Are we to let concern for the ‘rights’ of pests cost human lives? The answer is a simple one—no. Animal research, although often the subject of debate is a positive thing. Without it, where would the world be? Tests certainly cannot be done on humans, for what human will risk his or her life if there is a more convenient and sensible option. Yes the animals endure pain and, at times, lose their lives but new advances are being made in that field as well. Studies are always being done to ensure the maximum safety and comfort for these subjects.
Animal Testing—Good for Mankind or Violation of Rights?
Animal testing—is it inapplicable? Many researchers shout yes; results received from small animals and rodents do not apply to humans. If this is so, then why have so many advances been made since the dawning of animal testing? Dozens of vaccines have been found not to mention antibiotics. “Indeed, we cannot think of an area of medical research that does not owe many of its most important advances to animal experiments (Rowan, p.21).”
The main argument of animal research opponents is that animal tests are inapplicable. “Animals and humans biologically differ from each other. So results from animal experiments can’t be applied directly to humans (Chang, p.2).” Other arguments include:
Humane alternatives to much of animal research, such as tissue samples and computer models, already exist.
Animals have rights. When engaging in animal research, “they violate the rights of an animal to be free of unnatural diseases, injuries, or mental and behavioral problems (Chang, p.2).”
If cures are to be found, animal testing is necessary. In addition to discovering microorganisms, animal experimentation has led to significant medical findings related
to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as breast cancer and heart disease. “The variety of tests performed on animals is nearly endless—from injection of experimental drugs to performing organ transplants, all to help humans (Chang, p.2).”
“Experiments on animals are a mainstay of modern medical and scientific research (Rowan, p.17).” The majority of scientists do not enjoy having to use animals but they believe that it is crucial in battling human diseases. Arguments given to opponents include:
Animals, especially mammals, are very similar to humans. “While no animal is completely identical to humans, some have particular organ systems that are similar (Chang, p.3).”
Alternatives such as computer models cannot replace the need for animal experimentation.
Animals also benefit from the research such as discovering treatments for rabies and distemper (Chang, p.2).
Possibly the first vaccine ever developed was one against rabies. In 1885, French scientist Louis Basteur developed a rabies vaccine after extensive testing on rabbits. And one of the most important and common vaccines used today could not have been found without animal research—polio. After 40 year of research using monkeys, rats, and mice, Jonas Salk developed the vaccine in 1952.
Today, several major medical research successes have used lab rodents. For example, researchers at Washington University have recently discovered that “genetically altered mice lacking an immune-system enzyme didn’t develop emphysema even after exposure (Berardelli, p.1).”
Vaccines for dozens of infectious diseases would not be available without animal testing. Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, and rubella are just a few on the list of cures that give thanks to animal experimentation.
Word Count: 567