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Animal Experimentation

“To restrict our acquisition of knowledge by reducing the use of animals in research is not in the best interest of the animals involved” (Heffner, 1999, p. 72). Henry Heffner is right, not using animals for testing isn’t in the best interest of the animals but it also isn’t in the best interest of humans as well. Animals don’t only make great pets that can be a great addition to any family; they also are good for experimentation. They are treated ethically and humane while saving lives and being essential in medical research. Animals should defiantly be used for experimentation and research.
Although many believe animal experimentation is unethical and inhumane, animal testing truly has come a long way. Dr. Adrian R. Morrison, who works in the Laboratory for Study of the Brain in Sleep, at Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine believes “that people have an obligation to look after the needs of animals in their care but this concern does not contradict the use of animals in purposeful experimentation” (Morrison, 2003, p. 73). He, along with other labs that use animals for research take good care of the animals, and at the same time collect information for research. Today, sensors and monitors have become standard when animals are used for testing, so the data can be transmitted without killing an animal (Stokstand, 1999, p. 34). As a result of using the sensors and monitors animals are less stressed, which in turn leads to better more accurate results. This, to many, seems like a much more suitable way than poking and prodding animals, which ultimately is what comes to mind when people hear the words animal experimentation. But exactly how far have we come? Animals use to be anesthetized and injected with diseases and tested with remedies scientists thought could cure horrendous infections, than two were killed every hour to be thoroughly examined (p. 34). Currently, animals used for testing are treated like Queen Elizabeth herself. Presently, companies who use animals for testing can spend anywhere from five thousand dollars to fifteen thousand dollars a month heating houses that animals are kept in. Trained veterinarians are on hand for animals that contract a disease that could jeopardize the animals’ health and the whole building itself. Animals also in turn help themselves, not only humans. “Over 80 medicines originally developed for humans are now used to treat pets, farm animals and wildlife” (Heffner, 1999, p. 75). “But the fact that animals in captivity live healthier and, in many cases, longer lives than their wild counterparts demonstrates that it is, in fact, a better environment” (p. 75). “Animals in the wild suffer high mortality rates, are subject to starvation, predation, and disease, and many, if not most, fail to breed successfully” (p. 75). Animals in a laboratory setting are far better off, not dealing with the climate, and other unpredictable factors of the environment.

It’s fair to assume that most anyone who believes animals should not be used for testing feels this way because animals die in the process. Yes, animals do die, but on the other hand many human lives are saved as a result. Humans who are opposed to animal experimentation need to remember, “our first obligation is to our fellow humans” (Morrison, 2003, p.75). Results from these tests on animals yield very valuable information, which saves human every day. For example, animals were tested with a flea prevention medicine called Dursban the results showed in lab rats to impair brain development (Soloman, 2002, p. 63). Today it’s off the shelves saving cats and dogs as well as children, who could touch an animal and ingest it into their system as well (p. 63). This isn’t the only medicine or chemical that was tested on animals and found to cause some type of deficiency. Vinclozolin, an endocrine disrupting pesticide, was also tested on rats and found to cause deformed penises (p. 63). Believe it or not this pesticide was on the fruit humans consume every day, thanks to the rats vinclozolin was tested on it no longer is on the apples we eat (p. 63). They saved many men from suffering with a deformed penis, which would cause them to become sterile as well as damage the male ego, too. Animals also save lives by being organ donors as well. “Animals as organ donors is necessary because there are not enough human donors to meet the demand of organs” (Paris, 1997, p.175). Anyone who has ever had a polio vaccination can’t only thank the scientists who engineered the vaccination; they also have to thank the monkeys as well because the vaccination is made with monkey kidney cells. Animals are and will always be a key element is saving human lives, whether from actual implantation of animal organs of just certain cells from the animal. In 1985, Baby Fae was given a heart from a baboon because she was born with an underdeveloped heart. Baby Fae lived twenty days, that’s twenty days she wouldn’t have lived (p. 177). Baby Fae is not the only human to have actual animal parts in their body, Jeff Getty also did. In December 1995 Getty, one of many suffering from HIV for 15 years decided to have a baboon bone marrow transplant. The experiment was a success and two years later Getty was feeling better than he did in years and did not develop any baboon viruses (p. 178).
“There is not a person in the United States who has not somehow benefited from
the results of research involving animals. In the early 1900s, Dr. Simon Brimhall became the first laboratory animal veterinarian. At the time Dr. Brimhall began his work, the average lifespan of adults in the United States was just over 47 years. In the years since, that lifespan has increased almost 60% to 75 years. Almost every advance in medical science that has enabled this longer lifespan has been based on animal research (Botting, 1997, p.82).
Animals don’t just benefit one person here and another person there; sometimes results produced from animal experimentation can lead to thousands of saved lives. “Open-heart surgery— which saves lives of an estimated 440,000 people every year in the U.S. alone— is now routine, thanks to 20 years of animal research by scientists such as John Gibbon of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia” (p. 82). Animal experimentation has also lead to replacement heart valves and improved treatments for kidney failure. Along that same line anyone who has dialysis is given heparin, which is extracted from animal tissue to help treat patients suffering from it (pp. 82-83). Animals don’t just save A life; they save millions of lives.

“Experiments using animals have played a crucial role in the development of modern medical treatments, and they will continue to be necessary as researchers seek to alleviate existing ailments and respond to the emergence of new disease” (p. 78). Besides, animals being ethically treated while saving human lives comes the most important reason of them all, the chance for a better future, because animals are vital to future and present medical studies. Scientists need animals to study, produce and analyze anything and everything like, for example “putting human embryonic stem cells in blastocysts” (Boyce, 2003, pp. 58-59).
“Scientists have established causes of and vaccines for dozens of infectious diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, whooping cough, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, and rubella. The investigation of these ailments indisputably relied heavily on animal experimentation: in most cases, researchers identified candidate microorganisms and then administered the microbes to animals to see if they contracted the illness in question” (Botting, 1997, p.80).
In addition to mumps and measles, scientists have also found a vaccination for Hemophilus infulenzae B (Hib), a major factor in meningitis. This disease caused severe brain damage in more than 800 children each year in the U.S. before this vaccination was formulated. The first vaccination scientists released was mediocre but after testing a new vaccination on rabbits and mice, a new and powerful vaccination was discovered. This newfound vaccination led to a 70 percent decrease for people who fell ill with Hib (pp. 80-81). Meanwhile scientists are using animals for research diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, AIDS, and Crohn’s (American Physiological Society, n.d., p. 139). The reason animals are so vital to medical research is because, since it would be absurd to use humans for research animals are the next best things. The reason animals are the next best thing is because they are alike to humans in many aspects; mice have an immune system like ours, while dogs have a cardiovascular system like us, and the reproductive system of guinea pigs also functions the same as humans. As wells as animals having similar systems as use they also have shorter life spans, we can easily control variables, such as eating, and scientists can also alter genes; making animals extremely important to research. Animals have helped scientists understand obesity and diabetes; they used genetically engineered mice to comprehend how liver damage arises in humans who have type 2 diabetes (p. 135). Not only have animals allowed us to understand diabetes better they have also allowed us to understand epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. Scientists at Stanford University Medical Center used rats to study variations in the brain function of rats with epilepsy compared to rats with normal, healthy brains (p. 135).
“Researchers studying the development of PD (Parkinson’s Disease) have used a mouse model to study genetic changes that occur in brain cells (neurons) during the earliest stages of disease, even before the substantial loss occurs. These types of studies could lead to early detection and treatment that would ultimately minimize the severity of symptoms associated with PD” (p. 136).
Animals also are important in the development of new drugs. Animals were used to produce drugs to help treat high cholesterol, ulcers, depression as well as tons of other illnesses too (pp. 136-137). Animals do help in medical research the benefits humans nevertheless, animals also help in research the benefits them. Animals have been used to help manufacture vaccines for them, detections/prevention of infectious diseases, food health and safety, treatments for arthritic pain, the development of artificial joints, cancer therapies, heart problems, and responses to exercise (pp. 137-138). Hence animals are vital in medical advances and prove animals are helping every day to help generate cures to some of the biggest killers in the world.

Animals should be used in testing and research today and everyday. But in this dispute the question isn’t whether they should or shouldn’t be used in experiments, it’s whether we as humans choose to view animal experimentation as something that should exist or something that shouldn’t. And even if some choose to believe animal experimentation is wrong the proven truth is those same people wouldn’t be here today without animal experimentation. The real hard truth is humans choose to believe what is perceived to be the right thing to believe, when in reality we all know in this world it’s survival of the fittest and fortunately we have the opportunity to utilize this type of tool.

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