Every person who has received a vaccination, blood transfusion, dialysis, an organ transplant, or chemotherapy has benefitted from animal testing. Citizens in the United States and all around the world rely on all of these medical advances to save their lives. Contrary to what some believe, animal testing in the United States is not used to be cruel or inhuman, but to help people all around the world with painful and uncurable illinesses. An animal rights group called “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” or PETA for short, advocate that scientists do not have to use animals to advance medical research. However, animals are the most accurate model of how the human body works without using actual humas. With animal testing, the reachers are able to see what will harm the human body and what cures/vaccines are sustainable. Although results are not always positive when testing, it helps give a better understanding of the obstacles ahead. There are advantages and disadvantages to all circumstances in life. In the use of animal research, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Some say research on animals creastes a atmoshpere where the value of animal life is lessened; however, the research increases the quaility of human life.
Drugs used to combat cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's, and hepatitis would not have been possible without the research of animals. Many of diseases, ranging from cancer to epilepsy, affect both animals and humans. A particular significant animal study was using several laboratory mice in the development of organ transplants. Researchers started to test how organ transplants worked and did not work. They studied two different mice with different immune systems when discovering that the organ that was transplanted had been rejected. In order to have a successful transplant it is vital to have the same blood type along with other important genetic matchings. This is called an immunological reactions which is a bodily defense reaction that recognizes an invading substance in a host. Not only do animals reject non matching genetic organ donors, but humans do as well. This was a huge discovery and affected many lives. Once discovering this, scientists wanted to take it to the next step and begin tissue typing techniques. Tissue typing can determine the best donor put into place for the organ transplant. While all this was happening, researchers were also testing animals that led to drugs that can decrease the immune reaction to a transplanted organ. This boosted the transplant survival rate tremendously and secured many people's lives who are in need of a transplant. Kidneys, lungs, heart, liver, bone marrow, and other organs and tissues are still being used and preserved. (“How Animal Testing”). Another example is the creation of Crestor, a drug that helps control high cholesterol which was discovered through experiments on mice, rabbits, and other animals for the greater good of humans and pets. Successess such as these have aided in the establishment of a law in the United States stating a drug is not allowed to be released into society without first being tested on animals to ensure safety. Once done so, a small group of people will volunteer to see how they react to the medicine. If the experiment goes well with no complications, it will then be released into a larger group of people. With doing so this ensures the safety of human lives while simultaneously allowing medical advancements to be made.
Pet owners should reconsider protesting animal research and support it instead. Owners of pets know frequent vet visits are usually required for their furry friends and much of the time the visits are vital for survival. Many pets, like humans, are faced with diseases such as cancer and they require routine check ups for yearly shots. Pet owners can be at ease knowing that their pet is going to get the appropriate treatment required at each visit due to Veterinarians being educated thoroughly from evidenced based medicine done through animal research. Stress off of caregivers would not be able to happen without the availability of these four-legged creatures being tested on. Animals offer a very distinctive way to be able to test properly versus human research. The environment is much more easily controlled using animals. A researcher can feed two animals the exact same thing and have very closely monitored diet, unlike if you had two humans who had two different genetic upmakes. In fact, inbred mice are genetically identical, researchers are able to compare different test on identical animals. Using an animal that shares similar genetic makeup is much safer than risking a human life. The Predicting Toxicity of Chemicals: Software Beats Animal Testing journal states “Some animal tests are carried out on two species, allowing interspecies variability to be addressed. We showed this earlier for skin sensitisation, for which guinea pigs and mice are commonly used. While both assays were about 90% reproducible.” This could not be shown if you were using humans or a computer model in place. Many have the perception that animals can be replaced with computer models and cell structures. Although this is true to some extent, a computer cannot duplicate a new system of cells because it does not exist. Also, it would be difficult for a computer model to take into account any genetic mutations that can commonly occur in natural animals, producing unrealistic data.
Animal rights activists believe that computers should still be put in place of animals although they are not as accurate because animals are getting mistreated during experimentation. PETA states, “Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside barren cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, suffer from extreme frustration, and ache with loneliness...” However, this is in fact, not true. PETA has big political ties to pharma which makes them very bias and an unreliable source. Animals that undergo stress and low immune systems cause for inaccurate research data. Scientists try to keep their animals in the most stable and healthy environments possible. Each researcher values the life of their animal highly. The sucess of each experiment can determine the livelyhood of the scientists who perform them, resulting in the ultimate care for each animal. Animal testing has resulted in many remarkable life saving treatments for animals as well. Recherche Animale explains “Painful tests must be done under anaesthesia…” When scientists experiment on animals they do not want to cause pain but to gain knowledge. With recent research advances it is shown that humans share many biological and physiological characteristics with animals. Lab animal advances from biomedical research help further veterinary and human medicines. In both humans and animals, antibiotics are made so each can fight infections; whether the severity ranges from a cold all the way to a urinary tract infection.
An alternative to gathering data for medical research animal and computer generated models would be human research. In the past human research was done on several populations. Many of the studies ended with repercussions to the scientists who performed them for the harsh circumstances the participants endured. A very popular instance was during World War II. Josef Mengele also known as the Angel of death was a Nazi doctor who performed experiments on Jewish twin children. The idea was to have two people with identical genes to more accurately compare data in the same way current scientists use inbred mice. Erin Blakemore siad “Eva and Miriam had just become subjects of a massive, inhumane medical experimentation program at Auschwitz-Birkenau—a program aimed solely at thousands of twins, many of them children.” The twins that were selected to be a part of the study were treated very cruel. They were ripped from their own families, kept in concentration camps, and malnourished. Mengele did not treat the humans in an ethical manner. “Mengele usually used one twin as a control and subjected the other to everything from blood transfusions to forced insemination, injections with diseases, amputations, and murder.” When the experiments would turn fatal to one of the twins he would murder the other twin and diseccet their bodies to search for differences. The extent he was willing to go for research portrays the significance of having identical subjects. Although this case seems like an extreme situation there are many other human studies throughout history that tend to have a disregard for human life, leading to unethical situations such as the Tuskegee Syphillis Study. In this particular study several men were diagnosed with syphillis, but were never told in order for the progression of the diesase to be studied resulting in the death of all of the men. The exact study could have been performed on animals in a lab.
Through research with animals, scientists can develop treatments and therapies as well. Arthur Ashley Yeager, published Animals Start New Lives After Time in Lab, when she explains “Louie’s move from the lab to the home life is an example of a long-standing tradition of adoption among scientists and vets, who often try to rehome research animals once the lab work is done.” The earliest recorded record was in 1983 when animal adoption first started taking place. Adoption of the experimented cases range from livestock all the way to mice. Many still have skepticism that this is still not doing enough for the animals being experimented on. However, researchers go through great lengths of trouble to make the adoptions successful. Protestors of animal research often hold a hand in causing the adoption process to be more complex and difficult (“Animals Start New Lives”).
The only options for medical research are to perform experiments on animals, humans, or no research at all. It is unethical to do research on humans, because of the controlled environment required for the experiments to be accurate and the risk for mortality. It would be much like the experiments performed during World War II. The third option of no research at all would leave the entire world suffering from many diseases that could have been prevented or treated. The life expectancy of humans would never have increased. Some would say it is also unethical to not treat humans. Although, animal research is unfortunate, sadly it is the only ethical option to acquire accurate data for medicine. Computer generated studies is a great option, but our technology is currently not advanced to properly take into account all of the natural factors of replication, diseases, and daily risk factors that humans and animals encounter daily. As of now animal research has made many advances in determining human physiology, disease processes, and disease treatment. Although, scientists have made many advances there is still so much more to learn. Animal research can help make these advances possible in the future, all the while being provided suitable environments to live.