Animal Testing

.. rted to research facilities, and they suffered from cramping and over heating. The lack of adequate ventilation and extremes in temperature caused death to over 55 percent of the guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits on their way to the research laboratory. This is not an isolated case, every year in Britain alone millions of animals suffer and die in laboratory experiments. They are burnt, scalded, poisoned and starved, given electric shocks and addicted to drugs, they are subjected to near freezing temperatures, reared in total darkness from birth and deliberately inflicted with disease like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, oral infections, stomach ulcers, syphilis, herpes and AIDS, (Sharpe, 13) they also have there eyes surgically removed, their brains damaged and the bones broken.

In military research in the United States animals are gassed poisoned with cyanide, shot with plastic bullets and deliberately wounded with high velocity missiles. It is treatment like this that makes the question of weather animal research should be continued come about. Every day in North America animals are poisoned blinded and burned in consumer product tests. Products ranging from mascara, shampoo and nail polish to oven cleaner, ink and children’s toys are tested on animals. When animals are used to further medical research it can be somewhat justified, but when animals are used to test cosmetics it is considered cruelty to animals. In many cases animals have been made to consume huge amounts of cosmetics, particularly lipsticks and waxes.

In one experiment rats were forced fed up to twenty-five g/kg of several lipstick formulations, the humans equivalent to four pounds. For research such as this there is always alternatives. Especially is the research is being done for purely superficially reasons. The best alternative to substitution of animal research today is computer program. In the past few years scientist have been able to further computer programs to the point in which they can almost mimic the human body and its complicated functions.

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When using laboratory animals there is always the issue that their body structure is not close enough to the human body to be used to predict the outcome of medicine on the human body. In most cases this is not a valid concern but in a select few cases it has been frighteningly true. Historys most infamous drug disaster left 10,000 crippled and deformed. The culprit was thalidomide, marketed initially as a sedative by German scientists. Its clinical acceptance was based on an apparent lack of toxicity testing. Animals involved in testing could tolerate massive doses in routine tests without ill effects, but when the drug was introduced to the public it caused a reaction with the nervous system of small children, harming them for life. Although there is a great amount of controversy behind animal research and it has been brought up time and time again that animal experimentation should be abolished, the is the undeniable fact that without it there would be so much that the medical field would be lacking. It is hard to say where we would be if we never had introduced animals into medicine.

One thing is for sure, we would have lost millions of people to diseases that are now curable. Without animal research Polio would have killed thousands of unvaccinated children in this year alone, there would be no insulin, no control on high blood pressure, no chemotherapy, and no anesthesia resulting in painful medical procedures. Measles is another childhood infection preventable by vaccination, by introducing a vaccination in 1968, the numbers of children infected dropped drastically. Also deaths from heart disease has fallen twenty four percent in men and fifty one percent in women, a tremendous improvement. (Sharpe, 45) Other benefits to humans include bone marrow transplantation, cyclosporin and other anti-rejection drugs.

One of the largest fields in which animals are used for experimentation is in cancer research. In 1918 Japanese scientists produced cancer on a rabbits ear by painting it with tar, and a new ear in cancer research began. (Sherry, 75) The research that followed was used to fight, understand and try to control the conditions of tumors that cause cancer, and to also learn how and why they grow and spread. The development of chemotherapy was tested on rodents, monkeys and rabbits in 1950. Forty years later, in 1990, scientists began closing in on the genetic and environmental factors that lead to breast cancer, which is the leading killer of American women between the ages of 35-54, the main species used in these experiments were fruitflies, mice and rats. (History of Medical Discoveries and Advances website,, 1999) Although cancer has not been cured completely the benefits that animal experimentation have brought to this field of research is without a doubt amazing. Now, thanks to epidemiology we now know that 80-90 percent of cancers are preventable.

(Sharpe, 173) In 1950 scientists used rats and mice to discovery DNA, which is what determines individual hereditary characteristic. Also in this same time scientists experimented on rats, rabbits and monkeys to develop tranquilizers. We now use tranquilizers to reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and tension. In 1970, by using monkeys and armadillos treatment foe leprosy was developed, as well as measle prevention. Not only do humans benefit from the research done on animals but also so do the animals themselves.

Many of the drugs and procedures that have been of importance for humans are of equal effectiveness in animals. The attempt to produce vaccines against animals disease began almost as early as that of humans. Over half of the veterinary medicine used today originated from medicine used on humans, such as the vaccine formed for feline leukemia. Animal organ transplantation has also been furthered by human experimentation on animals. There is so much that is entailed when using animals in research everyone must be pleased.

As with ever issue in the United States today not everyone can ever be pleased, and that is also the truth with animal experimentation. Without it people would be sick and dying, but with it animals are dying to save our lives. The only way that it could be completely cut out of the medical industry is if humans began to voluntarily donate their bodies for experiments, the chances of that happening are slim to none. So the options need to be addressed, should people die from diseases and faulty medicines or should animals die to save our lives? It is hard to say weather this issue will ever be solved. It can be said though, that all people have benefited from animal experimentation at one point in their life or another.

Weather that instance is in a surgical procedure, of the safety that is promised when we use a shampoo. Either way everyone has had a safer and more healthily life thanks to the animals that have sacrificed their lives for ours.