lot more benefits for us, human beings and the animals too. This has been proven when heart worm medication has been formulated by researching on animals and until now, it had reduced the number of death of dogs. Research on animals had also provided better understanding on cat nutrition and the reasons on why cat had been healthier and live longer are better understood.

This report will show convincing evidence of why animal testing should be morally acceptable to develop products and medicines for human beings. The research findings are narrowed to the Asian country and United States of America as this two are the advanced leader on producing products and medicines in the world.

 

2.0 Vivisection saves many lives.

It is scientifically proven that animal testing had save many life. Testing household compounds, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products has been a common practice for a very long time. It is estimated that nearly 20 million animals are used for animal experimentation purposes, 15 million are tested for medication and 10 million are tested for other products (Shandilya, 2008). A lot of time is required to develop product and vaccines. The pressure to find cure for HIV infection is overwhelming as this disease is increasing day by day. To find the effective drugs and vaccine has been proven difficult as HIV is very good at changing its structure and evading destruction.

In reality, scientists are able to test thousand of different vaccine in human participants. By doing this method, we can see directly whether there are any cures, treats or vaccine to be found (Shandilya, 2008). However, these actions would be highly time-consuming and dangerous to human. This is because all of these compounds may not be effective and cause sickness or death. Animals are the best substitutes as we have to focus on reducing human pain first. Despite the fact that the prevention of animal suffering and death is still important, but it is still secondary to human pain.

 

2.1 Organ transplantation. 

When each one of our family members is hale and hearty, we will find that it is very difficult for us as to why the innocent animals are used for testing purposes that will results in killing them. But, it will usually start to make sense when someone in the family or our own self starts suffering fatal diseases. This is when animal testing came handy. Testing on animals had help discovered a lot of life threatening diseases including rabies and malaria (Shandilya, 2008).

One of the major finding of vivisection is organ transplantation. Skin, corneas and various other internal organs can now be safely transferred to others patient in need.  Without the knowledge of transplantation immunology in biology, this procedure could never be declared as a safe and standard procedure now, (Harvard style, 1988). Nowadays, more than 30,000 Americans have undergone heart and liver transplantation and they survived. There are some that had retained their sight because of cornea transplant.

During the World War 2, the treatment for burn victims had become very important and British biologist P. B. Medawar (1944) had found a way to do skin transplantation. He had used the Freemantin cattle as his models. A Freemantin is a sexually developed female cow that is born as a twin of a normal male cow. Thus, the hormones from the male cow reached through the placental vessel and make its sterile. This experimentation had showed that the skin and other tissues of the female and male Freemantin twins will produce success result at any stage of their lives. They were “suitable” for each other as they had been exposed with each other’s cells since they were born.  Moreover, animal testing had helped us to know more about virus related to organ transplantation rejection (“Harvard Style”, 1988). This discovery had signalled a new era in immune system with wide results for the sake of health in treatment of diseases not for human and animals too.

 

2.2 Better understanding of animals.

We can prove that animal testing benefits not only human but animals too. When the research is conducted in the veterinary schools and other institutions, it proved that animals too gain benefit from the research. Research on animal farms had discovered way to increase productivity and quality of the animal’s product. Simultaneously, researchers had also found a way to reduce the sufferings and increase the health of the animals. The cure for some lethal disease on animals had also been found. One of the examples is the cure for Potomac fever in horses (“Harvard Style”, 1988).

Research that is aimed on human can also help in finding vaccine for animals. While finding a cure for human beings, a host of antibiotics and vaccine had been found applicable for animals too (“Harvard Style”, 1988).

The major benefits of vivisection on animals are that it helped in reproduction of the endangered species. The abilities to eliminate parasitism to treat illnesses and the usage of anaesthetic had improved the health and survival of many species. The knowledge gained from genetic studies has allowed appropriate management of species that are facing extinction. Research in successful breeding had reduced the need for importation of many species especially monkeys (“Harvard Style”, 1988).  This can be confirmed when the amount of primates used in research had had increased from 2198 in year 1973 to 7908 births in year 1984 (“Harvard Style”, 1988). 

 

Vivisection is a waste of money.

To do a research on animals is not cheap. People that are against animal testing are saying that instead of using animals, we should spend all this money on technology. Nowadays, there are computer that can demonstrate the human cell reaction (Dixon, 2000). But this entire test cannot monitor the reaction of the medication or products on animals. This is a problem as we cannot figure how the animals and we will react toward those medications. What we can learn from the past is that animal experimentation had helped us to advance faster in medicine and that live animals are the most reliable subjects for toxicity test. In country such as United States, all prescription drugs must be tested on animals before they are allowed into the market (Dixon, 2000). If animals testing are banned, it would paralyse modern medicine, increase human suffering and endanger human health.

 

It is clearly proven that animal testing had contributed many information and benefits to the medicine area. This information had helped humanity survived and live longer. Vivisection had indirectly helped to improve human health.

 

3.1 New vaccines and treatment are discovered.

Animal experimentation had started long time ago. Since then, many new vaccines have been discovered. One of the greatest discoveries is the cure for Polio. Polio is a contagious disease that had killed many people around the world since the ancient times. It is a dangerous disease and its most widespread outbreak occurred in the first half of the 1900s. In 1995, Jonas Salk had found the vaccines to prevent and cure polio (“Harvard Style”, 2000). This vaccine was found through animal testing. Rhesus monkey is used as the subject for the study of polio. The two researchers, Landsteiner and Popper proved that when the injection of spinal cord fluid from patients that are suffering from polio is inserted to the animals, it would paralyze them (“Harvard Style”, 1988).

Researcher had come across the good solution when they decided that they have to immunize the animals first to protect them from the disease which in this case is polio. The Rhesus monkey was injected with polio virus and then a formalin-inactivated virus in injected to their infected brain suspensions. This will set the body to produce a modified live virus. This virus can be used for mass production of polio vaccines (“Harvard Style, 1988). We can see that, experiment on Rhesus monkey had contributed a lot since many lives is safe since that. The use of monkeys had decreased considerably but it is still used sometimes to test the capacity of the virus to cause disease in our nervous system.

 

3.2 Help understand more about human system.

Previously in surgery many mistakes that had caused fatality can be avoided. Vivisection had helped us to understand more about our system.  Charles Sherrington had studied on our reflex actions and he had done that by experimenting on cats. This test had been continued by Eccles who had explained in great details on how our central nervous system works (“Harvard Style”, 1988). At present, our surgeons can remove brain tumours with least damage to our motor system. This precious thing had happen through the research of Sherrington (“Harvard Style”, 1988).

Basic research on animal are needed to find out ways to keep human and animal alive. It is extremely important to find out how the different organ and tissue in our body react towards any disease and even vaccines. In the past year, animal experimentation is needed to find out about our heart, kidney and renal system. Now, it has to be continued as there are a lot more to be discovered and this includes our brain. The brain is so far the most mysterious organs in our body and there are a lot more that we do not know about it. Thus, vivisection has to be continued as finding the essential information is the most important actions now to help find new medicine.

 

Animals are different from people.

People that are against animal testing stated that it is impossible for us to find  neither cure nor vaccine through animal testing as animals are very different from us. However, mammals are descended from common ancestors and we are biologically same with them. By saying same is that we have the same organs such as heart, liver and kidney. These organs worked the same ways as our which is through bloodstream and nervous system.  We cannot deny that there are minor differences between animals and animals but our similarities are much more than that. These differences may help us to overcome and find new cure. It is also proven that vitamins worked the same way in animals as they do in people (“Harvard Style”, 2000). When a research on guinea pig was conducted, we had discovered on how vitamin C works. There are also some animal hormones that can be used on human. One of them is thyrotropin from cows (“Harvard Style”, 2000).

 

Laboratory animals are not only used for medication purposes. They are also necessary in accessing the safety of household products, workplace chemicals, food addictive and cosmetics products. A product without any testing is considered dangerous as we cannot identify the side effects of them. There are some agencies that are monitoring the quality of products and this includes Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA monitors the safety testing process for drugs, vaccine, food addictive and cosmetics. Some others agencies including Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency monitor the other types of testing (“ILAR”, 2004).

 

4.1 Defects and bad effect is avoidable.

Without safety trial, a lot of bad consequences can happen. In 1933, a mascara brand called Lash Lure had caused more than one dozen women to become blind and one of them died. This permanent mascara contains a chemical called p-phenylenediamine which has never been through a safety trial before (“ILAR”, 2004). This chemical caused the user’s eye to become badly blistered, produces ulcers on the face, eye and eyelids thus cause blindness for majority of them. One woman had developed a bad infections and she had died because of it. Here we can see that, an untested chemicals used only in mascara can cause such a devastating effect. There are numerous products that we used every day and to not test them is like killing our own body. To use a product without knowing the side effects is suicidal.

This is where animal safety test come in. Agencies including the FDA require all cosmetics products such as makeup, shampoos, soaps, hair sprays and dyes and shaving cream to be tested first before it is released (“ILAR”, 2004). All manufacturers have to prove the safety of their products before it can be sold. We can see that it is crucial to have a safety trial as the effects can be so serious and lethal.

 

4.2 It is immoral to use human as subject.

So far, we do not discover any close substitute of human. It is not possible for us to use human as the subject of a safety trial. There are too many risks and there are also millions of possibilities of defects on new products. To use human and let them suffer pains is beyond acceptance. Human are too scared of risks and death. Even though there are other alternatives than using animals especially primates as subject, these could not yet replace testing on these primates.  There is one procedure called micro dosing where human beings were given a small dose of chemicals to see how the body will react towards the chemicals but these chemicals must undergo a toxic test using animals first before it can be done (“Harvard Styles” ,2009).  Therefore, this procedure cannot replace animal testing completely.

The most suitable subject for safety trial is monkeys and apes as they have the closest DNA match to us. Normally, safety trials for non-medical products use animals such as rabbits and mice. They are used to identify the outcome of new chemicals tested. Rabbits are sometimes used to test a new mascara product. This is required to make sure that there will be no flaw in the products.

 

Animal testing is not required as there are other alternatives.

Anti vivisections are saying that animal experimenting is not needed as there are many alternatives around such as computer modelling. There is also synthetic skin called Corrositex. However, this alternative seems impossible as we cannot reproduce complex diseases in cell culture or make the computer cough. We cannot even monitor a beating heart in a test-tube (“Harvard Styles”, 2010). It is also stated by law that animal testing is not required if there are other ways available. Even so, there are situations where using animals as subject is unavoidable. Our living body is so complicated and it is divided into so much part. So we need to understand on how they interact with each other and it is impossible for us to use human as the subject of experimentation.

 

As a conclusion, we can say that vivisection should be morally accepted to develop products and medicines that benefit human beings. This decision was made as it should be based on the arguments given above. Until now, we can say that vivisections are still needed as so far there is no advance technology to replace it yet. A lot more things need to be discovered and the only suitable method available is vivisection. Even though animals have to suffer pain when undergoing experimentation, it is the researcher’s best interests to make sure that the animals suffer minimum pain. This is because if they were too stressed, the results produced may not be reliable. It is required by law that any animals that suffered excessive pain have to be put down painlessly and immediately. This proved that we, human still have pity and moral value in us.

Vivisections have contributed a lot for the benefits of human and animals. It had reduced the risks of human disease and this had substantially increase life expectancy. This is the results of animal experimentation. In the mean time, there are a lot of more that have to be learned. Further studies in such areas as cancer and HIV will continue to require the use of animals.

 

Animal experimentation is recommended as a way to test medicine and products. It is so far the most suitable way to identify any defects on products compared to using human or computer.

However, this report recommends further work to:

  • Find ways to reduce the amount of animals used in vivisection and at the same time maximize the information that we can get through it.
  • Discover the new way on how experiments in carried out so that we can reduce the pain of the animals to the minimum.
  • Find more alternative ways so that animals testing can be reduced.

Animal testing can be reduced to the minimum level.

So, this report recommends further work to:

  • Ban the unnecessary testing such as for cosmetics purposes.
  • Reuse the existing data from the previous research so that new researches do not have to be conducted.
  • Increase the usage of in-vitro in experimentation.

This report also recommends further work:

  • Increase the usage of newer scanning techniques such as MRI so that we can monitor the internal organs of humans.
  • Reduce the amount of animal used in science experimentation is school such as frog dissecting. Students should be encouraged to use computer model rather than real animal.
  • The number of mammals used for vivisection should be reduced.

 

 

 

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Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), 2004, “Safety testing” on Science, Medicine and Animals, National Academy Press, viewed on 30th March 2010.

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