Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
- Arthur Ashe
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Should Animals be used in Research?
Over 100 million animal die yearly in the United State of America, due to medical research (Collins, 2013). Animal testing has been always a heated debate, whether it is ethical or not, whether it is necessary or not, and if it really benefits humans. In the early beginning of the medical evolution, no computers nor other alternative technology excited. Therefore, scientists looked for a similar anatomy to the human body in order to approve new medicines and medical methods by testing them on animals. Scholars tend to apply their experiments to animals rather than humans to eliminate the danger of any side effects to humans. Furthermore, animal testing is one of the reasons lead humanity to the medical revolution we are living today. On the other hand, we are also living a technological evolution which leads humanity to the invention of many alternative methods to replace animal testing in many cases. However, the debate still excites, that these methods cannot always be applied and replace animal testing. In this paper, I will research animal testing purposes, the law behind it, whether it is helpful or not, and will present the possible alternative methods of animal testing.
Animal testing aims to approve drugs to the human use. In one side, people supporting animal testing and believe that it is the proper way to approve the effectiveness of a drug. One of the supporting organizations is Speaking of Research, which is an active international group. Speaking of Research started in 2008 as an organization that supports animal testing and believe that it remains crucial to the future of medicine. Moreover, the organization members are highly educated and consist of professors, scientist researchers, physicians, and many others (Speaking of Research, 2008). Furthermore, animal testing might mean there is a possibility that animals are going throw pain and torture during the experiment. As written in the Optometry Today, “Universities and science minister, David Willetts, said: "Animals are only used when there are no suitable alternatives. But the results we get from research can transform lives and pave the way for new and ground breaking medical advances"” (2014). One of the strongest points in the affirmative side is that animal testing applied only when there is no other choice. Therefore, animals go through the process of taking certain doses of a drug over a period of time and being analyzed by scientists during the experiment. Moreover, scholars believe that animal testing can save more human lives and help medicine to improve. As Americans for Medical Progress says, “But now, thanks in large part to animal-based research, there is a new molecular and genetic understanding of tumor biology, leading to treatments that set out to more directly kill cancer cells, which are molecularly different from normal cells” (Americans for Medical Progress, 2015). According to Americans for Medical Progress, animal testing had a huge role in advanced treatments for cancer to this day. Animal testing made it possible to study cells behavior closely and to know the way it reacts to different methods. Moreover, researches based on animal testing had a huge impact in the discovery of more advanced methods in the following areas HIV and AIDS, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, hepatitis C, birth defects, bioterrorism medical countermeasures, epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, and cystic fibrosis (Americans for Medical Progress, 2015). According to the claims made by Americans for Medical Progress, animal testing considered as an important element to the development of the medical field today. However, in this case, animals sacrifice, so human can live longer and healthier.
Furthermore, animal testing is regulated by law in many countries around the world and The United State of America is one of them. According to the Department of Agriculture, “SEC. 14. Any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States having laboratory animal facilities shall comply with the standards promulgated by the Secretary for a research facility under section 13” (2015). Every animal laboratory in The United States is under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture. The USDA has specific standards to protect animals and to make sure they get their rights. Furthermore, it is enforced by law that they should treat, care, and transport these animals carefully; moreover, these laboratories should provide housing, feeding, ventilation, shelter from extreme climate changes, separation by species, and the proper veterinary care (USDA, 2015). There are regulations to make sure that animals are taking care of in these laboratories. The Department of Agriculture doing their best to provide a good environment for labs animal; however, is it more ethical to kill these animals when we put them in a nice environment?!
On the other hand, does animal testing really benefits humans? This is one of the questions that the disagreement side has. One of the organizations that support animal rights and stands against animal testing is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). PETA was founded in 1980, and they believe that animal rights should be enforced and that animal abuse should be terminated. Moreover, PETA members are all around the world and they are active members with many success stories around the globe (PETA, 2015). One of the strongest arguments this side has is that there are many studies shows that animal testing results do not show the same results when it’s applied to human. According to NEAVS (New England Anti-Vivisection Society), “The FDA reports that 92 percent of drugs approved for testing in humans fail to receive approval for human use. This failure rate has increased from 86 percent in 1985, in spite of all the “advances and refinements” intended to make animal tests more accurate. In addition, more than half of the few drugs approved are later withdrawn or relabeled due to serious or lethal adverse effects in humans” (NEAVS, 2015). The percentage is way high that it does not need an educated person to decide that there is something wrong! Moreover, the percentage has been increasing since 1985 with the effort of making it more accurate; however, some of the approved drugs are still dangerous to the human use. The case here is not that the method of animal testing is just not working, but it is causing death to humans and animals as well under the name of medicine. However, it is not one of the medicine goals to achieve. That said, it is not ethical to keep using animal testing as a method to approve drugs to the human usage. Money, lives, and time is being wasted in unethical environments resulting untrusted results which would not help its purpose.
There are many new methods that today technology improved to be a trusted alternative method to animal testing as a way to approve a drug for the human use. One of these methods is computer models, “Computer generated simulations are used to predict the various possible biological and toxic effects of a chemical or potential drug candidate without animal dissection” (Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C., 2015). Computer technology has been developed to replace the traditional method of animal testing in researches. Moreover, it can be programmed to stimulate a human anatomy, which will give a more accurate result. The study suggested other methods that can be an alternative to animal testing such as cells and tissue cultures, and alternative organisms (Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C., 2015). There are a variety of options can be applied to approve a drug to the human usage, and there is absolutely no need to sacrifice animal lives anymore. The lack of advanced technology was the reason that early medicine researchers had their experiments on animals. Nowadays, technology made it possible to have more accurate results than the traditional method of animal testing, it is just unethical and unacceptable to take advantage of animals live anymore.
In every area of science, we apply different methods to reach a specific goal. Furthermore, in science, we tend to follow new technologies as it may suggest new methods that are better and more accurate than the old ones. That said, it is reasonable to replace animal testing by the new suggested methods that mentioned previously in this paper. It does not make any sense to waste money, time, and animals live in order to get results that we can get using an alternative method. Both sides regarding animal testing had strong arguments; however, I believe that it is more ethical and humane not to take advantage of our beloved animals. The statements made by the people who are not in favor of animal testing are more reasonable, ethical, and humane and that would be my stand as well.
Americans for Medical Progress. (2015). Animal Research Benefits: Animal Research Means Medical Progress. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from https://www.amprogress.org/animal-research-benefits
Animal testing. (2014, February 28). Optometry Today, 54(4), 7. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy1.library.arizona.edu/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA363191125&v=2.1&u=uarizona_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=82880706091d8c39e1c075e7e8c54f95
Collins, F. (2014). Animal Experiments: Overview. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-used-experimentation-factsheets/animal-experiments-overview/
Doke, S. K., & Dhawale, S. C. (2015). Alternatives to animal testing: A review. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal : SPJ, 23(3), 223–229. http://doi.org.ezproxy1.library.arizona.edu/10.1016/j.jsps.2013.11.002
New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS). (2015). Limitations and Dangers | Animal Use in Research. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from http://www.neavs.org/research/limitations
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. (2015). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.peta.org/about-peta/learn-about-peta/
Speaking of Research. (2008, March 13). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://speakingofresearch.com/about/
United States Department of Agriculture. (2015, October 1). Public Law 89-544 Act of August 24, 1966. Retrieved October 4, 2015, from https://awic.nal.usda.gov/public-law-89-544-act-august-24-1966
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