Animals and humans have many biological similarities, and due to thisfact, scientists can find out how animals might react to medicines,cosmetics, chemicals, and other products. This is by testing them inanimals prior to being used by humans (Brown, Nigel, and Fabro 469).According to the statistics from the Humane Society of the US, approximately twenty-five million animals are currently being usedfor research purposes, education and testing each year. The threemain areas of animal testing are biomedical research, education, andproduct safety. Thus, animal testing is the exposure of animals todifferent chemical agents to determine their viability for future usefor human beings or even animals themselves (Brown, Nigel, and Fabro469). The aim of this research paper is to find out the reasons whythis method of research is used, indicate ways in which it is carriedout and offer alternative methods to this outdated practice.
AnimalTesting for Biomedical Research
Scientistsuse animals to understand how the human body works and diseases canaffect the body. Researchers introduce bacteria and other diseasecausing pathogens into the body of the animal under experiment. Theywatch what happens to the animal after they give the animal differentmedicines and therapies. Animals naturally get many of the diseasesas human beings, including cancer. They also react the same way ashuman do to medications. These are, therefore, the two reasons whyscientists prefer using animals as models to study whether treatmentsare safe and effective for people. For example, scientists use theknockout mice to study diseases and infections (Abbott 146). Theyhave a gene that is ‘knocked out’ so that mice develop traitsthat they would not normally have. The changed gene might cause themice to get sick with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or otherillnesses.
Thisway, scientists can use the results tin studying the effects ofvarious treatments they apply to the diseases. Sometimes, scientistsuse animal tissues to produce treatments such as vaccines ormedicines. One way to make insulin, a drug used to treat people withdiabetes, is by taking the hormone from the pancreases of cows andpigs. Studying surgical methods is the other area of biomedicalresearch in which animals have been useful (Watson, 5). Doctors havelearned how perform surgeries by trying them out on animals first.Organ transplants, for example, might not have been possible withoutthe help of animals. A French doctor Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), whowon a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, perfected a method ofjoining blood vessels from transplanted organ to the body of arecipient by using dogs.
Using for Education
Scientificexperiments using animals may not be a pleasant experience forstudents, but it can help them learn about biology and biologicalprocesses and discover what animal’s organs look like and how theywork (Watson, 6). At colleges and Universities, both live and deadanimals are used to study how the body works. They might observe ananimal’s heartbeat or how its stomach digests food. What is leantis then applied in treating humans or animals for those studyingveterinary medicine). With the increased debate about animal’srights, there are many techniques that researchers use to minimizethe use of animals in research tissue and organ studies in vitrocomputer-assisted mathematical modeling graphical tools that modelbiological and pharmacological actions humans who have consentednoninvasive and nonhazardous procedures and the substitution ofplants, invertebrate, and microorganisms as predictors of vertebratefunctions.
Useof in determining the Safety of Cosmetics
TheUnited Kingdom banned the sale of cosmetics that have gone throughanimals testing. This was meant to discourage using animals to testcosmetics. However, the practice still goes on in the United States.Scientists relay on the surveillance of populations that are likelyto be exposed to certain types of cosmetics in order to identifyagents that are potentially harmful to human beings and are notrecommendable for human experimentation.
Whathappens during ?
Asindicated above, millions of animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits,dogs among others undergo painful testing leading to death andincapacitation. This is as scientists and other parties try to findout about certain diseases and their corresponding treatments,experiments on the safety of medicine and chemicals among otherreasons. It is clear that, there are various tests which areundertaken on animals during the testing and all of them have variousimpacts.
Thiskind of a test was developed in 1944 by Dr. John Draize, with the aimof evaluating eye irritation arising from various substances. Duringthe test, chemical is applied into one of the eyes of a rabbitleaving the other as part of experimental control. The results areobtained after one hour, and this is repeated on daily basis for aperiod of up to 21 days (Animal Rights Action 1).
Asseen in the above image, the animal experiences excessive bleeding,blindness and ulcers, and finally death at the end of the experiment.
Thiskind of experiment carried out on animals aims to monitor the levelof severity of itching, inflammation and swelling on the skin (AnimalAid 1). The process involves the introduction of substances, mainlychemicals on shaved part of the skin, while keeping other patches ofthe shaved skin as a part of control experiment as seen in thediagram below.
Inmost cases, these kinds of test results are not used in humans as aresult of differences in the structure as well as autonomy of theskin.
Thiskind of a test is used to ascertain the dangers posed by variouschemicals, and introduced via skin, through inhalation or mouth tothe test animal, mainly mice or rats. Lethal Dose 50 is the originaltest which is carried out until 50% of the test population dies.Although fewer numbers of animals are used for this kind of tests,the animal suffers from excruciating pain, uncontrollable seizures aswell as loss of motor function and convulsions. Finally, the animalis killed and necropsy is carried out with the aim of accessing thelevels of internal damage (Animal Rights Action 1).
Pyrogencreates an increased body temperature in the body, thus pyrogenicitytests are used to studying the side effects of fever in injectabledrugs as well as vaccines. For many years, pyrogen tests on rabbitshave been used, and this is carried out on rabbits of different ages,thus increasing the internal and external validity of the tests asseen below.
(AnimalRights Action 1)
Asseen in the above, it is clear that, animals undergo massivesuffering under the above stated testing procedures. With this inmind, there is the urgent need to seek alternative methods to achievethe same outcome instead of using this outdated method. Some of thetechniques include:
Inthis method, research is carried out in external and controlledenvironments like test tubes. In the past, the method has proveneffective, as it have resulted in the discovery of effectiveness ofdrugs such as penicillin, zomax, among others (Animal Rights Action1).
Thisinvolves observation and analysis of the condition of patients, withthe aim of advancing solutions to the given problems. For instanceclinical studies have been used on thyroid disease, HIV and leukaemiatherapies among other major diseases.
PDMS(Post-Marketing Drug Surveillance)
Inthis system, the general public is given the chance to report on theside effects of the approved drugs, thus enabling laboratories torefine the safety of these drugs.
Fromthe above, it is evident that, animal research is an outdatedpractice, thus there is the need for scientists to find better waysin which same results can be obtained. This include the use of invitro research, clinical studies among others. Although it is crucialfor educational purposes, animals are exposed to massive sufferingsas seen in the images above, and this has led to protests with theaim of stopping this practice.
Abbott,Alison. "Animal testing: more than a cosmetic change."Nature 438.7065 (2005): 144-146.
AnimalAid.AnimalExperiments.2014. Web. Available at
AnimalRights Action.AnimalExperimentation.2014. Web. Available at
Brown,Nigel A., and Sergio Fabro."The value of animal teratogenicitytesting for predicting human risk." Clinical obstetrics andgynecology 26.2 (2003): 467-477.
Watson,Stephanie. AnimalTesting: Issues and Ethics.The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009. Print.