Animal Testing: the Facts Essay

Why should animals not have the same rights that humans do? Maybe because they cannot talk, read books, or drive cars, but neither can some humans for that matter. So why is it that when an experiment, which was conducted to help treat type 2 diabetes, killed 203 people, it was halted immediately, although millions of animals die each year due to scientific experimentation? The answer is that many believe that animals are worthless or are not worth as much as human beings are, so they are therefore dispensable. The problem with that is animals are living things just like humans.

Therefore, like human beings, they understand fear and experience pain. They also feel excitement and happiness. So why should they be denied the same basic rights that humans have? The answer to that question is that they should not be. Animals deserve the same rights that humans have, so testing that jeopardizes animal life, and safety should come to a cease immediately in the same way that it would if the same testing were to be conducted on human beings. Why is it that people think it is okay to conduct scientific experiments on animals?

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The most common response to this question is that human beings are intellectually superior to the other species of animals roaming the planet, but this reason alone is not enough to justify the act of animal experimentation. If that is the only reason that can be produced, then here is another question. “What about infants and mentally disabled people”, who are on the same, if not a lower, intellectual level as the animals that are experimented on, so how come people only perform scientific experiments on the animals? This is probably because it is considered unethical or immoral to scientifically experiment on a human being.

So why is it ok to experiment on the animals? Maybe, because they cannot talk or defend themselves, so there is no way of asking for their consent. Where as if you wanted to test on a human, you would need that person’s legal consent or you would be subject to punishment by law. Then why not get people to speak on the animals behalves? Well some people do, these groups include PETA, The ASPCA, The Blue Cross, and The Born Free Foundation, just to name a few. These organizations stand up for the animals and understand that just because they cannot talk does not mean that the animals do suffer from immense pain.

The problem is that when these organizations step up and try to defend the animals, they are regarded as terrorist and people just trying to make life difficult for others. Therefore, if the animals cannot defend themselves, and the people trying to defend them are being attacked by society. What else can be done to stop animal experimentation? That is the topic of much heated debate today. There have been attempts to discontinue the abuse of vivisection, also known as biomedical research. In 1966 the Animal Welfare Act was signed.

This document’s original intent stated that laboratories would have to be supervised to insure that the animals that were being experimented on had the proper care and were used correctly, as ironic as that may sound. The Animal Welfare Act has been the only Federal law to help protect most species treatment in laboratories. Rats, mice, and birds are not included in this protection for the simple fact that they are less valuable and can be disposed of without much remorse of society, because they are believed to have no purpose here and to some are considered a nuisance.

This law is not as useful as it may seem, because it only states the minimum requirements that a laboratory has to follow. One of the laws included in the document is that dos are required to be exercised. This is comparable to death row where inmates have the luxury of eating whatever they please and then the take the long walk to face the cosiquence for doing there crime. The only difference is that these dogs have done nothing wrong and may face death, perhaps torture for no obtainable reason.

This document still allows scientist, with the approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), can have the right to with-hold food from the animals to observe their behavior. The AWA places restriction that have to be followed before they are tested on, but there are no restrictions that have to do with the correct procedure during the experiment. Animals can be exposed to things such as; being addicted to drugs, being electrocuted, isolation, deadly chemicals, burning, blinding, and radiation.

The scientist performing the procedure only has to state that one of these gruesome activates are necessary for the operation, and then he or she is granted permission. One of the most effective arguments against the need for animal research is that a rabbit or other animal may not have a reaction to a chemical that a human could possible die from. This is because of our severe deference in DNA, which has caused many experiments to be ineffective and therefore meaningless. Examples of this inevitable issue are things like; Parsley, which is considered a deadly plant for parrots, but humans use it to garnish our food, cats can be oisoned by lemon juice, and animals like dogs and cats do not need to make vitamin C for their bodies to function. An effect of the distinct difference in DNA is that Animal-to-human transplants are ineffective. Through the advances of technology scientist have attempted to replace human’s damaged organs with animal organs. This is also known as xenotransplantation. These expensive procedures are unpredictable and likely to lead to death. There are three major issues that make xenotransplantation unreasonable and unnecessary.

The first issue is that this procedure has proved to be one-hundred percent ineffective. Studies show that there have been a reported fifty-five organ transplants coming from the non-human species. All of which have resulted to torment and fatality to patients and donor animals. This is just unproven and dangerous. The second issue is that it is extremely expensive. It has proven to be hazardous and cost more that human-to-human transplants (In 1995 it cost $250,000 per operation). Why should someone even spend so much money on a guaranteed failure?

The last but very serious is that xenotransplantation has the chance of ablating animal viruses to “jump the species barrier” and ultimately kill humans. A similian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that has been suspected to of been passed from animals to humans is HIV. The virus’s origin was in Central Africa, but couldn’t be contained and spread across the world. If these kinds of procedures continue the world may see an irreversible epidemic. If HIV/AIDS has had the power to kill of millions of people imagine what could happen if there was another virus like it.

To try to minimize the error of accuracy mentioned in the previous paragraph some scientist resort to using species that have closer DNA to humans. A prime example is primates. An ape’s DNA and a human’s DNA only have a 1. 6% difference. This should be the complete reason why primates should not be tested. We would not test on our cousins, so why test on our “cousins” in the animal world. Gorillas have been known to learn extraordinary things. For Example, there is a gorilla named Koko who has been taught American Sign Language. This is something that even some humans haven’t mastered.

It is not that she has merely memorized over 1000 signs, but she understands what she is saying and what others are saying. She was even able to “tell” her caretakers at the California Ape Preserve that she had a toothache. She was also able to tell the workers that her greatest desire was to have a baby. This proves that primates, may provide more accurate results, but are far too similar to humans to be put through such procedures that would be considered torture. An experiment was tested on sixty-four monkey were they were injected with drugs so they could get addicted to it.

The scientists then abruptly discontinued the drugs to see the monkey’s reactions. Some of the monkey observed died and were seen pulling out their hair and biting their own toes and fingers off before dying. There are also alternatives that do not involve animals and would be more accurate that vivisection. Following is a list of alternatives to much, if not all, vivisection: * Cell, tissue, and organ cultures * Clinical observation * Human volunteers (sick and well) * Autopsies * Material from natural deaths * Noninvasive imaging in clinical settings * Post-market surveillance Statistical inference * Computer models * Substitution with plants. One of the first major movements to pursue this idea was the John Hopkins University Center for Development of Alternatives to Animal Testing was made in 1981. This was to further research on inventing new testing products that used fewer animals or none at all. There have been proposals that are alternatives known as the (3Rs) these include: Replacement, Reduction, and refinement. If animals aren’t used at all and, or human cells are used instead this is called absolute replacement.

If animal’s cells are used but not the whole body, this is known as relative replacement. Relative replacement is not the most effective thing, because they still have to kill the animals to obtain the cells, but it is done in a more acceptable manner. An example of an alternative is the Draize rabbit eye test, which was originally tested on rabbits, can now be conducted on donated human corneas. This too would provide more accurate results. TOPKAT was produced by the Health Design, Inc in Rochester, New York. TOPKAT is a computer program that simulates chemical testing based on the chemical’s structure.

It can measure toxicity, mutagen city (the potential to cause genetic mutations), carcinogenicity (the potential to cause cancer), and teratonogenicity (the potential to cause developmental malformations. TOPCAT is used by the U. S Army, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were created to try to tame the evils of animal cruelty There are many celebrities who spoke out against this issue. George Bernard Shaw said, “Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research”.

Mahatma Gandhi, was a statesman and philosopher, said, “Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at present committing against God and his fair creation”. Leo Tolstoy who is an author said, “What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit for their cruelty”. World-renowned author Mark Twain also said, “I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t…

The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further”. Scientists have been trying to find a way to clone meats and the only way to test this idea is, of course, animals. The first animal to be cloned was a sheep named dolly. She was cloned because scientist wanted to see if they could make genetically altered milk to fit a humans needs. There is talk about some unimaginable things.

Could you have a barbecue knowing that the beef, pork, and poultry could come from one transgenetic animal? Dolly died at age six, but the donor lamb was already six and a sheep’s lifespan is usually twelve years. This has lead many people to believe that her body may have been six at birth. Why denied animals a prosperous life when scientists have said that cloning will never be accurate enough to benefit humans. This leads to the question of why we still test animals by subjecting them to cigarette smoke when we already know that smoking is harmful.