Animal Experimentation ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION Holly Anderson was a strong supporter for animal rights. When she was a little girl, she saw a cat get run over by a car. As she watched it die slowly, some young boys were poking it with a stick. She screamed, “Why don’t you leave that poor cat alone!” One boy replied, “We wanted to see if maggots will come out of its nose! Hey Jimmy!” the boy yelled at his friend, “Go get your firecrackers!” Holly started crying and ran away. From then on, she viewed all scientists who use animals to experiment on as immature little boys just trying to get a kick out of blood and guts. Not only did she not like what the scientists did to the animals, she was so close-minded about the issue, she hadn’t even considered the other side, and she refused to. Now Holly is thirty-five years old and is happily married with five children and just as many cats.
One summer day, she walked upstairs to wake up her children. She walked into the room to see them all very sick in their beds. They were all running a high fever and were having trouble breathing. She took them all to the emergency room where they were tested immediately. After a whole day’s waiting, she was called into a meeting with all the doctors. They told her that her children had contracted a deadly virus that they had never seen before and that they might not live unless the origin of this virus was found. They asked her if she had any animals and how many. She told them she had five cats.
The doctors all talked privately and finally made a decision. “I’m sorry, Ms. Anderson, but I think we’re going to need those cats to find the serum for the virus. “What are you going to do with them?” she asked. They then told her they were going to take the cats to the lab where all of them would go through a series of experiments until they found the problem. They also explained they couldn’t guarantee that any of the cats would live through the tests or that they wouldn’t feel any pain. When they told her this, she pictured in her head a bunch of scientists standing around her cats poking them with needles everywhere while the cats were restrained and struggling for breath.
She shuddered at the thought of her cats going through that, but even more at her children dying. It took her less than five minutes to decide because she realized that animal experimentation could save her children’s lives. A few days later she left the hospital with her children, who were back to their normal, healthy selves. She felt bad for her five cats that were dead, but it was a good feeling having all five of her children there at the funeral for Fluffy, Furry, Frisky, Grumpy, and Stinky. She now understood the other side.
She didn’t exactly approve of it now, but she knew that animal testing must go on for her children’s children. Holly finally realized that animal testing must go on because it benefits society. There are many reasons a person should agree with animal experimentation, but there are also a few reason why some people are against animal experimentation. A few of these reasons are that animal experimentation is cruel and inhumane, animal experimentation is under regulated, and that there are alternatives to animal experimentation. Many people claim that animal experimentation is cruel and inhumane. It is said that many labs are unsanitary and small.
Animals have been seen in cages with unbandaged wounds (Day 67). It is also said that primates are treated inhumanely and are put in small living quarters (Goo 96). They are kept alone and isolated. This is not good for their psychological well being (Wil 79). Actually, most of these claims are invalid due to the laws and regulations that have been set to make sure animals are not being treated like this.
For every lab that does any type of animal testing, there has to be a veterinary staff just to watch the animals and the scientists who work on them. Also, monkeys and apes are required to get daily, complete medical examinations (Kin 93). Primates are a lot like humans because they exhibit emotions and they suffer- like humans (Wil 79). Yet, activists say that we are different and that animals react differently than humans to testing (Fox 70). They can be considered the slaves of our generation and maybe in the future, we may look back and say “How were we so cruel?” (Day 60).
We are not being cruel if we are doing almost the same thing to primates as the natives of Africa have been doing for centuries. In Africa, primates run wild and are trapped and skinned. They are a food source but are more of a pest than anything. In Africa, they are treated just as bad, if not worst because they are used to the native’s advantage to survive, just as we would in the U.S. except on a bigger scale because more lives are at stake for the sacrifice of the primates to strengthen our knowledge of medicine and medical technology (77). According to many animal rights activists, animal experimentation is under- regulated.
They have made claims that laboratories in the U.S. use over 150 million animals in one year, however according to polls put out by a federal program, an average of only 20 million animals are used each year in the United States (Wil 49). They also say that there is very little protection for certain animals such as monkeys, cats, rabbits, and dogs (Fox 58). The protections that animals do receive are adequate because of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and the Animals Act of 1985. The Act of 1966 requires sanitation, ventilation, and housing standards including feeding, watering and the handling of all animals being used.
The Act of 1985 requires that adequate painkillers be used. It also requires extra exercise for dogs, and the living quarters and environment for all primates need to promote their “psychological well-being.” Another requirement is that scientists have to consider every alternative of the testing method to make sure that they have to use animals in the experiment (Day 29). In other words, it is required by the federal government that all studies on animals be humane, be scientifically or medically valuable, and be well designed (Kin 92). Many activists’ main concerns are the treatment of primates. They claim that primates are barely protected under any regulations. If this is true, than the veterinarians who are hired by the government to do daily checkups and complete medical examinations on primates are not doing their job. If it is true that they are not doing their job, than they would have been exposed by the committees hired to watch and write down every single step a person is doing in any part of an experiment.
The committees then take the information they have recorded and store it in a public file for anybody concerned to review (93). Also, a researcher must answer ten questions successfully to proceed in the tests. Besides the numerous veterinarians who are hired to supervise the scientists who are doing the research on the animals, there are also committees who watch them, thus, making a fail-safe system for animals’ rights (Wil 79). Also, many activists say that scientists kill the animal after an experiment just because they have nothing more to use them for. They have the idea stuck in their head that scientists are cold-blooded murderers who don’t care at all for animals. What the activists don’t know is that to validate and conclude any experiment where animals are used, they must obtain tissue samples from the animal.
In order to do this, the animal must be destroyed (Day 81). Many animal rights activists believe that there is an alternative to animal testing. It is called “nonanimal testing” and is defined as performing an experiment with no animals or as few animals as possible (Dol 36). Granted, some of these alternatives are effective. For instance, an alternative to toxicology, testing to find the potency or poison level of a certain chemical, is using cell cultures, bacteria, or fertilized chicken or frog embryos (Wil 86). Certain microorganisms react a lot alike to how animals would in the same tests.
Another alternative is using tissue samples from humans or animals. This is also effective on the toxicology testing method (Dol 39). However, no alternatives are as effective as animals. Yes, there are cell and tissue cultures or computer models, but to conclude any kind of testing, even in toxicology, one needs a living system to know the physical and mental reaction that is portrayed out. Even if an experiment is successful in non-animal testing, the results have to be validated on a living system such as an animal.
The reason a living system is necessary is because scientists need to observe the reactions not to single cells but to organs and organ systems which are much more complex than a tissue or cell culture. Even though there have been some breakthroughs for non-animal testing, they are only useful in a few types of researching (Wil 67). Animals are absolutely necessary to use for testing because of the many critical steps that can only be taken if used in a complex living system (107). Also, only ten percent of the animals used in testing are usually cats, dogs, or primates. These animals are not chosen to be tested on because they are easy to obtain all throughout America, but because they are essential for certain types of research.
For example, cats are important tools for research because they provide vital studies of vision, hearing, and brain functioning that help scientists understand these systems in humans. Dogs also are useful in the area of cardiovascular system research as well as further understanding diseases in the heart and arteries in the human. Primates are also one of the most important tools to scientists because their genetic makeup is very close to a human’s gene structure (Wil 67). Animal experimentation has many benefits to it and barely any down sides. When one is found it can easily be disproven. Four good reasons to keep animal testing that I will discuss is that animal experimentation benefits humans, animal experimentation is entirely ethical and natural, animal experimentation is humane, and animal rights activists tend to exaggerate and will stop or slow progress. Animal experimentation benefits humans in many ways.
It is safe to say that almost every modern medical therapy (fully or in part) has come about due to animal research (Day 86). In fact, many people have been saved from catastrophic illnesses because we are privileged to use animals for testing (Wil 49). In the past, many discoveries in technologies and medical breakthroughs have saved millions of lives, and still do to this day. A short list of what has been discovered by animal experimentation include organ transplants, most surgical procedures, heart drugs, cancer drugs, insulin, antibiotics, anesthetics, vaccines, and CAT Scans (Day 73). Other ailments that are now treatable and curable are appendicitis, diabetes, scarlet fever, and diphtheria (Wil 77). Diseases like smallpox and polio have been virtually wiped out because vaccines have been discovered through research on animals (52).
Due to animal research, the number of cases of polio went from 52,000 in 1952 to four in 1984 in the U.S. alone (Wil 77). In fact, Nancy Day, author of the book Animal Experimentation: Cruelty or Science? claims that “Without animal research, millions of cancer patients around the world would be subjected to unnecessary suffering and early death” (Day 82). Every day, numerous heart transplants are given to small children …