The United States government should come up with alternatives to animal experimentation. The use of animals in research, testing, and education is an issue of increasing concern to the American public. An increasing number of adults and teenagers are concerned about the welfare of laboratory animals.
Animal testing, or vivisection, is the testing of cosmetics, drugs, household products and many other everyday items on animals. Vivisection literally means cutting alive . And that is exactly what happens. Every second, of every day, of every year, an animal dies in research labs in the United States. That means that while you have been reading this, about 30 defenseless animals have died in a laboratory (Harris).
It is impossible to know the exact number of animals that have died in the name of science. This is due partly to the fact that some scientists refuse to disclose the details of their experiments. However, using the facts that are available, it is estimated that academic researchers in America alone use between 17 and 22 million animals per year. The cosmetics industry uses about a million more animals (Coleman).
Animal experimentation is said to be necessary for the welfare and health of humans. This is simply not true. Animal experiments mislead doctors and the general public. Diseases such as cancer, which are artificially induced in laboratory animals, have no relationship to the diseases that affect humans, because these diseases are largely caused by lifestyle and pollution (Vivisection).
Many people that are not familiar with the issue of animal experimentation are concerned that if we don t experiment on animals we will be forced to experiment on humans. Isn t this already the case? When we take a new drug, we are part of an experiment, because we differ from the animals on which the drug was tested. Drugs, which have minor or no side effects on animals, have caused horrendous reactions in humans.
Phenformin, which was used to treat diabetes, caused about 1,000 deaths annually until removed from the market place. E Ferol, a vitamin, killed premature babies. Accutane, which was used to treat acne, was proven to cause birth defects. Clioquinol was used as a treatment for diarrhea until it was linked to cases of blindness, paralysis, and even death. All of these drugs were classified as safe after being tested on laboratory animals (Some Tested Drugs).
There are many alternative techniques to the use of animals. The main method is clinical study, or learning from the humans who have the disease. The following is a list of further methods that do not involve testing on animals provided by Animal Liberation NSW (Vivisection):
+ Human tissues, cells and organs in containers (cultures) with the proposed drug, to study how it will act in the human body
+ Chromatography and mass spectrometry to separate drugs at their smallest (molecular) level to identify their properties
+ Quantum pharmacology using quantum mechanics to understand the molecular structure of chemicals
+ Mechanical models and simulators to teach and test. Simulators already exists for the heart, circulatory, lungs and respiratory systems, and funding should be encouraged for the design of simulators for the rest of the human body
+ Surveys of diseases of other cultures, life styles, diets: human case studies, autopsy reports and statistical analyses of effects of various factors on the incidence of disease
+ Discarded human placentas may be used for mocrovascular surgery practice and can provide accurate data for sensitivity to chemicals
+ Human volunteers can be paid to participate in controlled studies of diets, vitamins and conditions that effect the rate of disease
+ Audio visual aids can be used for teaching medical students
+ Centralization of existing data to provide easier access to results of research
The Animal Welfare Act and the Health Research Extension Act (HERA) are laws meant to provide for the humane care and use of animals in laboratories, to minimize pain and distress, and to assure that alternatives to painful procedures have been considered. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966, for example, spells out requirements for veterinary care, food and water, protection from extreme temperatures, sanitation, record keeping, and staff training (Overview).
The facts speak for themselves. Animal testing is cruel and unnecessary. There are several alternatives to vivisection that should be strongly considered by researchers and the government alike. We should respect our animals in the same way that we respect other humans. Consider the following quote by Gandhi (Quotations):
Animal experimentation is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at present committing...
I abhor experimentation with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence...
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Coleman, Vernon. Why Animal Experiments Must Stop. http://www.vernoncoleman.com/downloads/waems.htm March 8, 2001.
Harris, L. What is Vivisection? http://members.nbci.com/hamsteruni/vivisection/whatisv.htm March 8, 2001.
Overview of Animals in Laboratories: Laws and Regulations. http://www.labanimalwelfare.org/overview.htm#laws%20and%20regs March 8, 2001.
Quotations About Animals, Animal Rights, and Vivisection. http://www.freezone.co.uk/vivabsurd/xquotes.html March 8, 2001.
Some Thoroughly Tested Drugs That Injured and Killed.
http://www.animal-lib.org.au/lists/viv/vivlist.shtml March 8, 2001.
Vivisection. http://www.animal-lib.org.au/lists/viv/viv.shtml March 8, 2001.