“How can otherwise decent citizens do these things? How can they become so insensitive to what they are doing? Don Barnes, who spent sixteen years as a biomedical scientist experimenting on animals, and now heads the Washington, DC office of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, calls the state in which he used to do his work ‘conditioned ethical blindness’” (Singer and Gruen 78-80). As a former vivisector, Barnes worked with monkeys and would cut them open while they were still alive. With a primary interest of biological science, vivisectors performed experiments on living animals to advance the understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. These studies are the few of many branches of biomedical science, the combination biology and medicine which mainly focuses on the health of both animals and humans.
Animals are used as “models” for studying human biology and disease to understand basic biology, and as test subjects for the development of drugs, vaccines, antibodies and other medical treatments to improve and advance human health. As models, scientists aim to artificially produce a condition in a laboratory animal that may resemble the human equivalent of a medical disease or injury. Scientists may have good intentions but many do not realize that they are committing a great inhumanity as they continue to exploit animals for the “greater good”. Tom Regan came up with a similar conclusion:I ask myself the same kinds of question. “Would these changes make a difference in my thinking? Would I say, ‘Well, since the cat lived in a larger cage, was treated gently, and died peacefully, I no longer object to what happened to her’?” My answer is always the same.
I would still object to what happened to her…even if she had lived in a larger cage and was killed without undue suffering. I would still want to shout (or at least plead), ‘Stop it! What are you doing! Stop it!’ (2-3). You wouldn’t let a human being get away with murder because killing is a universal wrong. If the victim was treated gently and died peacefully with an injection, would you allow the murder? No, it’s still murder no matter how you go about it. Similarly, this applies to animal testing as well. Since biology is defined as the study of life, it should foster a commendable degree of respect and compassion for animals.
Yet these experiments promote neither. The use of animals in medical advancement for humankind has raised questions upon ethical concerns as they are subjected to painful procedures or exposed to toxins. It is unethical, unreliable and unnecessary. Since the inception of biomedical science, their life has been degraded and treated as expendable. Over 13 million animals are still being used in a wide variety of research projects every year in the United States (Baird and Rosenbaum 34-36). The majority of animals in laboratories are specifically bred to be used in experiments, treated like something to be used as if they were manufactured to live out what they were “made” for.
These purpose-bred animal are mainly bought from people known as class A dealers. Another way they obtain is by purchasing dogs and cats from brokers known as class B dealers, as they acquire the animals at auctions, from newspaper ads stating “free to a good home”, or from a variety of other sources including purchasing animals from pounds or shelters for their research. Every day, many animals, including cats, monkeys, rabbits and dogs are forced to suffer and undergo painful experimentation. According to Baird and Rosenbaum, a rabbit’s sensory system may be studied in basic research; she may be used as a model for eye and skin disorders, or used in eye and skin irritancy tests for environmental toxicity testing (86-87).
Cosmetics like toothpaste and mascara are typically tested on rabbits and guinea pigs. In the manufacturing of an anti-wrinkle treatment, a test known as Lethal Dose 50 Percent involves injecting toxin into scores of mice in order to determine the dose that will kill 50 percent of the batch. Over the course of the three to four day procedure, the mice experience nausea and muscle paralysis, leading to severe distress as they slowly suffocate to death. When animals do not die as a result of an experiment, many of the animals used are euthanized during or after the experiment. While animals cannot have a right of free speech like humans, They have a “right to be free of exploitation and a right to life” (Regan 11). Furthermore, animal experimentation is not an accurate way to find cures for human illnesses.
“Nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies” (Leavitt 55). Human anatomy and physiology differ from that of an animal. Generally speaking, people have longer life spans compared to other species and as such, diseases developed in people differ in significant ways from the imposed artificial symptoms of animals. Using animal models will never be able to accurately repeat similar results in humans and doing so may be misleading as a viable medical treatment.
The purpose of medical research is to promote human health, but a cure for cancer in mice does not mean it will cure cancer for humans. Such a case is with morphine, it causes cats to enter an extremely hyper state whereas it has an opposite calming effect in human patients. Another example is that penicillin, when injected into guinea pigs, is toxic but it is an invaluable tool in human medicine. “Patients and physicians should remain cautious about extrapolating the findings of prominent animal research to the care of human disease” (Hackam and Redelmeier 46). The FDA has reported that “adverse events associated with drugs are the single leading contributor to preventable patient injury, and may cost the lives of up to 100,000 Americans, account for more than 3 million hospital admissions, and increase the nation’s hospitalization bill by up to $17 billion each year. ” This should be enough of a reason to prompt the FDA to remove those products from the market to prevent further damage to the general public.
There are better alternatives to the use of animal testing that can save animals from unnecessary suffering, cutting research costs while also providing more reliable data. “Using replacement alternative methods, especially incorporating human cells and tissues, avoids such confounding variables. A specific example of a basic research alternative method, and one that potentially has saved up to one million animals, is the in vitro production of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), which are used in nearly every field of biomedical research and critical areas of clinical practice. The widely-used ascites method of producing MAbs, involves injecting cells into rodent abdominal cavities and is extremely painful and unnecessary” (Leavitt 76-78).
Other alternatives include the I-MAb Gas Permeable Tissue Culture Bags that are used to produce monoclonal antibodies for research diagnostic and clinical purposes. This could replace up to one million mice a year. Organotypic cultures of human brain slices are used to study neurobiochemistry, neurophysiology, and drug efficacy developed by the ARDF. Using of normal human cell and tissue to identify disease processes and treatments and to study drug penetration and characteristics of the blood-brain barrier. The use of mathematical models and computer simulations in physiology, cardiovascular, pharmacology, and neurosciences. Short, direct non-invasive magnetic pulses allow precise stimulation of brain cells/regions in human volunteers for neurosciences.
National Library of Medicine Visible Human Project utilized actual human cadaver cross-sections, CAT scans, and computer programs to develop new surgical techniques and research perspective. Animals are frequently used in biological and medical research, in the testing of drugs and commercial products, and in educational exercises in the sciences. While the number of animals used in the United States is not known, estimates range into several tens of millions annually. The good news is that an increasing number of companies are turning to humane alternatives so it’s never been easier to find cruelty-free products.
Many of them To helpWorks CitedRegan, Tom. Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights. Lanham, Md: Rowman ; Littlefield, 2004. PrintFranklin, Julian H.
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