Animal testing has been an issue that has plagued not only the country of America but others as well. With the emergence of animal rights, more and more individuals as well as organizations have supported the cause.
Scientists have been plagued by the people’s reactions on the kind of work that they do. Many people have even condemned them on the issue on animal cloning, which, when they were able to successfully clone an animal, they were condemned even more. Scientists view their work as important for the development and progress of a nation, especially in saving lives and looking for ways to help men improve.
Animal testing has been going on for decades in search for various discoveries in the field of science, medicine and even fashion. One memorable movie which injected the view of being against animal testing is the movie of Reese Witherspoon’s Legally Blonde 2. PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) is an organization which campaigns for the rights of animals (around the globe) on the air, land and sea. One of the loudest advocates of animal rights are the people in the fashion industry where they have staged rallies, parades and announcements, just to make their views heard. They’ve supported PETA several times in its animal rights campaigns.
The campaigns are not only meant to address in reducing, if not totally eliminating the use of animals, but also as a wake-up call saying that many manufactured medicines have caused negative effects on humans, even causing them their lives.
Alternatives is the new research technique which should be used in any scientific experiment that deems the use of animals. It replaces animals that would be used for the study as well as reducing the number of animals needed for the study, all of which are designed to lessen the distress caused to animals during the experiment (Hakkinen & Green 1).
The thrust now is that, with the availability of alternatives, and with the results conducted about the various alternatives should be the primary push in every government, private, medical and non-medical institutions to address not only the problems of adverse effects on medicines which were initially tested on animals, but also the protection of animals’ rights in lessening the need to use them in scientific experiments as well as the pain and distress that is inflicted on them during the said experiments.
As stated by PETA advocates “the basic principle of “animal rights” is: “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment”–they “deserve consideration of their own best interests regardless of whether they are useful to humans (Epstein 3).”
Animals used for experimentation reached more than a hundred million every year just in the US laboratories alone; and the experiments include injecting chemicals into stomachs of animals (especially rats, as being the most common), getting a sample of muscle tissue as well as putting baby monkeys in isolated chambers away from their mothers. This multibillion dollar industry is supported by taxpayers (although most are not aware of this) and numerous companies, academic and non-academic laboratories, private and public businesses and the government as well. All of them are cashing in on the suffering of the animals that they use simply because these animals are not able to defend themselves; but now, all these has changed.
Do researches that employ animal testing really do us any good? Does it really actually justify an animal’s suffering. Do all the medicines resulting from animal tests indeed good for people? A lot of experiments that took place had not somehow formally establish that involvement of animals in major discoveries are connected to it; and such an observation have prompted several known researchers who were Nobel prize winners to clearly state the animals ”have have made “an important contribution” to medical science and surgery (Matthews 2). But this does not somehow answer the question of whether animals have contributed something good from the experiments done on them.
According to a study conducted which showed that prescription drugs have been a source of great side effects which are bad for humans; and it has been the biggest killer of all in the UK as many people experienced adverse reactions to the drugs they use, which were of course, animal tested (Archibald 1). Another example if the drug called Vioxx which appeared to be safe on animals when it was tested, but it caused the deaths of more than 100,000 people through heart attacks in the US (Archibald 1). Another was a medicine called thalidomide which was administered to pregnant women in the 1950’s, wherein the drug caused a lot of deformities to the baby. Although it did pass the safety test on animals, it caused a lot of birth defects on humans, with an estimated figure of 15,000 fetuses (Cook 6).
Looking for alternative ways to produce medicines, vaccines and others have been a major thrust of many researchers and animal rights advocates. In Austria, the Middle European Society for Alternative Methods to Animal Testing met wherein big and small companies expressed that studies on toxicity should start on studying the liver since it is the organ that is responsible for breaking-up toxic chemicals that enter the human body (EBSCO 1). Pfizer also studies toxicity by culturing cells and examines if the cells will manifest a reaction indicating that it is not good for the liver. Such steps, excludes animals testing.
Another very good reason why animal testing should not be allowed is the great pain and suffering that they have to endure during experiments, especially in producing vaccines. Recorded approximations for using f animals in the production and quality control of biological in Netherlands indicate that aside from the number of animals being used in biomedical research, all animals suffer at high levels for the severe pain and distress they go through during the experiments; and these comprise 17% of biological products being produced. The explanation for this high level is the actuality that “vaccine quality control includes a number of animal models that use lethality or severe clinical signs as the endpoint (Coenraad et al 4).”
A number of recommendations for the implementation of 3Rs methods which are: Refinement, Reduction, and Replacement of Animal Use for Regulatory Testing; and are also the best scientific practice present for use of the manufacturers in the assessment of safety and strength of biological products. In this regard, regulatory authorities, vaccine manufacturers, and the community as a whole consequently have the responsibility to “support the development and implementation of 3Rs alternatives, in accordance with the recommendations of Russell and Burch (1959)0.”
According to Coenraad Hendriksen of the Netherlands Vaccine Institute, changing the way vaccines are tested is also a means for reducing the need for animals testing (EBSCO 2). Indeed, there is a replacement for animals in certain situations where there is indeed no need for them. Today, almost all of the toxicologists agree that there is no need to use “60-200 rodents to generate the statistically precise lethal dose (Rowan 2).”
Many experiments in search for medicines can be done independently of animals. One of which is the use of tissues. This means that both cells and tissues can be used for testing in the field of scientific research, particularly medicine, as proven by the studies done by Epithex, a small firm in Geneva and ProBioGen, which is based in Berlin (EBSCO 2).
Experiments measuring the degree of irritability of chemicals or other particles on humans are usually done with the use of rabbits. And in order to reduce the number of rabbits being used in such an experiment, vitro methods are used on human cell cultures for skin and eye irritancy potential in humans with the use of aqueous materials that are incompatible. Although, there have been set backs at the first, characterized by the limitations of submerged skin cultures due to the buffered medium of aqueous material for test dilution, which results to the limited ability to predict irritability potential; but such has already been resolved. The development of Marrow-Tech Skin2 cultures for tropical application was used to be the alternative model for skin and eye irritancy test (Huggins 2).
The use of Alternative methods should be the primary choice when available and it is the best way to regulate the use of animals in test because it is vital that their protection should be top priority (Festing 2). In cases where there alternatives in using animals are not available, people should be the ones to find ways for the improvement of animal studies “through better design and analysis of the experiments, and through advances in science and technology (Festing 3).
The plight of animals are fortunately not left unheard. Many people out there are very concerned and are also against animal testing. For them, the ratio of 100 animal suffering for only 1 vaccine, medicine or beauty product, such as a lipstick, is not worth it. Many researchers, scientists, teachers, organizations and even librarians today are all in one in helping push the belief that there are other alternatives for animal testing.
There might be instances when research and testing to find alternative methods to reduce the need for animal testing might be difficult and have a lot of set-backs, but these doesn’t mean that there are no alternative to be found to replace the use of animals. With the recorded results of adverse effects of drugs that were used on humans, it just goes to show that, animals are not always a good medium to tests drugs that are intended for humans. The drastic result of drugs experimented on animals should be more than enough reason for all concerned to further studies on animal testing alternatives. It does not mean that if scientists have used animals for testing for hundreds of years, they cannot change the way they do research. As we have advanced, through education and information technology, the ways in which we do research should also be advance; and if it means the reduction, if not the absolute exclusion of animals from testing, then so be it. It is not only the machines that we use that needs to be high tech, but also the ways and methods that we do our work, may it be in research, business, manufacturing or others.
The most important lesson on this is that not all medicines that are tested on animals are good for humans. The idea of humans being the same with animals as far as chemical reaction is concerned should be altered.
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