Animal testing should continue you to be a legal and viable option to research. Animal testing has been used for centuries dating all the way back to 300 BC. Since its origin, animal testing has been an efficient way of making medical and biological breakthroughs.
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If it were not fro animal models who or what could we test on? There would be a very limited amount of people who would want to be a test subject in these studies. Animal testing is a necessity to ensure the well being of humans by curing diseases and epidemics, assisting endangered animals, and making sure cosmetics and drugs are safe for human use.
The first vaccine ever created was for Smallpox. Smallpox is a disease that plagued the world causing some survivors to go blind. According to the National Center for Biological Information (NCBI), It is believed to have appeared around 10,000 BC, at the time of the first agricultural settlements in northeastern Africa,(Riedel). This disease had been around for almost 12,000 years before there was any type of cure. For 12,000 years, people suffered with no certainty that they would overcome the disease.
Smallpox played a key role in the demise of the Aztec’s civilization, and would have wiped out most of Europe if a vaccine were never developed. This disease would kill around 400,000 people annually in the 18th century (Riedel). Smallpox was spread from direct contact with a person who had it. Smallpox had flu like symptoms and killed a large amount of people who contracted it. The virus killed people in the Old and New World spreading from continent to continent.
Three hundred million people have died from the disease known as small pox. The world was looking at another super bug. Thanks to Edward Jenner and animal testing, he was able to successfully create a vaccine that saved millions of lives. Edward Jenner was able to take notice of how milkmaids never contracted smallpox, but instead ended up catching cowpox’s.
He made an assumption that this was because cowpox’s ended up acting as a vaccine for the milkmaid. Jenner wanted to prove that this was the case so he injected a young boy with pus from a boil infected with cowpox’s. Jenner waited, and then he exposed the boy to smallpox. The boy never contracted smallpox’s. The boy was immune. Today, smallpox is ultimately eradicated form Earth (Riedel). This would have never been possible without the ability to test and experiment on animals.
There are many medical breakthroughs that go on within the world of biomedical research. The way they do this is through using animals as test models. There are regulations that protect animals in these studies, and for the most part the scientific community takes care of these animals by hiring veterinarians. They are usually scheduled to visit once a week to check on the health of these animals. The United States federal law that covers animals in research is the Animal Welfare Act (New England Anti-Vivisection Society).
This law does not provide protection to cold-blooded animals or species such as rats, mice birds, etc. (New England Anti-Vivisection Society). This is the right way at going about this. Scientists are humans too. They treat these animals as human as possible, but they do these experiments to better the life of the human race and advance medical and biological knowledge. By protecting animals in research it should allow for more support and lead to more medical breakthroughs.
In the 1950’s, Polio was running ramped effecting children and adults. Men, women, and children had to live their lives with paralysis in parts of their bodies. Polio crippled those who were infected; limiting the things they were cable of doing. Children were unable to go to school. Most of them were kept in hospitals at a polio ward having to walk around with leg braces or even restricted to a full body cast. Victims of polio lived harsh lives and ultimately ended up living with it or dying.
Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States, contracted polio. In the article, Polio Elimination in the United States, it states In the early 1950s, before polio vaccines were available, polio outbreaks caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis each year in the United States, (CDC). Just in the United States, polio was becoming an epidemic. It wasn’t until Erwin Popper started doing tests on monkeys that a breakthrough was discovered. Years later Jonas Salk was able to produce a vaccine.
Polio and smallpox are just two examples of epidemics that had a major impact on society. Many epidemics have been able to be cured, starting by using animals as test models. Millions of people have been able to be protected and not have to worry about contracting a disease that would paralyze you for your life. Cancer used to be a death sentence, but now after using animals there are treatments to combat it and have a good chance of living. Anyone who has ever took any type of medicine has benefited from animal testing.
The human race is not the only species that prospers from doing research and tests on animals. Believe it or not, animals actually can benefit from these tests. In 1978, a disease began to spread among dogs called canine parvovirus. This disease was infecting dogs causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and also death. Scientists were able to recognize that this disease was relatively the same as feline panleukopenia virus and create a vaccine from it. According to the Aalas Foundation, Since a vaccine was already available for the feline panleukopenia virus, a vaccine for parvovirus was developed, tested, and made available for distribution within a year, (Aalas Foundation). Dogs across the world were able to get vaccinated and recover from the parvovirus.
Not only has it helped dogs, animal testing has helped save endangered species. Asian elephants are an endangered species that are at risk of becoming extinct. Baby Asian elephants are susceptible to a certain deadly strain of the herpes virus known as the elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV). This virus is killing young elephants when they contract EEHV in just a matter of a few days.
In the article Generation and Characterization of Antibodies against Asian Elephant, it states, Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease, particularly in juvenile Asian elephants in captivity, (Roca). It is our job to help prevent extinction from any species on this earth. Ironically, to help these elephants we have to experiment on animals. Scientists are using rats and mice as models for the elephants. They are studying how the virus affects the antibodies. As of right now they have successfully sequenced the virus genome according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research.
This breakthrough will assist in the process of making a vaccine for EEHV.
Animal testing is not just for vaccines and cures, it is also to test and see if products are safe for human use. A big part of animal testing is to ensure products are safe for human use. Researchers use animals to make sure no toxic chemicals will put the consumer’s health at risk. If it weren’t for animals, how else would products be tested? To test safety for humans you would have to administer the drug and hope for the best. Imagine if someone took a pill that had been untested and did serious harm or death. There would be outrage and the company could not help it because the legal way of testing drugs would not be adequate.
According to the Federal Drug Administration, Only 8% of the drugs tested on the animals are determined to be safe for humans, (Animal Legal Defense Fund). If these products went onto the market untested, it could cause severe damage to the consumers ranging from skin irritation all the way to blindness. If the choice were between a human and an animal, the logical choice would be to choose the animal. Animals do not necessarily contribute as much as a human does to society.
The counter-argument on the subject of animal testing is that it is immoral and wrong. These same people will go out to lunch and dine on an animal that had just been slaughtered for someone enjoyment. The reason scientists study are to better the lives of the people. Under that statement, it is not immoral. A common point that the people who oppose the belief that animal testing is justified is, there are other ways to test using cells instead of a living system.
The problem with using cells in pitri dishes is that it isn’t a living system. Leslie Thompson, a Neurobiology Professor at UC Irvine, says, You can tweak the system with genetics that you can’t do with other systems. The reason we study these living systems is because they have the appropriate structures, (Foundation for Biological Research, Youtube). A cell cannot suffice as a living system. The cell cannot resemble the complexity of the whole organism. Also, you cannot do the same studies and experiments you would do on an animal model. Scientists will induce the animal model and give them the disease they are trying to find a cure for. It would be immoral to give a living human a life changing disease.
Another point that they make is to say that the experiments of unnecessary and they feel pain. According to the article, Necessary, but Not Sufficient. The Benefit Concept in the Project Evaluation of Animal Research in the Context of Directive 2010/63/EU it states that, According to Directive 2010/63/EU, project proposals involving experiments on animals have to be approved in a harm-benefit-analysis (HBA) that weighs the potential benefits of the experiment against the harm inflicted on animals, (Eggel & Grimm). Each experiment is carefully examined and made sure to have a purpose that can help out a certain group. The animals are also given anesthesia so they wont feel pain during any procedure.
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