The Controversial Question

May 7, 2010
By boisestate22 BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
boisestate22 BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The way animals have been treated and thought of has been ever changing from earlier times to the modern age. Animals that are used for scientific research has its pros and cons, as people’s opinions vary when that controversial question is asked if this activity shall be allowed. I believe that animals should still be allowed to be used in scientific research and development if they are treated with care and respect. One could say, “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” Animal testing is a crucial part in advancing in the medical fields. For the sake of humanity, it is necessary for these trials to continue. The types of animals used and where they come from is an issue that is important to people that support animal testing and for others who don’t support the matter, still care to be informed of the statistics. Standards for testing are becoming stricter as the topic grows into a national subject. Numerous medical breakthroughs have been discovered through using animal testing.

Many types of animals are used in the testing facilities. Rats and mice are purpose-bred as are fish and birds, meaning they are bred from the scientists to test on, according to the AAVS which is the American Anti-Vivisection Society. These purpose-bred animals make up a large number of the estimated one hundred million animals that are tested annually. Guinea pigs, hamsters and other household pets such as cats and dogs are used in research, but scientists are trying to decrease the use of these creatures. Farm animals such as pigs, cows and rabbits are also used in this research for biomedical research studies. A variety of animals are used for the millions of tests that occur each year.
Millions of animals undergo experimentation and testing each year. The number of animals used in the United States’ laboratories has gone down significantly from all-time highs in 1985 and 1992. Non-human primates used in testing have been a debatable concern in the past years. The number of primates used has been on the decline from the last twenty-one years. The number has remained steady at around fifty thousand per year for the last decade. People and scientists are now trying to lessen these numbers even more, so they don’t have to rely on the animals as much as they currently are. I notice scientists do actually care for the animals they test on and I respect their reasoning. The animals that are bred for these tests and trials must come from somewhere…
The sources of these animals for testing can come from many different places and dealers. First, there are class A dealers. The distributors of animals for scientific research deliberately breed an abundance of animals for experimentation. These animals are so called ‘manufactured’ for testing as ‘research tools’. The animals sold from these class A dealers regularly do not receive the proper attention and care that they need. Class B dealers breed the animals for research purposes. These dealers receive these animals usually by buying them from pounds or shelters for re-sale to research facilities. This type of buying and the re-selling of animals is known as a seizure. I feel that these animals are being treated as if they are nothing. These two types of dealers have similarities and differences. The two types both obtain animals and sell them to testing laboratories and scientists. Also, class B dealers sell the animals for strictly research purposes and class A dealers sell their ‘product’ for experimentation. These animals can be tested in many different ways that can be helpful.
The tests and trials on animals can be conducted in many ways. The three most common ways are broken up by the USDA. The first category is known as Category C. Category C means that the animal will not experience any pain or distress and will not be medicated with any painkillers or drugs. Category D is a test where the testee will experience pain, but will be treated with drugs. The final testing category is Category E where the animal feels pain and does not get treated with drugs. Thankfully, only seven percent of the tests are in Category E. I definitely see that the scientists use this test only when necessary and needed. People have different opinions on what goes on in the lab as the thoughts and ethics change from person to person.
The reasons and opinions vary when you ask differing people. In an article written by Carolyn C. Gargaro, she writes about two opinions from two people that view animal testing in different ways. First, she tells of Peter Singer’s views on the issue. He mentions specieism, which is practiced by Jews and Christians that base their base superiority on God’s word meaning in this case that humans have power over everything. He believes that animals should have more rights than they are given. In his book, “In Defense of Animals”, he says, “where animals and humans have similar interests – we might take the interest in avoiding physical pain as an example, for it is an interest that humans clearly share with other animals – those interests are to be countered equally, with no automatic discount just because one of the beings is not human”. This statement supports his opinion considering the issue of animal testing. M. A. Fox is an individual that supports animal research. M. A. states, “Animals may not be moral agents or persons, but they may still be moral patients, that is, beings that may be affected for better or worse by our acts and which we should therefore treat with care”. This shows that people, who support animal testing for research, do have concern when they see an animal in pain or distress. Fox believes that an experiment that benefits humans is good, but unnecessary tests are unneeded. I agree with Fox as animals should not be tested on for no particular reason. Trials for animal tests have a couple of main types that are needed for the efficiency of the product.
Trials of tests need to be repeated so that the results are accurate. Safety trials are a big part of testing new medicines before they hit the shelves for consumers. According to, animal safety tests are started after a computer program simulates the effects the medicine may have on the user when inside the person’s body. Most countries from around the world require an animal test to be done and an ‘in vitro’ test to be conducted, which is testing the result in a test tube. Lastly a third test is done with the computer program simulation. Efficiency trials are another trial used with animals and drugs. The trials are used with animals specifically to find drug or medicine’s effectiveness. When trying to find a vaccine for HIV, primates are the animals of choice by the scientists. These chimpanzees and monkeys have very effective immune systems where their body can fight the HIV after being infected, and they do not contract AIDS after years of being infected. A vaccine for HIV is hard to come by because these primates are the closest things to humans on earth. These trials performed on animals have standards that are set by government organizations, to ensure the animal’s safety.
Standards have been implemented to secure animal’s rights while being tested. CDC News reports that the USDA has made federal ordinances to make sure the care and up-bringing of the animals are suitable. The Animal Welfare Act requires the scientists to give the proper housing, feeding, cleanliness, ventilation and medical needs to the animals. This act requires also requires the scientists to use anesthesia or analgesic drugs on the animals before and after the operation if it could potentially be painful. I found that over ninety-five percent of animals used for testing are left out of this act. I believe that each organism shall be protected by the Animal Welfare Act. The government should become stricter on their laws that they set forth. The standards have allowed for important vaccines and discoveries to be developed through animal testing.
Three of the world’s most important or life-changing discoveries and vaccines have resulted from testing with animals. Even as far back as before the Civil War, animals were tested on to help create medicines to cure some of the world’s most dangerous diseases. In 1796, a vaccine for smallpox was developed. A farmed animal, a cow, was used to help make the vaccine for the disease. Another medical breakthrough occurred in 1921 when insulin was discovered. A dog and a fish were used to aid in the process of making the new discovery. People these days with diabetes could not live the same way they do if this had not been found out about. Lastly, in 1954, a polio vaccine was made through doing tests on mice and monkeys. When insulin was discovered and a polio vaccine constructed, the Nobel Prize was then awarded to the doctors and makers of these breakthroughs. Animal testing has accounted for many important advances and cures for diseases.
Animal testing is a growing national topic. The animals are being tested in different ways and standards are set in place to protect the animals from harm. Breakthroughs in diseases have been discovered through using animals to test on. The animals used for research purposes can be good and bad. Animal tests are good if they are beneficial towards the development in medical technologies or medicines. These tests should assist in the knowledge of the scientists to help create new products and medical drugs. Animals used for tests to better human growth are necessary, if new drugs and antibiotics are going to be developed to help in the advancement of biomedical research.

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