Research on animals is important in understanding diseases and developing ways to prevent them. The polio vaccine, kidney transplants, and heart surgery techniques have all been developed with the help of animal research. Through increased efforts by the scientific community, effective treatments for diabetes, diphtheria, and other diseases have been developed with animal testing.
Animal research has brought a dramatic progress into medicine. With the help of animal research, smallpox has been wiped out worldwide. Micro-surgery to reattach hearts, lungs, and other transplants are all possible because of animal research. Since the turn of the century, animal research has helped increase our life-span by nearly 28 years.
And now, animal research is leading to dramatic progress against AIDS and Alzheimer s disease.
Working with animals in research is necessary. Scientists need to test medical treatments for effectiveness and test new drugs for safety before beginning human testing. Small animals, usually rats, are used to determine the possible side effects of new drugs. After animal tests have proven the safety of new drugs, patients asked to participate in further studies can be assured that they may fare better, and will not do worse than if they were given standard treatment or no treatment. New surgical techniques first must be carefully developed and tested in living, breathing, whole organ systems with systems much like ours. The doctors who perform today s surgeries, as well as doctors in training, must develop the necessary skills before patients lives are entrusted to their care. Neither computer models, cell cultures, nor artificial substances can simulate flesh, muscle, blood, and organs like the ones in live animals.
There is no alternative to animal research. Living systems are complex. The nervous system, blood and brain chemistry, and gland secretions are all interrelated. It is impossible to explore, explain or predict the course of many diseases or the effects of many treatments without observing and testing the entire living system.
Cell and tissue cultures, often suggested as alternatives to using animals, have been used in medical research for many years. But these are only isolated tests. And isolated tests will give only isolated results, which may have little relation to a whole living system.
I believe in animal research and support organizations such as AMA and AMP with their cause. I think it is necessary to test drugs and vaccines on animals before we attempt them on humans. Because of that I disagree completely with animal rights groups and their aspect. If they don t want to test things on animals then they should be volunteering for those experimental drugs to be injected into their bodies with the risk of death.