Animal research has been the subject of a heated debate for the past 20 years regarding the ethics of conducting experiments on animals for medical and scientific research. Regardless of whether it is ethical or not, most people agree that a cost-benefit analysis should be performed to determine the appropriateness of the action.
The costs include animal pain, distress, and death, while the benefits include the collection of new knowledge or the development of new medical therapies for humans. There is a large gap for argument between the different scientists’ views when looking into these different aspects of experimentation. In the next few paragraphs, both sides of the argument will be expressed by supporters. A well-known scientist named Neal D. Barnard said, The use of animals for research and testing is only one of many investigative techniques available.”
We believe that animal experiments are poorly suited to addressing urgent health problems such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, AIDS, and birth defects. Animal experiments can mislead researchers and even contribute to illnesses or deaths by failing to predict toxic effects of drugs. The majority of animals in laboratories are used for genetic manipulation, surgical intervention, or injection of foreign substances. Researchers produce solutions from these animal models” and adapt them to human conditions. Unfortunately, these animal “models” can’t always be connected with the human body, creating problems.
Many times, researchers induce strokes on animals to test certain methods for curing. The downfall of this procedure is that a healthy animal that experiences a sudden stroke does not undergo the slowly progressive arterial damage that usually plays a crucial role in human strokes. In another illustration of the inaccuracy of animal research, scientists in the 1960s deduced from many animal experiments that inhaled tobacco smoke did not cause lung cancer. For many years afterward, the tobacco industry was able to use these studies to delay government warnings and to discourage physicians from intervening in their patients’ smoking habits. We all know now that this is totally untrue and that smoking is a large contributor to cancer.
It turns out that cancer research is especially sensitive to differences in physiology between humans and other animals. Many animals, particularly rats and mice, synthesize approximately 100 times the recommended daily allowance for humans of vitamin C, which is believed to help the body ward off cancer. The stress of handling, confinement, and isolation alters the animal’s mental stability and introduces yet another experimental variable that makes any results from testing even less valuable to human health. In many cases, drugs and other substances are given to the test animals, but studies have shown considerable differences in the effects of these drugs on different species. David Salsburg of Pfizer Central Research has noted that of 19 chemicals known to cause cancer in humans when ingested, only seven caused cancer in mice and rats using the standards set by the National Cancer Institute. This justifies that many substances that appeared safe in animal studies and received approval from the U.
The drug milrinone, which raises cardiac output and increased survival of rats with artificially induced heart failure, was later found to be dangerous to humans. Humans with severe chronic heart failure taking this drug had a 30 percent increase in fatalities. Additionally, the antiviral drug fialuridine caused liver failure in seven of 15 humans taking the drug, resulting in five deaths and two liver transplants. Some scientists and members of the public who do not agree with animal experimentation advocate for alternative methods, such as epidemiological studies, clinical intervention trials, astute clinical observation aided by laboratory testing, human tissue and cell cultures, autopsy studies, endoscopic examination, biopsy, and new imaging methods.
In the last decade, scientists have learned to respect animals for their own observations and communication abilities. On the other hand, many scientists…