Animal testing is one of those concepts that raise a diverse set of opinions. It is a major component in aiding medicine since the time of early Greek physicians. Medical researchers need to understand health problems before they can develop ways to treat them. Some diseases and health problems involve processes that can only be studied in a living organism. Some say animals are necessary to medical research when it is impractical or unethical to use humans. Animals are considered good research subjects for a variety of reasons. Animals are biologically similar to humans. They are liable to many of the same health problems, and they have short life cycles so they can easily be studied throughout their whole life span or across several generations.
In addition, scientists can easily control the environment around the animal like diet, temperature and lighting; which would be difficult to do with people. However, the most important reason why animals are used is that it would be wrong to deliberately expose human beings to health risks in order to observe the course of a disease. Performing tests on animals is extremely crucial to improve the quality and the lives of humans. Animal testing in laboratories is the reason why medicine has advanced tremendously. In fact, seven out of the ten most recent Nobel Prizes in medicine, were based on animal testing. Research done in facilities is the reason why we now have antibiotics for infections, vaccines to help protect us from deadly viruses, and surgery for injuries, illnesses and deformities. Animal testing hasn’t benefited humans alone. It has also been proven to benefit the living creatures as well. The tests and the research done in laboratories and facilities has created treatments for animals, thus helping improve their health and increase their lifespan. Household pets, wild species, and even endangered animals all have something to gain from animal testing. Nowadays, animal testing has opened the doors to vaccinations for rabies, tetanus, parvovirus along with other illness that are common in dogs, cats and many domesticated animals.
Animal testing aids in ensuring that all living organisms whether it be human or animal live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Humans are very complex organisms and there is still is so much more to know about the chemicals and interactions and structure of both animals and humans. The only way scientists can discover more possibilities for the sake of mankind is through the organisms that have traits like humans. In biomedical research multiple tests involve the cells, DNA and proteins, and there is nothing that can quite substitute the living organisms when it comes down to research. Many different animals are used for animal testing. To name a few that are present in laboratories are monkeys, mice, cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. However, specific animals are preferred for conducting specific research in particular areas. Dogs that are used for animal testing for instance, consist of young beagles who are frequently used for conducting research in cardiovascular issues. Other animals are used for genetic research,, heart and lung research, research pertaining to age, cancer research, and orthopedics which include the creation of prosthetic devices used for hip and knee replacements, etc. Of the many animals used, researchers frequently use rabbits in toxicity and safety testing of medical devices, vaccines, and drugs.
According to Robinson, in 2009, over 222,000 rabbits were used in research, more than any other species covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), followed next by guinea pigs and hamsters, who are both used a great deal in toxicity testing and as models for infectious, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases, and drug abuse research. Both mice and rats are heavily used in vaccine and drug research and testing, and birds are used in research on organ development and deformity, visual impairment, muscular dystrophy, and nutrition.
Among the many animals that are used for research in laboratories the chimpanzees, are the most common. They share approximately 99% of their DNA with humans which makes them a suitable subject to test categories such toxicity of drugs before it makes it way to pharmacies. Some disagree with animals being test models for science research. According to some experts “studies published in prestigious medical journals have shown time and again that animal experimentation wastes lives both animal and human; and precious resources by trying to infect animals with diseases that they would never normally contract.” Not to mention the fact that some experiments that have been conducted on living animals aren’t relevant to the health and well-being of humans and does not contribute to medical achievements.
Animal testing is an issue, because of the controversy that it brings. There is no doubt that it is a highly disputable, ethical topic. There is a constant ongoing debate about the ethics of animal experimentation and testing. Some people argue that all types of animal testing should come to an end whether or not it’s for toxicity based research or just tests to provide further insight on human health. They believe it is wrong to treat animals simply as tools and objects for furthering knowledge. Those who oppose animal testing also believe that an animal should have as much right as a human being to live out a full life, free of pain and suffering. On the other hand many others believe that while it isn’t appropriate to unnecessarily abuse animals, animal experimentation must be in effect and continued by labs because of the enormous scientific resource that animal models provide.
However, due to the advancement that is now available in both science and technology, the question that ponders upon many is in fact, if animal testing truly is crucial for the betterment of humans? The use of live creatures in facilities for biomedical research, has gained an extreme amount of judgement by those who oppose it. Animal rights activists and animal rights group have done their share of raising awareness to the controversial issue and helping to make a change. Those who oppose it strongly believe that using innocent creatures and risking their lives and health is not worth compensating for humans. Many facilities have been proven to abuse the animals they use for biomedical research and treat them under high amounts of cruelty and mistreatment. Thus, laws have been created and put forth to make animal testing more humane.
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