According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Each year, more than 100 million animals”including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds”are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. In today’s world where there are alternative methods available like human-based micro-dosing, in vitro technology, human-patient simulators, and computer modeling animal testing is no longer necessary and should be banned.
Not only does it cause suffering on a massive scale to animals it can negatively affect humans because we do not have the same genetic makeup as the animals so the results can not always be trusted. While animal testing has been going on since the ancient times it has become extremely important to the United State during the 20th century after a mass poisoning was caused by a medication used to treat the streptococcal infection. This incident and ones like it led to the passing of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requiring safety testing of drugs on animals before they could be marketed.
But even with the regulations incidents keep happening. For example, when the drug thalidomide was released it was marketed as a wonder drug for insomnia, cough, colds, and headaches and was found to also help stop morning sickness. The drug was prescribed to thousands of women and caused more than 10,000 children in 46 countries to be born with malformations or missing limbs. One technique that could replace animal testing is micro-dosing. This is a technique for studying the behavior of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied. So essentially we could use this to test out products on ourselves through willing participants instead of animals which will give us more accurate results. Another technique that has become available in the last several years is in vitro testing.
It has come a long way, especially for the cosmetic industry. In vitro testing which means laboratory tests that are used to diagnose diseases and monitor the clinical status of patients using samples of blood, cells, or other tissues obtained from a patient can be applied to the industry because we could test products on samples of our cells and tissues in order to see how they would affect our skin and bodies. Currently, the cosmetic industry is benefiting from a kind of in vitro testing called 3D reconstruction of human skin. An important advantage of this method is it allows for tests that can confirm the ingredients used in the products as well as whether they are toxic to us.
The New England Anti-Vivisection Society is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to free animals from suffering and on their website, I found that: InVitro International’s Corrositex (synthetic skin) can provide a chemical corrosivity determination in as little as 3 minutes to four hours, unlike animal testing that often takes two to four weeks. DakDak, an alternative test used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens, was reported to do in days what it takes animal studies months to do, and estimates that it can test five or six products for less than half the cost to study a single product in animals.
The traditional testing of chemicals using animals can take up to five years per substance and cost millions of dollars, while non-animal alternatives can test hundreds of chemicals in a week for a fraction of the cost. This shows that there are options available to the cosmetics industry to replace animal testing and the option are also a lot cheaper and faster which would allow more products to be tested and keep the industry moving forward with new products and new sources of income on top of the money they would be saving by switching to this method. A third technique is computer simulations. In heart drug research it has been shown that animal testing only has an accuracy rate of around 75% to 85% which cause a lot of drug withdrawals due to cardiovascular safety issues.
But with a computer-simulated human research at the University of Oxford has a computer model that is 89% to 96% when it comes to predicting side effects caused by drugs, such as dangerous arrhythmias “ where the heartbeat becomes irregular and can stop. It also has other advantages like reducing the number of animal experiments that occur in the early stages of testing new drugs and it also improves drug safety which then lowers the risk for real patient during the clinical trial and overall speeds up the whole process of drug development. Lastly, this can be used to target a certain population because some drugs can have side effects that are only harmful to that one population. For example someone with a specific genetic mutation or disease.
Animals that are being tested on are exposed to awful conditions and experiments that are looked at as necessary but with the technology, we have available it seems like a barbaric act to put the animals through this. On PETA’s website, they explained that animals are put through so much torture until they are just ultimately killed off when they are no longer of use. Before their deaths, some [animals] are forced to inhale toxic fumes, others are immobilized in restraint devices for hours, some have holes drilled into their skulls, and others have their skin burned off or their spinal cords crushed.
In addition to the torment of the actual experiments, animals in laboratories are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them”they are confined to barren cages, socially isolated, and psychologically traumatized. The thinking, feeling animals who are used in experiments are treated like nothing more than disposable laboratory equipment. As you can see by the photos and the description of what the animals have to go through it really is a barbaric act that needs to be stopped. How would you feel if it was your family pet being tested on and having their skull drilled into? You would not like it and neither do the animals that are being tested on. A big problem with stopping animal testing is that China requires certain products to be tested on animals in order to be sold and while they did make some changes it is still required by law on many products.
The products that are required to be tested on animals are any cosmetics made outside of China but are sold in mainland China and special use cosmetics made and sold in China. The products include sunscreens, deodorant, hair dyes, and many more. There are also some special cases where post-market testing is done and this can be done without the company knowledge and these tend to be done on ordinary products like makeup and perfume. And even on the products that are sold where it is not required by law, it ends up being in the companies choice whether they test on animals or not.
On the other hand, some believe that animal testing is necessary for many reasons. Animal testing has contributed to many life-saving cures and treatments. On ProCon website, they stated that according to: The California Biomedical Research Association . . . nearly every medical breakthrough in the last 100 years has resulted directly from research using animals. Experiments in which dogs had their pancreases removed led directly to the discovery of insulin, critical to saving the lives of diabetics. The polio vaccine, tested on animals, reduced the global occurrence of the disease from 350,000 cases in 1988 to 27 cases in 2016. So without animal testing, many lives would have been lost due to the diseases and virus present in our world.
Also, the animals that are being tested on have shorter life spans they make better research subjects. An example is the lifespan of laboratory mice is 2-3 years so you can see the effects of genetic manipulation and treatments over there whole lifespan or multiple generations. Animal testing has also been helpful in saving species from extinction. For example, Koalas which have now been classified as endangered in some parts of Australia have been plagued by chlamydia.
A new vaccine that is being tested on them has shown to slow the rate of infection and treat the beginning stage. Lastly, the benefits can also be reaped by the animals themselves because if vaccines had not been tested on animals, millions of animals would have died from rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, infectious hepatitis virus, tetanus, anthrax, and canine parvovirus.
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