Animal Testing

Animal Testing Traditionally, animals have been used to ensure the safety of our consumer products and drugs. Yet around the world, scientists, regulators and animal protectionists work together to develop alternatives to their use. The use of animals in the life sciences dates back to ancient Greece and the earliest medical experiments. To learn about swallowing, physicians cut open into the throat of a living pig. To study the beating heart, they cut open into its chest.

For centuries physicians and researchers used animals to enhance their knowledge about how the various organs and systems of the body functioned, as well as to hone their surgical skills. As long as animals have been used in experiments, people have expressed concerns about such research. Questions about the morality, necessity, and scientific validity of animal experiments have arisen since those ancient physicians first began to study bodily functions. Alternatives are methods, which refine existing tests by minimizing animal distress, reduce the number of animals necessary for an experiment or replace whole animal use with vitro or other tests. While vivisection has received more attention and funding, clinical and epidemiological (studying the natural course of disease within human population) studies have had a much more profound impact on human health. In fact, clinical and epidemiological evidence linking smoking to lung cancer was established long before warnings of the dangers of smoking were released to the general public.

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Because animal experimentation failed to each the same conclusion, warning labels on cigarettes were delayed for years! During this time hundreds of people died from lung cancer because the results of animal experimentation were considered more valid than studies of human patients. Animal based research is the science of the past. There are a number of alternatives available to modern researchers, which are less expensive, more reliable, and ethically sound. They provide results rapidly, experimental parameters are easily controlled, and their focus on the cellular and molecular levels of the life process provides more useful information about chemicals and drugs. High Productive Volume Tests, test a minimal amount of a product on an abundant amount of animals. Two – hundred baby rats, just three weeks old are placed in wire – bottomed stainless – steel cages.

Twice daily Monday thru Friday, laboratory workers pull the small mammals from their cages, force steel clamps into their mouths to hold their jaws apart and swab their teeth with an anti – cavity dental chemical. After three weeks, the workers kill the baby rats by cutting off their teeth. The procedures are called Biological Tests for Tests Flouride Dentifrices and :Determination of Animal Carries Reduction – puzzling terms to most of us. But the meaning is deadly to animals. The officials who order this test work for the U.

S. government s FDA has made exceptions for manufacturers, including Toms of Maine, that wanted to market new toothpastes without any tests on animals. If some companies can manufacture safe, effective anti – cavity toothpastes without using any animals, why cant all dental product companies stop killing animals? Philosopher Jeremy Bentham sounded the rallying cry for animals everywhere: The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer? The Animal Welfare Act sets standards for the housing, handling, feeding, and transportation of experimental animals, but places no limitations whatsoever on the actual experimental conditions and procedures continue to challenge, whether human beings have the right to use animals for any purpose. The HPV Program sounds so important, right? Wrong! Because no resulting action will be taken against the chemicals involved in this program. Instead of protecting the public from hazardous chemicals, the EPA will inform us of how quickly mice and rabbits died when force – fed a chemical, or how many mouse pups were stillborn after their mother was force – fed massive quantities of already known toxic chemicals.

Every medical advancement has not been a result of animal testing. Results derived from animal experiments have had a very minimal effect on the dramatic rise of life expectancy can be attributed mainly to changes in lifestyles, environmental factors, and improvements in sanitation. Many medical schools in the U. S. do not use animals in the training of medical students.

They include: NYU, University of Michigan, and SUNY Stonybrook. Actually, most of the medical schools which do use animals allow students the option of foregoing the animal labs. This is because they clearly acknowledge that such labs are not necessary for the training of doctors. When a newly released drug hits the market, regardless of how many animal tests have been done, those individuals who first use it are human guinea pigs. Animal tests are not good indicators of what will occur in humans. It has been due, in large part , to the tension between researchers who view laboratory animals as essential to their work and individuals who oppose animal tests that the modern alternatives movement has evolved.

The movement began quietly, in 1959, with the publication of The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique by British researchers W. Russell and R. Burch. Russell and Burch advocated the three Rs of replacement, reduction, and refinement. In the 1980s and 1990s, their philosophy has enabled researchers and animal welfare advocates to come together with a common goal: to find scientifically valid alternatives to animal tests. In conclusion, as proven by the Toms of Maine Co., and with the approval of the FDA, products can be marketed without the immoral practices of animal cruelty. As a form of life, animals acquire natural rights, one being the right to live, not to be exploited and exposed to pain.

As best said by animal activist Jon Evans: To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life.

Animal Testing

Animal Testing Medicines, household products, food, and basically everything involved in the life of an average person has to under go a form of testing before it is legal to be placed on a shelf and if available to the public. The same tests are performed on every medical procedure that is introduced to surgeons. Since the only way to directly mimic the human body is to use it itself, scientists were forced to find the closest and best alternative. That is where animals were introduced to the medical profession. Experimentation on animals date back to as early as 500 BC, making this form of medical validation one of the oldest known to humans. It is not only one of the oldest but one of the most informative. Scientists use animals in medical research to study how the body works and how to diagnose, cure, and prevent disease.

Researchers also use animals for tests to try to protect the public from dangerous chemicals, (Day, 13) such as those included in detergents, bleach, and other household products. When live animals are used in experimentation, this practice is called vivisection. Animals are used in many instances because their bodies often react in a similar way to that of a humans. Although animals have been used in medical research for numerous years it was not until the early 1920s that it became more prominent. It was at this point that the introduction of using live, un-anesthetized, animals to study toxic effects on an increasing array of drugs, pesticides and food additives was introduced.

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After this great advance in medical research the results of using animals grew with leaps and bounds. In 1970 this process peaked with the use of millions of animals. Since then, according to the USDAs Animals Welfare Enforcement, 1,267,828 animals were used for medical purposes in 1998, which is more than a 50 percent decrease since 1970. Although this is a drastic drop in animals used there have been many medical advances; virtually every medical break through this century has come about as the result of research with animals. (Office of Technology) Of the many animals used for experiments, about 90 percent of the animals used are rats, mice and other rodents.

Animals such as these are used for two reasons, one because they are readily available upon request, and two because they are cheap which helps aid the large cost of animals experimentation. Although it has been proven, that in many cases, rats and mice are not an accurate subject to test medicines on; their popularity has only grown larger. Mechanize (a travel sickness drug) caused severe deformities in rats, but not in humans, whereas Thalidomide (a sedative drug) caused no reaction in rats but cause deformities in humans. This is only one of the many cases where mice and rats have been found as faulty test subjects. With the wide range of animals that are available, the tests the are used on them are even vaster.

The tests are broken down into many different categories, which allows scientists to zero in on certain areas of testing and to specify results. The largest and most useful area of testing is called Toxicity Testing. In toxicity tests, animals are generally exposed to chemicals in ways that are meant to mimic human exposure, by ingestion, inhalation, skin contact and contact with the eyes. The type of animals used in this field include rodents, dogs, cats, fish, birds (chickens, hens, pigeons) rabbits, frogs, pigs, sheep, and primates. Toxicity testing is aimed at providing information, which can be used to attempt to protect society and the environment against the harmful effects of chemicals.

(Boyd, 184) Eye irritancy tests, the largest and most controversial area in toxcity testing, began in 1920. It was introduced because soldiers were exposed to mustard gas in World War I, their eyes began to burn and some lost sight. To understand what the effects of the mustard gas more clearly scientist used rabbits as their test subjects. They would force they eyes of the rabbit open and let mustard gas fester for days, they would then compare their findings to the effects on humans. After this first introduction to the benefits of eye irritancy tests its use began more useful. This method of toxicity tests is now used to test everything from shampoo to pesticides. Anti-vivisection activists consider this type of testing the most cruel because it directly damages a vital part of an animals body. Also, it is very hard to repair the eye due to its extreme sensitivity. The Draize Test is used to measure the harmfulness of ingredients contained in household products and cosmetics.

It is much like they tests that were used to test mustard gas, but it is much more scientific and in ways slightly crueler. The Draize testing involves dripping the test substance into a rabbit’s eye and recording the damage over three to twenty-one days. Scientists use rabbits for these tests because rabbits’ eyes have no tear ducts, so they are not able to wash away the irritant placed in their eyes, and their eyes are large enough for any inflammation to be clearly visible. Reactions can vary from a slight irritation to complete blindness. The rabbits are confined in restraining devices to prevent them from clawing at the injured eye. All of the animals are usually killed at the end of the testing period, or “recycled” into toxicity tests.

A less painful area of testing is the sub-acute and sub-chronic tests. These tests last between one and three months and use slightly less toxic doses then toxicity tests. The backs of the animals are shaved and the substance is placed under a tight plastic wrap, which is replaced with a clean wrap every two to five days. The results from these types of tests help scientists understand what harmful effect could happen to humans if came into contact with the chemicals that are in our everyday life. Although it seems as though it would hard to torture an animal on purpose, it happens more often in the medical field than is believable. It is for this reason that there have been many laws introduced to the medical research field. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) has been amended several times. The latest amendment was passed in 1990, which concerned the welfare of guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits.

It covers the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of these small laboratory animals. There is also a requirement that states that all animals must be given adequate veterinary care, must be separated by species and all experiments must be given with a minimum of pain. Anesthesia must also be given when there is a chance of pain, and if the pain that the animals endured was of too high of a standard then the animal must be euthanasia. With such strict requirements that need to be enforced there are a few laboratories that do not abide by every law, which creates cruelty and inhumane conditions for animals. There was a case in New York, too many animals had been packed into cages when beginning transpo …


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