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More than 100 million animals, including dogs, hamsters, frogs, cats, mice, birds, guinea pigs, and monkeys, are killed in American labs every year for use in medical research, experiments motivated by curiosity, biological education, testing of chemical drugs, cosmetics, and food. Prior to their demise, some of the animals spend several hours immobilized in restraint enclosures, are made to breathe poisonous fumes, have their spinal cords crushed, and in some cases, have their epidermis burned off. (""Experiments On Animals: Overview""). In addition to their suffering, they frequently are not allowed to share in the experiences that other creatures have in their natural habitats. Typically, the animals are mentally traumatized and socially isolated in sterile cages. Animals that are used in the experiments are treated as other pieces of equipment that are disposed of in the laboratory. In the early years, the majority of people did not view animal research as something negative; however, recently the practice has been heavily criticized. Animal research is an issue that requires immediate attention. Supporters of animal research have argued that it is required for science and usually it is carried out in a “humane” way. However, critics of the practice tend to believe that there are other better alternatives for the experiments thus caring for the animal rights. America as a super power should serve a good example to other states in using other options for the well-being of the animals and employ stricter policies against animal research. Though animal testing has saved humanity due to the vaccines developed that cured illnesses like polio, it remains illegal since the practice is unethically immoral due to the pain and death of the animals and there are other alternatives to the practice.
Animal testing refers to the experiments conducted scientifically on liable animals by scientists to discover more about the human body. Animals are usually viewed as important subjects in the experiments due to their similar genetic makeup with that of humans; hence, have assisted in finding cures for illnesses., For instance, in 2004, scientists associated with the Human Genome Project pointed out that rodents especially mice have almost similar genetic composition with humans. Around 95% of animals used in the research are always rodents while the remaining 5% includes dogs, monkeys, fish, and others. The fact that majority of the animals used in the experiments are killed in the testing process has led to some of the scientists to claim that they typically feel a lot of mental anguish when they get back home. For instance, in Pennsylvania consulting group, a scientist named Anneke Keizer-Zucker told the Seattle Times in 2003 that animal testing is tough and she would come home most of the times exhausted thus training to be a counselor to assist her fellow researchers with the same anguish (Coolican, Patrick).
Advocates of animal research typically support the practice for human advances. According to Professor Chris Higgins, during a BBC interview, scientists are doing fantastic work in their research. Animals are only taken when there is no alternative and their suffering during the experiments is usually minimized. The experiments are always conducted to ensure that humans have safe medicines and chemicals in the environment ("BBC NEWS | UK | Head To Head: Animal Testing"). Moreover, the experiments are usually carried out on rats and mice, which most people do consider them as pests; hence, put down poisons to eliminate them. The animals also have assisted in coming up with many medicines like insulin came from cows and many more experiments will yield more cures or vaccines for our bodies. Animal testing is also economically beneficial since farmers get more money for breeding the animals required by the scientists (Hartung, Thomas). Supporters tend to think that testing is done on the rats and mice that they think have no rights as animals. Animal testing advocates also fail to identify that it is not morally right to test on the animals anymore due to the current technological advancement.
Animals testing supporters argue that the practice provides other benefits to themselves. They imply that if vaccines were not tested on them, they would have been dying from serious illnesses like anthrax, rabies, tetanus, infectious hepatitis virus and other diseases. They also claim that the practice has assisted endangered species from extinction. They tend to assume that for vaccines of the animals to be derived they have to be the test the animals themselves. However, what seems no clear is whether they can answer the question like would they allow tests to be run on their fellow humans so that a vaccine can be created to save others?
Not only is animal testing cruel to the animals, but it also does not contribute to improving human beings health thus its role in the experiments is questionable. Even though 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines have been successful when tested on primates as of 2015; however, all of them failed to protect and cure the virus in humans thus showing how many animals suffered in the project that yielded zero results.
Generally, why do scientists continue to carry out tests to animals that bring distress, pain, and death to the animals when there are other alternatives brought about by technological advancement? In the past, the tests seemed a bit logical; however, in our current 21st century, the practice seems archaic. Several alternatives to animal research are available to combats the shortcomings related to the experiments and also to avoid unethical measures. A 3Rs stratagem (refinement, replacement, and reduction) is currently being employed in the laboratory tests on animals. Various alternative organisms and methods are used in implementing this plan; hence, providing an alternative way for the chemical and drug experiments (Doke & Dhawale). According to a BBC interview, Alistair Currie points out that computer modeling of human tissues could be used in the laboratory on human volunteers, which would tell scientists on what happens in human beings, unlike animal studies ("BBC NEWS | UK | Head To Head: Animal Testing").
Certainly, even though, animal research is broadly employed by many states, alternatives provided by the critics of the practice are also in place. For instance, computer modeling of human tissues could be used in the laboratory on human volunteers. Generally, regarding the preservation of the endangered species, animal testing has played a huge role in conserving our animals. For instance, if animal research was present during the dinosaur era, they could still be alive.
It looks that both sides of the debate agree that animal testing has managed to provide medicine that has cured humans and animals. However, they do differ on the elimination of the practice. Those against animal testing want it to be eliminated completely; however, those supporting it want it to be removed only as soon as scientists can work without it.
Animals and humans are all living creatures created by God, and they both feel pain when harm is inflicted on them. However, human beings have the power to defend themselves, unlike animals. No human being would want to be locked up in a cage, gassed, or injected with unknown substances that are poisonous. Despite the animal test supporters claiming that animals continue to offer medicines to humans for survival; however, there is an alternative brought about by the technological advancement. People do not have to treat animals as if they were non-living things. Everyone who cares about the universe should stop the practices if they are scientists themselves and stop buying products derived from animals for a better world.
"Experiments on Animals: Overview." PETA, 2017, http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-used-experimentation-factsheets/animal-experiments-overview/.
"BBC NEWS | UK | Head To Head: Animal Testing". News.Bbc.Co.Uk, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4769749.stm.
Doke, Sonali K., & Dhawale Shashikant C. Alternatives To Animal Testing: A Review. Sciencedirect.Com, 2017, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016413001096.
Hartung, Thomas. Food for Thought on Animal Tests. EC Joint Research Centre, IHCP/ECVAM, Ispra, Italy. altex_hartung_fft_1_08_e.pdf. altweb.jhsph.edu, 2008
Coolican, Patrick. "Local News | Convention Addresses Relief For Pain Felt By Lab Animals | Seattle Times Newspaper". Community.Seattletimes.Nwsource.Com, 2003, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20031016&slug=animaltesting16m0.
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