Animal Experimentation Essay, Research Paper
Holly Anderson was a strong supporter for animal rights. When she was a little girl, she saw a cat get run over by a car. As she watched it die slowly, some young boys were poking it with a stick. She screamed, “Why don’t you leave that poor cat alone!” One boy replied, “We wanted to see if maggots will come out of its nose! Hey Jimmy!” the boy yelled at his friend, “Go get your firecrackers!” Holly started crying and ran away. From then on, she viewed all scientists who use animals to experiment on as immature little boys just trying to get a kick out of blood and guts. Not only did she not like what the scientists did to the animals, she was so close-minded about the issue, she hadn’t even considered the other side, and she refused to. Now Holly is thirty-five years old and is happily married with five children and just as many cats. One summer day, she walked upstairs to wake up her children. She walked into the room to see them all very sick in their beds. They were all running a high fever and were having trouble breathing. She took them all to the emergency room where they were tested immediately. After a whole day’s waiting, she was called into a meeting with all the doctors. They told her that her children had contracted a deadly virus that they had never seen before and that they might not live unless the origin of this virus was found. They asked her if she had any animals and how many. She told them she had five cats. The doctors all talked privately and finally made a decision. “I’m sorry, Ms. Anderson, but I think we’re going to need those cats to find the serum for the virus. “What are you going to do with them?” she asked. They then told her they were going to take the cats to the lab where all of them would go through a series of experiments until they found the problem. They also explained they couldn’t guarantee that any of the cats would live through the tests or that they wouldn’t feel any pain. When they told her this, she pictured in her head a bunch of scientists standing around her cats poking them with needles everywhere while the cats were restrained and struggling for breath. She shuddered at the thought of her cats going through that, but even more at her children dying. It took her less than five minutes to decide because she realized that animal experimentation could save her children’s lives.
A few days later she left the hospital with her children, who were back to their normal, healthy selves. She felt bad for her five cats that were dead, but it was a good feeling having all five of her children there at the funeral for Fluffy, Furry, Frisky, Grumpy, and Stinky. She now understood the other side. She didn’t exactly approve of it now, but she knew that animal testing must go on for her children’s children. Holly finally realized that animal testing must go on because it benefits society.
There are many reasons a person should agree with animal experimentation, but there are also a few reason why some people are against animal experimentation. A few of these reasons are that animal experimentation is cruel and inhumane, animal experimentation is under regulated, and that there are alternatives to animal experimentation.
Many people claim that animal experimentation is cruel and inhumane. It is said that many labs are unsanitary and small. Animals have been seen in cages with unbandaged wounds (Day 67). It is also said that primates are treated inhumanely and are put in small living quarters (Goo 96). They are kept alone and isolated. This is not good for their psychological well being (Wil 79). Actually, most of these claims are invalid due to the laws and regulations that have been set to make sure animals are not being treated like this. For every lab that does any type of animal testing, there has to be a veterinary staff just to watch the animals and the scientists who work on them. Also, monkeys and apes are required to get daily, complete medical examinations (Kin 93). Primates are a lot like humans because they exhibit emotions and they suffer- like humans (Wil 79). Yet, activists say that we are different and that animals react differently than humans to testing (Fox 70). They can be considered the slaves of our generation and maybe in the future, we may look back and say “How were we so cruel?” (Day 60). We are not being cruel if we are doing almost the same thing to primates as the natives of Africa have been doing for centuries. In Africa, primates run wild and are trapped and skinned. They are a food source but are more of a pest than anything. In Africa, they are treated just as bad, if not worst because they are used to the native’s advantage to survive, just as we would in the U.S. except on a bigger scale because more lives are at stake for the sacrifice of the primates to strengthen our knowledge of medicine and medical technology (77).
According to many animal rights activists, animal experimentation is under- regulated. They have made claims that laboratories in the U.S. use over 150 million animals in one year, however according to polls put out by a federal program, an average of only 20 million animals are used each year in the United States (Wil 49). They also say that there is very little protection for certain animals such as monkeys, cats, rabbits, and dogs (Fox 58). The protections that animals do receive are adequate because of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and the Animals Act of 1985. The Act of 1966 requires sanitation, ventilation, and housing standards including feeding, watering and the handling of all animals being used. The Act of 1985 requires that adequate painkillers be used. It also requires extra exercise for dogs, and the living quarters and environment for all primates need to promote their “psychological well-being.” Another requirement is that scientists have to consider every alternative of the testing method to make sure that they have to use animals in the experiment (Day 29). In other words, it is required by the federal government that all studies on animals be humane, be scientifically or medically valuable, and be well designed (Kin 92). Many activists’ main concerns are the treatment of primates. They claim that primates are barely protected under any regulations. If this is true, than the veterinarians who are hired by the government to do daily checkups and complete medical examinations on primates are not doing their job. If it is true that they are not doing their job, than they would have been exposed by the committees hired to watch and write down every single step a person is doing in any part of an experiment. The committees then take the information they have recorded and store it in a public file for anybody concerned to review (93). Also, a researcher must answer ten questions successfully to proceed in the tests. Besides the numerous veterinarians who are hired to supervise the scientists who are doing the research on the animals, there are also committees who watch them, thus, making a fail-safe system for animals’ rights (Wil 79). Also, many activists say that scientists kill the animal after an experiment just because they have nothing more to use them for. They have the idea stuck in their head that scientists are cold-blooded murderers who don’t care at all for animals. What the activists don’t know is that to validate and conclude any experiment where animals are used, they must obtain tissue samples from the animal. In order to do this, the animal must be destroyed (Day 81).
Many animal rights activists believe that there is an alternative to animal testing. It is called “nonanimal testing” and is defined as performing an experiment with no animals or as few animals as possible (Dol 36). Granted, some of these alternatives are effective. For instance, an alternative to toxicology, testing to find the potency or poison level of a certain chemical, is using cell cultures, bacteria, or fertilized chicken or frog embryos (Wil 86). Certain microorganisms react a lot alike to how animals would in the same tests. Another alternative is using tissue samples from humans or animals. This is also effective on the toxicology testing method (Dol 39). However, no alternatives are as effective as animals. Yes, there are cell and tissue cultures or computer models, but to conclude any kind of testing, even in toxicology, one needs a living system to know the physical and mental reaction that is portrayed out. Even if an experiment is successful in non-animal testing, the results have to be validated on a living system such as an animal. The reason a living system is necessary is because scientists need to observe the reactions not to single cells but to organs and organ systems which are much more complex than a tissue or cell culture. Even though there have been some breakthroughs for non-animal testing, they are only useful in a few types of researching (Wil 67). Animals are absolutely necessary to use for testing because of the many critical steps that can only be taken if used in a complex living system (107). Also, only ten percent of the animals used in testing are usually cats, dogs, or primates. These animals are not chosen to be tested on because they are easy to obtain all throughout America, but because they are essential for certain types of research. For example, cats are important tools for research because they provide vital studies of vision, hearing, and brain functioning that help scientists understand these systems in humans. Dogs also are useful in the area of cardiovascular system research as well as further understanding diseases in the heart and arteries in the human. Primates are also one of the most important tools to scientists because their genetic makeup is very close to a human’s gene structure (Wil 67).
Animal experimentation has many benefits to it and barely any down sides. When one is found it can easily be disproven. Four good reasons to keep animal testing that I will discuss is that animal experimentation benefits humans, animal experimentation is entirely ethical and natural, animal experimentation is humane, and animal rights activists tend to exaggerate and will stop or slow progress.
Animal experimentation benefits humans in many ways. It is safe to say that almost every modern medical therapy (fully or in part) has come about due to animal research (Day 86). In fact, many people have been saved from catastrophic illnesses because we are privileged to use animals for testing (Wil 49). In the past, many discoveries in technologies and medical breakthroughs have saved millions of lives, and still do to this day. A short list of what has been discovered by animal experimentation include organ transplants, most surgical procedures, heart drugs, cancer drugs, insulin, antibiotics, anesthetics, vaccines, and CAT Scans (Day 73). Other ailments that are now treatable and curable are appendicitis, diabetes, scarlet fever, and diphtheria (Wil 77). Diseases like smallpox and polio have been virtually wiped out because vaccines have been discovered through research on animals (52). Due to animal research, the number of cases of polio went from 52,000 in 1952 to four in 1984 in the U.S. alone (Wil 77). In fact, Nancy Day, author of the book Animal Experimentation: Cruelty or Science? claims that “Without animal research, millions of cancer patients around the world would be subjected to unnecessary suffering and early death” (Day 82). Every day, numerous heart transplants are given to small children and adults. The only reason man is able to perform these vital operations is because dogs, who are the closest model to humans for this type of procedure at this time, were used for experimentation. By using the canines for experimentation, they have been able to perfect heart surgery in humans (Wil 65).
Another benefit humans have had because of animal experimentation is the treatment of familial hypercholestolemia. It was discovered that Watanabe rabbits have a genetic disorder in which they have dangerously high cholesterol levels. A doctor found this problem on the rabbits’ feet, which had yellow “pockets” full of liquid. He soon found out this disorder was similar to the ones in humans called familial hypercholestolemia. If a child has this disease he/she will usually die of a heart attack before his/her teens. Because he found this in these rabbits, he made many breakthroughs in this disorder (Fox 14). Researchers have also carried out tests with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. They inject these substances into the animals to see their side effects, how they are addicting, and many more evaluations to further understand how they affect humans.
One of the most important reasons we need animal experimentation is because animals are used in training medical students. Medical students are virtually holding the lives of future children in their hands and one can only imagine the setbacks, which would occur if animal rights activists got their way and all animal research was stopped. All hope for uncured diseases would be lost and there would also be no more medical advances. It is needless to say it is dangerous to stop animal testing (19).
Animal experimentation is entirely ethical and natural. In fact, there have been forty-one Nobel Prizes awarded to scientists for their achievements that were wholly or in part, due to the use of animals in their research (Dol 64). Today, there are fewer animals used in labs than ever before. In 1978, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences claimed that the number of animals used for research was half of the amount from ten years before. Due to the raised price on pound animals, there is also a shortage of pound animals that can be used because there is not enough funding. Thus, the number of cats and dogs used is small and they are not used unethically nor wastefully (Dol 79). Robert Phelan, a doctor, said, “We dispose of 200,000 pound animals a week in this country- and their basically just killed and tossed. Bio-medical research needs one week’s worth of those for the entire year, and that’s for training paramedics, for training surgeons and nurses, and training medical students” (Phelen 32). Of the twenty-five million dogs and cats born in the U.S. each year, half are impounded. These animals are put to sleep after a couple of weeks if they are not claimed. This is why animal experimentation is ethical and natural (Day 31).
Furthermore, experimentation is ethical because standards have been devised and are being met. Animal laboratories have been regulated since 1966 by U.S. legislation. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 sets the minimum standards for housing, feeding, watering, and handling lab animals. It also establishes basic levels of sanitation, ventilation, and shelter. In addition, the Animals Act of 1985 requires researchers to consider alternate methods to using animals (Day 29). Because of these acts that were passed, federal committees have been hired to monitor scientists who experiment to make sure they follow the act’s requirements. However, some people felt that was not good enough to insure the animal’s welfare, so there are now committees, either federal or volunteer, that monitor the committees that monitor the scientists to make sure these committees are doing their jobs (Wil 79).
Besides experimentation being ethically sound, it is a very natural act. Using animals for research has been practiced for more than 2000 years and can be traced back to Aristotle using animals for his first surgical practice (Dol 71). Animal Experimentation is also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis,
Then God said, “Let us make man in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock over the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Moses 7).
Humans are the rulers over the animals and that passage states that it is the rights of humans to use animals to their advantage. Many activists also claim that it is unnatural for any animal to die from repetition of an experiment (Fox 19). What they don’t understand is that it is necessary to repeat certain tests to confirm the results of the process so that this certain experiment will never have to be done again (Dol 78).
Most research today is completely humane. Sixty-two percent of the animal subjects do not feel pain and thirty-two percent of the subjects are on enough painkillers or anesthetics to not feel pain. The other six percent do feel pain because either the procedure of the experiment has to do with pain or no anesthetics or painkillers can be used because it will obscure the results. Furthermore, animals that are being researched and tested on are protected by the government to make sure there is no misuse (Day 79). In fact, the main key to making sure animals are treated humanely is the inspection process. In the Yerkes Research Center, for example, there is an expert surveillance team to make sure animals are treated humanely. There are three full-time veterinarians, two vets, whose specialty is in clinical pathology, another vet just for the subject of reproductive biology, one registered nurse, three veterinarian technicians, and over thirty animal care attendants. It is these people’s jobs to make sure the researchers are following the animal welfare laws and regulations. To top it all off, any lab that is federally funded is also monitored. After an experiment is completed, a record of all the procedures, steps, and the treatment of animals is put on file and given to the public for their own surveillance. This is also required due to the Freedom of Information Act (Kin 93).
In addition, in a primate research lab, it is practiced policy to keep all research an ethical and scientific concern and all procedures are to be as a matter of routine (90). Before doing any research on a primate, scientists must go through ten tedious questions to make sure they can proceed with the experiment legally. This is required by the government that the research on any animals to be well designed, medically or scientifically valuable, and conducted humanely (92). Also, many animal rights activists argue that it is inhumane for scientists to kill the animals after an experiment just to make more room or use the animals at their disposal. However, the reason the animal is killed after an experiment is not to dispose of them, but so tissue samples can be obtained to validate the results and to make conclusions. If the animals were spared, the test would be considered a waste because the last step would not be taken (Day 81).
Animal rights activists are often considered to be animal rights “terrorists” to many people. They have struck terror throughout the scientific community. They have been forcing the research labs all over the country to put their much needed funding into security systems to insure that nothing will happen to their labs or that animals will not be stolen. Because of this, federal funding is getting smaller and the commitment to the research of animals in university labs has dwindled (84). One of the main problems for many labs is that they can’t advance in their studies of, for example, heart disease because the activists are keeping their hands tied with harassments and lawsuits (Wil 66). In 1990, it was estimated that a total of $10 million was lost in laboratories and research due to animal rights activists (Fox 11).
Another problem with animal rights activists is that they are misinformed. Various animal rights groups have claimed that the U.S. alone uses around 150 million animals for research in a year. They also say a large percent of the animals are used needlessly. However, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment estimated that only 17-20 million animals are used per year. What they don’t realize is that because of the competition from other labs, the constant monitoring, and the activist groups, they can’t afford to waste money on animals for unnecessary research (Wil 78). Another attempt at stopping animal experimentation by the activists is scaring pet owners into taking their side. Activists claim that scientists steal pets and use them for experimenting. Because of these uproars, a survey was taken in ten large cities concerning cases of pets stolen and resold in labs. The survey found there were no incidents that occurred in these cities. As you can see, this wasted the time and money of research laboratories. Instead of using the money to further research, it was wasted on a survey that was done as a result of propaganda by animal rights groups (67). Jered M. Loeb, a strong supporter of animal experimentation claims, “Through bizarre tactics, extravagant claims, and gruesome myths, animal rights groups have captured the attention of the media and a sizeable segment of the public. Nevertheless, people invariably support the use of animals in research when they understand both sides of the issues and the contributions of animals to [the] relief of human suffering” (Loe 71). Unfortunately, activists are too arrogant to look at the other sides of the issue, and they take their health for granted (Day 77).
Animal experimentation must continue for the sake of mankind. It is absolutely necessary for people to die naturally and not from a disease that could have been cured or treated but was not because of the selfishness of trying to save a goldfish or two…hundred. In order for mankind to advance, we must make the sacrifice of animals. The cost of twenty animals’ lives could save millions of people. With the animal control problem in the pounds of America, there should not be any complaining from activists. If a dog is going to be destroyed at a pound, why can’t it be put to good use for a future investment? It is said that by the year 2030, 90% of the deaths in this world will be from non-communicable diseases. These are diseases like cancer and heart failure. I think if all animal research were to come to a halt, it would only take half that time. It is people like Elizabeth Darrow, a strong supporter and picketer for animal rights, who could possibly stop or slow testing. People like her are kind-hearted but fail to see both sides of an issue and are easily misinformed. With this misinformation, activists will take it and twist it even more by exaggerating a lie. This is the way they win over some of the public. Practically anyone will support experimentation if the benefits were explained to him or her. If I ever had the chance to accost Darrow, I would ask her what she would do if she were in Holly Anderson’s place. If this didn’t faze her, I would then ask her what she would do if she were on a boat with her child and her dog and that boat was sinking. If she could only save one of them, what choice would she make? If this question wouldn’t change her mind, even slightly, then I would know that her denial is very strong. Furthermore, if she were to choose the dog over her child, I would definitely question her sanity.
Thesis: Animal experimentation is literally saving millions of lives everyday by the progress that is made to treat and cure diseases and develop new surgical and technical methods. If this much-needed process of experimenting were stopped it would devastate the scientific community, the medical field, and the much-needed research on diseases such as AIDS and cancer. Thus, animal experimentation must continue for the sake of mankind.
A. Animal experimentation is cruel and inhumane.
B. Animal experimentation is under-regulated.
C. There are alternatives to animal experimentation.
A. Animal experimentation benefit humans.
B. Animal experimentation is entirely ethical and natural.
C. Animal experimentation is humane.
D. Animal rights activists exaggerate and stop or slow progress.