Animal Testing Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Animal testing or animal experimentation is a necessary evil. At least that is what some say. Others believe animal testing should cease as society evolves past the need to experiment on living creatures. The topic remains a hot button issue.

It rings especially true for those who adopt a vegan lifestyle and believe animals should have the same rights as people in terms of value of life and so forth. Although animal testing has ceased in some cosmetic companies and label their goods as not animal tested, most companies, especially pharmaceutical companies, rely on animals to test drugs and vaccines in order to promote evolution of medicine but refrain from putting human lives at risk. This essay will show the pro and con sides of animal testing/animal experimentation. Does it remain as unavoidable or can society move past animal testing and find new ways to test products and medicines?

Background

Animal testing

Literature

The current literature shows pros and cons to animal testing and perhaps helps illustrate the need or aversion to animal testing. For example, the pro-side argues animal testing helps avoid loss of human life by enabling experimentation and discovery of vaccines and medicines that could help cure alleviate disease and injury in humans. The con may argue animal experimentation promotes a negative society focused on brutality and violence. Animal experimentation became so reviled thanks to campaigns against the subject showing animals tested on, that companies have gone so far as to state they do not test on animals. The literature will present pros and cons and help deliver a conclusion and opinion on the topic.

Con

In 2012, Michael Balls wrote an article discussing the new ways in which pharmaceutical companies could test drugs on human cells without hurting humans and eliminating entirely animal testing. Essentially people could donate cells to a clinic that then retains those cells, replicate them and provide them to pharma and researchers to test their theories and products.

Cells will be provided to academic researchers, private -- public partnerships, biotechs and pharma for research, early drug discovery and safety assessment. The aim of the iPS cell centre is, therefore, to respond to the current and rapidly increasing demand for efficacy and toxicity testing using iPS cells from disease relevant populations (Balls 191)

The innovation comes at the heels of a recent vegan movement championing the elimination of all animal derived or animal tested products from the market. Not only will pharma and other private or public organizations have the ability to test effectively their products, they can do so without harming living creatures.

This is an important step towards the complete elimination of animal testing and may in fact cause a ripple among pharmaceutical companies and research studies much as it did in the cosmetics industry. Cells, human cells show what drugs may do to cell health and may in fact provide better results than animal testing. Currently researchers do animal testing mainly on rodents. Their physiology is different from humans. To test on human cells allows for higher accuracy and faster turnaround in trials.

Another article by Pal discusses the kinds of animals used for testing. "An entire scientific discipline, known as gnotobiology, is devoted to establishing and controlling the microbial status of laboratory animals." (Pal 9) These are animals normally are taken via cesarean and then kept pathogenic free to allow for optimal conditions during experimentation. Although the kinds of animals used are based on government regulations, the author explains that researchers and those experimenting on animals remain unfamiliar on how to deal with animal euthanasia and maintenance. Veterinarians for example, could come and give recommendations for effective euthanasia and so forth. However, most drug companies and businesses do not retain veterinarians as consultants and thus operate without full awareness of the animals suffering.

This article provides insight on the kinds of animals used for experimentation as well as the scientific interest in maintaining certain conditions for lab animals. These conditions do not come from recommendations from specialists of animal care, but rather, to ensure adequate sampling and experimentation. It explains well the level of attention paid to the status of the animal vs. The well-being of the animal.

Pros

Although science and medicine have delivered better ways of experimentation that remove the need for animal or human testing, some things still remain a problem and require animal experimentation to continue developments of products and methods.

In vivo studies using the animals are helpful in developing the treatment strategies, as they are important link between the successful in vitro testing and safe human use. Various research projects in the field of fixation of fractures, development of newer biomaterials, chemotherapeutic drugs, use of stem cells in nonunion of fractures and cartilage defects etc., have hugely depended on animal experimentation. (Saraf and Kumaraswamy 6)

Stem cell research, possibly the best way to create and maintain human organs and tissue comes from animal experimentation. Without animal experimentation, innovations like tissue and organ formation outside humans would not be possible. A good example of this are human ears grown on mice. These ears could not have formed without a host with which to grow on. The mice/rats provided the means with which to effectively study and grow something like this without harming or excising from humans.

In fact, most of the recent technology is owed to animal experimentation. As people continue to invent new technology especially when it comes to human biology, animals will be used to start the process. It not only lays the groundwork for other scientists to derive from, but it also provides the means with which to evolve techniques that move away from animal experimentation altogether.

Looking at federal standards for animal experimentation, the American government has generated guidelines that generally promote the use of lesser intelligence animals and effective maintenance and euthanasia of such animals. "Federal standards are full of specific requirements for different kinds of studies, but in general, it is fair to say that they offer the most concrete guidance on questions of animal housing and care. The regulations include detailed discussions of square footage, exercise requirements, room temperature…" (Latham S36) Although scientists and researchers focus more on the result rather than the well-being of such animals, there are guidelines in place meant to provide decent maintenance of lab animals. This shows the level of interest the government and people in general have on minimization of animal suffering, at least in the last few decades.

Speaking of recent times, animal species selection plays a major role in the level of harm and pain caused by animal experimentation. If animals selected possess higher levels of intelligence such as monkeys and apes, the level of pain inflicted on them are greater than say rodents that have limited intelligence and mainly live on instinct. Current studies involving animal experimentation are regulated to remove any use of animals that could form bonds or have higher levels of intelligence than desired. "…species-specific sentience does incorporate the nature of the human/animal bond…animals such as minipigs, might be less likely to develop close personal bonds with animal care staff than selected breeds of dog or species of monkey" (Webster 739)

Therefore, animal experimentation / animal testing has moved from unregulated and potentially illegal to regulated and considerate of the possible feelings of the public and the animals experimented on. At least in modern countries like the United States, the public has developed a clear opinion on animal testing and has changed the way researchers and scientists experiment on animals for the better. Animals are not just chosen based on testing efficacy, but also on level of intelligence.

Conclusion

In conclusion, animal testing/animal experimentation remains necessary in society. Although human testing such as clinical trials offer better options for animals when it comes to product testing, some medicine, some products remain too dangerous to test on humans first and thus must go through animal testing. As recent studies confirm, most of the animals tested in recent times are far less intelligent than humans. Prior to increased public awareness, apes, rabbits, dogs, cats, they suffered through animal testing.

Now most animal testing goes towards rodents. Even though animal testing is a painful process, so are many things humans themselves go through. Clinical trials for example, at times have painful side effects for humans, yet humans still sign up each year to experience the trials. The most controversial of animal testing, cosmetics, has significantly decreased animal testing and some companies even promote no animal testing for their brand. Therefore, for now at least, animal testing remains an essential component to the health and well-being of people.

Thanks to different standards and practices, companies have reduced what kinds of animals they use and some have eliminated animal testing altogether. Overall, animal testing now, helps with scientists and business make and produce products that promote the health of a consumer or allow convenience. Therefore, regardless of the moral side to animal testing, it remains a necessary evil in society.…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Balls, Michael. 'The Conflict Over Animal Experimentation: Is The Field Of Battle Changing?'. ATLA 40 (2012): 189-191. Print.

Latham, Stephen R. 'U.S. Law and Animal Experimentation: A Critical Primer'.Hastings Center Report 42.s1 (2012): S35-S39. Web.

Pal, TK. 'Animal Experimentations: Part I: General Considerations'. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 7.1 (2015): 7. Web.

Saraf, ShyamK, and Vinay Kumaraswamy. 'Basic Research: Issues with Animal Experimentations'. Indian Journal of Orthopaedics 47.1 (2013): 6. Web.

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