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Animal Experiments

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Animal Experiments - Is it really worth it?

Animal experimentation is a very controversial topic, with many people for it and many people against it. Numerous organisations have been created that oppose animal experimentation, one of the most well-known being People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). However, there are also large companies that conduct or support animal testing such as Covance, a contract research organisation based in the US that supplies drug development services and animal testing facilities. PETA is a non-profit organisation, and the largest animal rights organisation in the world, with over 3 million members and supporters. They campaign against animal research, with the slogan "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way."This slogan is ethically correct; animals are living, thinking creatures just like us, and we're using them in experiments without consent, intentionally causing them loneliness, fear, and pain. Each year over 100 million mice, rats, monkeys, rabbits, and other animals are killed for experiments, training, and testing, even though there are newer, more humane non-animal research methods. One of these new methods is a human-patient simulator; it is a mannequin which breathes just like a human. Using it, doctors and scientists will be able to accurately simulate complex surgical, critical care and drug interaction scenarios, instead of having to use animals to test on. Many people support animal experiments because they would rather have the experiments be done on animals as opposed to humans. However, the first person to use the new product would essentially be a human test subject. Therefore, because animal tests are quite unreliable, those human trials would be much more risky. Additionally, 92% of the drugs that pass animal tests, then fail human tests and are discarded as useless or dangerous to humans. This shows that the majority of the tests are just a waste of time, and all they do is prolong the suffering of people waiting for effective cures and use up precious time, money, and resources that could instead have been used for human-relevant research. On the other hand, the experiments on animals will produce such great benefits for humanity that it is morally acceptable to harm a few animals. Animal research has played a vital role in nearly every medical breakthrough over the last decade. Also, nearly every Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine since 1901 has relied on animal data for their research. However, these experiments are only acceptable if (and only if) the suffering of the animals is minimalised in all experiments, and if human benefits are gained which could not be obtained by using other methods. The majority of the animals that are experimented on are mice and rats, and there are several reasons for this. One is that of convenience; they are small, easy to house and maintain, and can adapt well to new surroundings. Additionally, they reproduce rapidly and have a short lifespan, two or three years, so multiple generations of them can be observed in a short space of time. Most of the mice and rats used are inbred so that, other than sex differences, they are almost identical genetically which helps make the results of medical trials more uniform. Another reason mice are used as models in medical testing is because we share 95% of our genes with them, so their genetic, biological and behavior characteristics closely resemble those of humans, and they have the same organ systems performing the same tasks in more or less the same way as us. Furthermore, they can suffer from similar diseases to humans including cancers, tuberculosis, flu, and asthma. The similarities they have with humans have been growing even stronger. Scientists can now breed genetically-altered mice called "transgenic mice" that carry genes that are similar to those that cause human diseases. Moreover, select genes can be turned off or made inactive, creating what are called "knockout mice," which can be used to evaluate the effects of cancer-causing chemicals and assess drug safety. While non-animal methods play an important part of biomedical research, they cannot replace all use of animals. In the veterinary side of things, all veterinary research has relied on the use of animal research. Many veterinary medicines are the same as those used for human patients, e.g. antibiotics, pain killers, and tranquillisers, and modern anesthetics, the tetanus vaccine, penicillin, and insulin all relied on animal research in their development. To conclude, I think that animal experimentation is acceptable because we can use the information we get from the tests to help us and increase humanity's chances of survival in the future. I believe that if the life of an animal can be used to save the life of a human, then sacrificing that animal was worth it. However, if there is another method of conducting the testing that is equally or more effective, then that should replace using an animal.

Bibliography http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/using/experiments_1.shtml http://www.livescience.com/ http://levmm1.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/organizations-against-animal-testing/ http://www.peta.org/

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