Research on animals is important in understanding diseases and developing ways to prevent them. The polio vaccine, kidney transplants, and heart surgery techniques have all been developed with the help of animal research. Through increased efforts by the scientific community, effective treatments for diabetes, diphtheria, and other diseases have been developed with animal testing. Animal research has brought a dramatic progress into medicine. With the help of animal research, smallpox has been wiped out worldwide.
Micro-surgery to reattach hearts, lungs, and other transplants are all possible because of animal research. Since the turn of the century, animal research has helped increase our life-span by nearly 28 years. And now, animal research is leading to dramatic progress against AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease. Working with animals in research is necessary. Scientists need to test medical treatments for effectiveness and test new drugs for safety before beginning human testing. Small animals, usually rats, are used to determine the possible side effects of new drugs.
After animal tests have proven the safety of new drugs, patients asked to participate in further studies can be assured that they may fare better, and will not do worse than if they were given standard treatment or no treatment. New surgical techniques first must be carefully developed and tested in living, breathing, whole organ systems with pulmonary and circulatory systems much like ours. The doctors who perform today’s delicate cardiac, ear, eye, pulmonary and brain surgeries, as well as doctors in training, must develop the necessary skills before patients’ lives are entrusted to their care.
Neither computer models, cell cultures, nor artificial substances can simulate flesh, muscle, blood, and organs like the ones in live animals. There is no alternative to animal research. Living systems are complex. The nervous system, blood and brain chemistry, and gland secretions are all interrelated. It is impossible to explore, explain or predict the course of many diseases or the effects of many treatments without observing and testing the entire living system. Cell and tissue cultures, often suggested as “alternatives” to using animals, have been used in medical research for many years. But these are only isolated tests.
And isolated tests will yield only isolated results, which may bear little relation to a whole living system. Scientists do not yet know enough about living systems or diseases, nor does the technology exist, to replicate one on a computer. The information required to build a true computer model in the future will be based on data drawn from today’s animal studies. Primates represent only about 1/3 of 1 percent of animals in research. But during the last half century, research using primates has led to major medical breakthroughs, most notably in the treatment of polio and Rh disease.
Vaccines have reduced the cases of polio in the U. S. from 58,000 to one or two a year at present. Scientists are learning how the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) works by studying its non-human primate counterpart, the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) in monkeys. The SIV model is useful in testing drugs for AIDS. In addition, the HIV virus survives in certain kinds of monkeys and although it does not kill the animals, it can be removed from them. This may prove useful in testing an AIDS vaccine. Researchers are studying rhesus macaque monkeys to explore ways to reduce multiple organ failure following hypotensive shock, a loss of blood pressure due to loss of blood.
Researchers have hypothesized that damage to the organs occur within the first few minutes after blood flow is reestablished, when a certain kind of white blood cell attaches to walls of blood vessels and releases toxic substances. The researchers reasoned that if, just before blood flow is reestablished, a substance that prevents the white blood cells from attaching to the vessel walls were injected into the blood stream, it might prevent the release of their toxic contents and avoid multiple organ damage. It is expected that this new technique will prove effective in human patients.
Researchers are studying obesity in monkeys in hopes of finding a way to control body weight. Scientist are also using monkeys to study Taurine deficiency, which causes vision problems, and zinc deficiency, which causes growth retardation among infants and fetuses. Researchers are currently studying to see whether reduced caloric intake can slow the rate of aging. This effect has already been observed in lower animals, and if it holds true in primates, it would be a strong indication that humans might be able to increase their life spans by eating less.
Primates have the same number and relative size of teeth as humans. Macaque monkeys have been studied by dental researchers to link a specific bacterium to the growth of periodontitis, which affects 75 percent of all adults and causes 70 percent of adult tooth loss. A non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, flurbiprofen, has been shown to be effective in halting the progression of periodontal disease. Since the 1920s, scientists have studied primates in order to understand their ability to communicate.
They have discovered that chimpanzees and other apes have the ability to learn and use language. Scientists already have applied their findings toward developing a special language for severely mentally retarded children, as well as young adults with little or no linguistic competence, who cannot learn language as normal children do. People should ensure that an end is not put to progress in animal research. Biomedical researchers know that an animal in distress is simply not a good research subject. Researchers are embarked on an effort to alleviate misery, not cause it.
And remember, if we want to defeat the killer diseases that still confront us, such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and many others, the misguided fanatics of the animal-rights movement must be stopped. Think about it, it could some day be your life or your children’s. Animals Are Equal “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. ” This was the rule established by the pigs that ruled the farmyard in the book Animal Farm. It justified any cruel of unjust treatment the pigs performed on the other “inferior” animals.
This rule illustrates the ethnocentricity and superiority displayed by the pigs toward their fellow farmyard animals. This is the same position that humans take every day in the laboratory toward lower forms of animals. For many years, scientists have been using different animals in the laboratory research. According to one estimate, 65 million animals are used in the laboratory experiments annually in the United States. (Barton p. 30) I acknowledge that at this research has proven beneficial to the development and enhancement of the human race.
However, I do not believe it is fair for this advancement to occur at the cost of many innocent animals, often from unnecessary experimentation. I can not justify or excuse one “animal”, a human being, from torturing and killing another animal. These laboratory animals should have certain rights, and the absence from unnecessary suffering, malnutrition, torture, and abuse are some examples of them. The negative effects of using animals for laboratory research are evident on these tested animals, but the effects are also prevalent in the human race. The devaluation of life by the experimenters can have negative effects on society as a whole.
First, the effects of this unfair testing are most damaging to the animals being tested. One extreme example involved monkeys that were forced to inhale mass quantities of cigarette smoke to test its dangers. These poor monkeys were strapped to a table and were made to wear gas masks that forced this smoke down their throat. After this experiment, it was concluded that the monkeys exposed to the smoke and their respective death rates were positively correlated. This information about the dangers of smoking was already common knowledge to the entire human public. Therefore, why was this gruesome testing condoned?
Was it necessary for innocent animals to suffer and die these horrible deaths for such irrelevant experiments? (Barton, p. 6) Another example of obvious animal suffering and abuse is illustrated in cosmetic safety testing on animals. These experiments have little or no implications for human life or human benefit, and thus should not be performed. One certain procedure, called the Draize test, uses the chemical found in shampoos and tests its irritability on the eyes of rabbits. Although the shampoos are basically harmless if exposed to the human eye, they cause blindness to the rabbits that are tested.
Therefore, not only is the Draize test extremely painful and harmful to the rabbits, but it is used on testing unnecessary substances. Considering this starting evidence, one must wonder why procedures like this remain legal. (Knopf p. 321) Not only is much of animal research harmful to the laboratory animals, but it also has harmful effects on the individuals who conduct the research. Sacrificing animals for scientific research can devalue the importance of life for the scientist conducting the research. This raises serious moral questions about the importance of life.
For example, some might argue that the effects of nuclear energy in the production of the atomic bomb were not adequately studied before dropping the bomb, thereby killing hundreds of thousands of people. It is morally unethical to take a life, whether it is a human being or an animal. As long as something is alive or has life, then it deserves moral consideration, and thus humans are obligated to protect and cherish life whenever it is found. I see no redeeming moral value in using animals for experimentation, many of which are unnecessary, and, in fact, such practice seems immortal.
Therefore, this devaluation of animal life form must be stopped before society totally disregards the value of life as an important moral principle. (Thiroux p. 400) Some individuals resist the fact that animals have inherent value. These people simply cannot defend the narrow position that only humans have such value and not lower animals. Therefore, should we say that only human beings have the requisite intelligence, reason, or autonomy to value their life? To the contrary, there are many humans who fail miserably to meet these standards, and yet they are viewed by society as possessing value beyond their usefulness to others.
In addition, is it true that only humans belong to the correct species, the Homo Sapiens? This view seems to be blatant speciesism and is no more acceptable than racism or sexism. It is sometimes argued that only humans have immortal souls and thus are superior to lower forms of animals. This argument is not only unprovable, but also has its basis on an even more controversial question of who or what has an immortal soul. It is rationally more productive to solve these moral issues without making more controversial assumptions than necessary.
In summary, what could possibly be the basis of humans having more inherent value than the animals they abuse? Could it be that the animals lack intelligence or reason? If so, we would have to make the same judgment concerning deficient humans as well. However, we do not think of a retarded child or a mentally insane person as having less inherent value than a normal individual. Therefore, we can not rationally base the assumption that because humans have intelligence and reasoning, they are justified or excused for killing thousands of animals each year.
We must accept the responsibility for what animal experimentation causes in devaluing the importance of life and all the consequences of it. (Mappes and Zembaty p. 456-57) “The tyranny of human over nonhuman animals has caused and today is still causing an amount of pain and suffering that can only be compared with tyranny by white humans over black humans. ” (Singer p. 17) The importance of conquering this tyranny is as important as any other social or moral issue discussed in recent years. The prejudice exhibited by the speciesist is just as evil as that exhibited by the racist.
If a being suffers, there is no moral justification for refusing to consider its suffering. Regardless of the animal, the principle of equality in a moral society requires that we attempt to reduce its suffering just as we would for a fellow human. If the trends of abusing, torturing, and killing of these animals in laboratory testing continues, its effects could prove detrimental to both the animal population as well as the human race. Society might eventually become totally apathetic to the value and preciousness of life at all levels.
If killing becomes an easy practice either to perform or to accept by the average citizen, then our society is in trouble. This devaluation of our mere existence may reduce our appreciation of being alive and may decrease the importance of not taking a human life. Consequently, the useless killing of animals in laboratory experiments must cease. If not, the effects of such needless slaughter could prove ultimately harmful to both the animal populations involved and the human population as well. The importance of life must be valued at all levels.
Animal Experimentation As playing with your adorable pet dog, named Bailey, a news commercial flashes across the screen about animal experimentation. After the commercial you ponder upon what happens to the thousands of animals that were used for experimental test. Experimental test may help in finding new discoveries, but the physiological problems, death, and deformation of the animals is not right. If it’s not right to do to humans, then it’s not right to do to animals. The physiological problems that occur in the animals that are tested on is not minor, but extreme.
It is true that the research is vital for medical advances which helped provide antibiotics and vaccines, insulin, and advances in the medical technology like blood transfusions, kidney dialysis, and heart lung machines, but what about the animals that are being tested on. The animals go from a stable to a unstable condition, or have a condition far more worse than which they started from. Lets say Mike, the lab mouse, was in good health and could function properly on his own. After a week of testing on his body, Mike could not walk, feed himself, or function properly due to the experimental test performed on his brain.
Mike would have never had to experience the change in his body if he would not have been tested on. Death is another extreme case in animal experimentation. This may determine a flaw in the experimentation which is good for humans, but it ends the life of a innocent animal. Over 3 million animals started out like Mike did, as a healthy mouse. The treatments and test that were performed on their bodies was too much for them to handle causing death, the only non-painful way out. From the time of being healthy, to the experimentation, to death, suffering happens a great deal to these lab animals.
How would you feel being poked at, injected with, or under close observation by a scientific researcher undergoing these unnecessary, painful and lethal animal test? The deformation that occurs in the animals can be helpful in growing ears or limbs to humans, but it doesn’t guarantee that there will be no complications with it. “Medical experiments on animals have caused enormous damage and killed thousands. In the past 20 years thousands of drugs and test, successfully tested on animals have been withdrawn because of dangerous side effects on humans”(Braim 2).
During the time where the animals are experimented on, they go through a lot of suffering. They start out normal and by the end of the testing, they have a new body part(s) attached, like a extra ear or limb. Lab animals have to go through cruel and antiquated testing methods. Are test that are designed to poison, blind, burn, mutate and kill thousands of defenseless animals absolutely necessary and humane? Animal experimentation is cruel to animals. What did they ever do to deserve this treatment?
The animals go through many physiological problems with suffering, then leading to death, or possible deformation. Is it so hard to have alternative test such as human cell culture test and computer models to replace live animals? More than 600 companies use these alternatives to manufacture safe and effective products, but that’s not enough. I feel that animals are equal to us and deserve to be treated fairly. In the future we should abide by the famous quote “Do unto others as you would have done to you. ”