The use of animals can be helpful for activities like transportation and as pets, sports, recreation and companionship. In everyday life, we are all involved with animals in one way or another. Many of us have pets such as dogs and cats, others live on farms where they have cattle, horses and sheep.
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However, not all animals fit into these categories. There is another group of animals that we are not aware of. These are animals that are used to help save our lives through scientific research and testing purposes. Although many lifesaving drugs were invented through experiments that were run on animals, animal advocates think the scientific outcomes are inhumane to the animals going through these experiments.
Animal testing is when animals are used to test medications or to study the human body. Animal experiments are not the same as taking your dog or cat to the vet. Animals used for testing are harmed and are usually killed at the end of the experiment. Animal testing involves injecting medications in the animal which sometimes kills them. When animals are going through testing they take in toxic gas and sometimes die from exposure to radiation and chemicals (Animal Testing).
Animal testing for science experiments was used in the 17th century in the UK. Hervey was one of the most educated in his time. One of Hervey’s experiments tested many animal species aiming to demonstrate blood circulation. In 1876 the government passed the cruelty to Animals Act, the first legislation aimed directly at regulating animal experiments.
Galen a Greek physician who practiced medicine in Rome conducted animal experiments to understanding the of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology of the body. Ibn Zurh, an Arab physician in 12th century studied and learned in Moorish Spain and introduced and started animal testing as an experimental method for testing surgical procedures before testing them on human patients (Animal Testing and Medicine).
In 2016, the US government statistics put the number of Labatory animals used in research for medicine at 820,813, a 7% rise from 2015. Researchers in the United States use approximately 12 to 27 million animals in research. For every animal used in experiments it is estimated that 14% or more are killed on our roads. The number of animals used in research has gone up with the advancement in medical technology. Every year, millions of experimental animals are used all over the world (US Statics).
In one study dogs had their pancreases removed by doing this it led to the discovery of insulin which is critical to saving the lives of diabetics. The polio vaccine performed on animals and this reduced the global outbreaks of this disease from 350,000 cases in 1988 to 27 cases in 2016. Animal research has also contributed to major advances in understanding and treating conditions such as brain injury, cystic fibrosis, malaria, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, and many other dieses in the development of pacemakers, cardiac valve substitutes, and anesthetics. Using animals for experimentation has led to the discovery of insulin and the polio vaccine also tested on animals is helping people from getting these diseases.
Animal testing isn’t all that bad as there are some good benefits. The use of animal testing has helped humans test and discover more and more new medicines. Humans and animals share hundreds of illnesses. Animals testing helps us fix and test new medications to help fight off disease. Dogs suffer from cancer, diabetes, ulcers and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, which make them natural candidates for research. Cats suffer from some of the same defects as humans. In these cases, we can learn how disease affects the body, how the immune system responds and who will be affected by these dieses (Animal research info). New medicines require testing because researchers must ensure that the new medicine is safe to distribute out to the public (medical benefits).
There are some beneficial outcome of animal testing. In the 1940, penicillin was testing on animals. Eight mice were injected with a dose of 110 million streptococci bacteria. One hour later, four of other mice were injected with penicillin. The mice survived but the untreated ones died. Florey said, It looks like a miracle. The amount of penicillin needed to treat a human is 3000 times greater than for a mouse. Without this medication and animal testing, penicillin would not have been developed further. Penicillin has evolved by the ability to treat bacterial infection, which was one of the major causes of deaths in the US. This simple animal experiment has saved of millions of lives, both in humans and animals (medical benefits-penicillin).
Another benefit of animal testing is when the first successful blood transfusion happened. This idea was first performed on a dog by Richard Lower in 1666 and was perfected in dogs by 1907. Clotting was prevented by the adding in sodium citrate and citrated blood was shown to be safe for transfusion to dogs in 1914 (medical benefits) and another case is in 1915 a blood transfusion was tested on a dog since then blood transfusion have helped many people and is used after an injury, surgery and to treat cancers (medical benefits).
According to Humane Society, animal experiments are known to induce force feeding and a lack of food and water which also includes the infliction of burns and wounds to study the healing process of the human body. Animals are used to find new medications and are often put through painful situations to find a new cure to a new dieses (animal testing pro-con).
Millions of animals are used in resources or as research models every year, in testing and in universities and labs throughout the world. Mice, hamsters, rabbits, dogs, and pigs suffer from experiments in areas of biology, biochemistry, physiology. We inject them with viruses to alter their DNA, we submit them to starvation or electric shocks to test their resistance, burn them alive, apply solutions to their eyes and skin, we block their glands, force them to inhale toxic substances, submit them to radiation and extreme temperatures. *
Around the world researchers are finding new ways to replace animal testing. Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have recently built an organs-on-a-chip that models’ atherosclerosis (the constriction of blood vessels). This is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes. In a recent study in bioengineering, researchers explain how the device can be used to study inflammatory responses in cells that line the vessel. This could not have been found in animal models using animal testing. This device could help researchers better understand atherosclerosis and develop new treatments for both humans and animals (replace animal testing).
If it wasn’t for animal testing, we wouldn’t have discovered different types of medicine without using a human body. In fact, many of medical advances have come without the use of other animals and if researchers invested the resources into animal-free methods we might have advanced our medical cures at a much faster rate.
While the FDA now has a roadmap to end animal testing and is funding research on alternatives, there are still roadblocks to overcome. One important step toward im?plementation is for the FDA to clearly communicate to the pharmaceutical industry that human-based test methods are accepted if sufficiently evaluated. The FDA and drug development holders have known that for more than 13 years approximately 92 percent of new medicines fail in humans after passing animal tests, but this hasn’t made any progress in modernizing its test methods. While the FDA has alternative for animal testing there are still some issues to get through like funding and also to talk to the pharmaceutical industry (replacing animal testing).
Besides the major concern of ethics, there are a few more disadvantages of animal experimentation because it is time consuming and there are protocols and high cost expenses. Various alternatives to animal testing are proposed to overcome the drawbacks associated with animal experiments and avoid unethical procedures. A strategy of 3 R’s (reduction, refinement and replacement) is being applied for laboratory use of animals. Different methods and alternative organisms are being applied to be in this strategy. These methods provide an alternative means for the drug and chemical testing. Animal testing can be very time consuming, expensive and unethical to find new medicines (alternative to animal testing).
Animal testing is very useful in developing medicine but there are many downsides to it. The information I just talked about will give a perspective on whether animals testing is useful or down right cruel. There are many benefits of using animals for testing new medicines. Some ways this technic is very useful, but it can be very cruel and inhumane to animals. In the reasons I explained animal testing has its benefits and its downsides but helps the human population survive and live a little bit longer in life enjoying the small things.
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