Animal ResearchFor the past 20 years, there has a been an on going heateddebate on whether experiments on animals for the benefit of medical and scientific research is ethical.Whether it is or isn’t, most people believe that some form of cost-benefit test should be performedto determine if the action is right.
The costs include: animal pain, distress and death where thebenefits include the collection of new knowledge or the development of new medical therapies forhumans. Looking into these different aspects of the experimentation, there is a large gap for argumentbetween the different scientists’ views. In the next few paragraphs, both sides of the argument will beexpressed by the supporters. A well known scientist named Neal D. Barnard said,” The use ofanimals for research and testing is only one of many investigative techniques available. We believethat although animal experiments are sometimes intellectually seductive, they are poorly suited toaddressing the urgent health problems of our era, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, AIDS andbirth defects.
” He goes on further to say that animal experiments can not only mislead researchersbut even contribute to illnesses or deaths by failing to predict any toxic effect on drugs. The majorityof animals in laboratories are used for genetic manipulation, surgical intervention or injection offoreign substances. Researchers produce solutions from these animal “models” and are adaptingthem to human conditions. Unfortunately, these animal “models” can’t always be connected with thehuman body thus creating problems.
Many times, researchers induce strokes on animals in order totest certain methods for curing. The downfall of this procedure is that a healthy animal thatexperiences a sudden stroke does not undergo the slowly progressive arterial damage that usuallyplays a crucial role in human strokes. In another illustration of the inaccuracy of animal research,scientists in the 1960s deduced from many animal experiments that inhaled tobacco smoke did notcause lung cancer.
For many years afterward, the tobacco industry was able to use these studies todelay government warnings and to discourage physicians from intervening in their patients’ smokinghabits. We all know now that this is totally untrue and that smoking is a large contributor to cancer. Itturns out that cancer research is especially sensitive to differences in physiology between humans andother animals. Many animals, particularly rats and mice, synthesize within their bodies approximately100 times the recommended daily allowance for humans of vitamin C, which is believed to help thebody ward off cancer.
The stress of handling, confinement and isolation alters the animal’s mentalstability and introduces yet another experimental variable that makes any results from testing evenless valuable to human helping. In many cases, drugs and other substances are given to the testanimals but studies have shown considerable differences in the effects of these drugs on differentspecies. David Salsburg of Pfizer Central Research has noted that of 19 chemicals known to causecancer in humans when ingested, only seven caused cancer in mice and rats using the standards setby the National Cancer Institute. This justifies that many substances that appeared safe in animalstudies and received approval from the U.
S. Food and Drug Administration for use in humans laterproved dangerous to people. The drug milrinone, which raises cardiac output, increased survival ofrats with artificially induced heart failure; humans with severe chronic heart failure taking this drug hada 30 percent increase in fatalities. Also, the antiviral drug fialuridine seemed safe in animal trials yetcaused liver failure in seven of 15 humans taking the drug (five of these patients died as a result of themedication, and the other two received liver transplants). Scientists and the populous that do notagree with the experimentation of animals believe in different methods. These techniques includeepidemiological studies, clinical intervention trials, astute clinical observation aided by laboratorytesting, human tissue and cell cultures, autopsy studies, endoscopic examination and biopsy, as wellas new imaging methods. In the last decade, scientists with these views have learned to respect theanimals for their own species observations and for their ability to communicate.
On the reverseaspect, many scientists