In our modern society, many experiments are being conducted in laboratories globally and it’s sad to know that animals are used by scientists in their research. Many cats, dogs, mice, and other animals are locked up in cages and are subjected to so much pain and loneliness since they want to be set free but all they can do is wait to be hurt yet they are so helpless.
The thought of one spending their lives caged for no wrong they have done is what most of the animals go through. In countries like the USA, they even allow the animals to be poisoned, drowned, brain-damaged, and even to be drugged. Hurting innocent animals is very wrong and rules and regulations should be put in place to protect them from any more harm.
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New medical treatments and cosmetic products are first tested on innocent animals to determine whether they are safe for use by humans. Animals have been used in these tests from the days of ancient scientists like Aristotle; they wanted to improve the field of researching medicine though at the expense of animals like rats and monkeys to understand their effects before using them on humans. Animal testing gives scientists a chance to test and come up with new drugs since some animals like rabbits and monkeys tend to have almost similar physical features to man. If a drug produces an undesired result, it’s considered harmful to human health.
Hippocrates had initially argued that “the soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.” In recent times, some have argued against him and they believe that animals are not entitled to any rights and they lack the ability to make decisions hence it is necessary for the tests to be conducted on them. They argue that as a result, scientists have successfully found a cure for malaria which initially was a killer disease.
It would be ethically wrong not to perform an experiment in which failure to conduct it would cause more harm than good. Three factors are considered which are the number of people who would have benefited from the experiment and the harm caused by the experiment would be as a result of several animals who would suffer in an experiment, the negative effects it would cause on an animal. However, these are not simple to manage since the harm caused in an experiment is already known but the advantages are unknown.
The use of animals for research is cheap since animals are adequate in supply; they are easily bred and kept safely in the labs. The cost would be very high if we were using human beings.
Most people are against animal testing and say it’s cruel which is mostly true in most cases. However, it’s not as cruel as testing the drugs on children or people or seeing people lose lives due to a lack of adequate information about a drug. In most countries, there have been rules and regulations put into place on how the animals should be treated when in those laboratories to reduce the levels of cruelty.
The diseases that were induced naturally on the experimental subjects are never similar to those that naturally occur in humans and since animals are different in their biological composition, it brings uncertainty whether actually the results will be positively transferred to humans in a useful way.
Ironically, the funds for such animal experiments come from the general public yet some of them are very innocent of it. The funds come from projects such as the sale of lottery tickets, donations, and the taxes they pay to the government. Most of the funds for the research are collected from the NIH which had an estimated figure of $30 billion for research and development but on nonhuman animals. The general public does not have full details regarding the animal experiments they are funding unknowingly from the taxes they pay to their governments.
According to an article as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the research team had discovered that the kind of treatment they had initially performed successfully in animals was not always successful in humans and as a result, they had advised them to be careful about conducting their finding from experimental animals to humans.
Humane Society of the USA promotes methods of research that will make the animals suffer less such as methods of reducing and replacing the animals. Based on an opinion poll taken on September 23, 2001, it was evident that most people would agree to the animal testing if only they experienced little or no pain and the majority of them would disagree if the animals experienced severe pain.
Again, people who are against their use in laboratories argue that some of the information from animals does not really apply to humans and they justify themselves by pointing to a drug that has been withdrawn from the market due to adverse side effects in humans. It’s true to say that animal and human bodies have some differences but again there are a few similarities that can be helpful. Some campaigners claim that no more tests are needed since we already have enough information at hand but we are faced with new infections annually that make us test for new medicines to heal the plagues.
There are THE three Rs (some set principles) scientists should follow to reduce the effect of the research on the animal. They are Reduction, Refinement, and eventually Replacement.
Reduction in making the number of animals lesser through sharing the findings they have discovered with other researchers, improving their methods of analyzing data, and trying to improve the techniques of experimentation. Refinement to ensure animals suffer lesser through providing them with improved and lenient medical care services, improving their living conditions, and eventually using techniques that are not intense. Ensuring replacement by using humans who volunteer for the study, instead of experimenting with the whole animal they should try and experiment on the cell structures, and finally, the scientists should use epidemiological studies.
As a result of experiments conducted on animals, there are those animals who also end benefitting from the new development of their veterinary drugs although most of the experiments are as a result of benefitting humans.
Animal testing is required in the modern world we are in and we are obliged with the duty to take care of the animals and strike the balance between their sufferings with the good that comes from them.
In ancient times, researchers conducted laboratory tests on animals to be more knowledgeable about how the bodies of humans functioned. They were curious to know how a disease develops in the body, to know why the body could not function normally, and to come up with improved methods of treatment. They also believed that due to the high similarities between humans and other animals, they could use the findings from animals on humans.
Society became very angry with researchers who particularly conducted tests on the primates. They threatened them and their families making them seek protection by hiring personal bodyguards. There was a researcher who was nearly murdered when a bomb was hidden in his car but was lucky he never used his vehicle.
In the present times, some rules and regulations have been set up to protect the animals against suffering when in the laboratories, unlike in the past. Measures have been put in place to minimize their suffering. This was achieved by the introduction of the Animal welfare concept that ensured the study of an animal on all aspects. It ensures that humans are responsible for an animal and agree that the use of an animal is acceptable provided the purpose of the research is following the three Rs.
Finally, there are emergency groups that protect animals known as antivivisection that seek to give maximum protection to animals against harsh treatment from humans.
- Greek Medicine - The Use of Animals in Medical Research:
- Alternatives to Animal Testing: A Review
- U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal Welfare Act:
- American Medical Association - Use of Animals in Biomedical Research:
- Humane Society International - Animals in Research:
- PETA - Animal Testing Is Bad Science:
- National Anti-Vivisection Society - Alternatives to Animal Testing:
- Understanding Animal Research - Why are Animals Used in Research?
- The Humane Society of the United States - Alternatives to Animal Testing:
- National Institutes of Health - Animals in Research: