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ANIMAL TESTING Anne Williams 6/7 Blue February 10, 2009 Medicine, cosmetics, and various cleaning products are all things that we use in everyday life. Having them in our lives should definitely not be taken for granted, as it took a lot of work to make them. Not only did they need to be thought up and created, but they needed to be safety tested on animals. Animal testing is a controversial matter because many people feel that animals’ rights are being violated. Animals go through a series of procedures to see whether a product is safe or not. The main question asked is whether it is worth going through the trouble of testing on animas. The definition for animal testing is the use of animals (not including humans) in scientific experimentation (1). Research usually occurs in places such as universities, pharmaceutical corporations, medical schools, and farms (1). Animal testing has been around for many years, and it has been used for many different purposes (8). Tests are conducted for specific purposes such as genetics, development, behavioral studies, toxicology, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and education (1). The most commonly used animals are mice, rats, rabbits, fish, birds, and non-human primates (1). Mice are used the most because of their reproduction rate (1). There are two main types of research that animals are put through: pure research, and applied research (1). Pure research basically is when scientists test animals for no particular purpose. They try to detect growth patterns, interaction between species, and development (1). The information gained from experimentation is kept for later experiments. Applied research is when animals are tested for specific and practical problems (1). Usually the pharmaceutical industry carries it out. Animal testing affects humans in many ways. More than 136 billion dollars are spent annually on animal experimentation (4). Also, it has been shown that animal tests are not entirely reliable (2). More than 60% of the time, drugs that have passed animal experiments either injured or killed humans (4). This is related to the study that one species cannot be used to test for other animals, which may affect the results of experimentation. In advertisements for prescription drugs, a list of side effects that may occur are always mentioned, but it has been shown in some cases that side effects not shown in animal tests may be present in humans. There are many alternatives to animal testing. Probably the most widely used and the most useful, in vitro research provides an alternative to testing on live animals (6). Its main function is to see how illness-causing bacteria works (6). Those experiments are sets in controlled environments such as test tubes and Petri dishes, so the bacteria can work the way it would in animals. Another alternative would be to use computer and mathematical modeling (6). With the advancement of technology, modeling simulates tissue growth. Computer and mathematical modeling has been useful for treating conditions such as breast cancer, AIDS, and blood pressure (8). Modeling is also used for cosmetics testing, along with cell and tissue cultures, and corneas from eye banks (5). Because of these other practices, over 500 companies have stopped the testing on live animals, and have switched to the above methods (6). Because the use of animals in research is such a widely used practice, there are certain regulations that must be followed (7). For example, in the Animal Welfare Acts, it is stated that when a company tests on animals, the number of animals used in experimentation must be counted (7). However, the animals counted do not include mice, rats, and birds (1). It may or may not be a coincidence that those particular animals are used the most in testing. The definition of “animal” has been changed many times (1). This is because they wanted to include certain species in protective legislation and that others are excluded (1). In the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, any scientific procedure can be performed on an animal if it can be scientifically justified (7). Also, in every institution, there must be an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (7). The IACUC needs to make sure that all alternatives have been considered, and the experiment isn’t unnecessarily repeated (7). Pain relief must be given, unless it interferes with the experiment (7). The FD&C Act doesn’t specifically mandate the use of animals in testing for cosmetics’ safety. They do, however, encourage cosmetics’ companies to use whatever testing is effective and appropriate. The manufacturers have full responsibility when it comes to making sure that all of their products are safe before they are put on the market. Sometimes while considering available alternatives, some corporations may determine that animal testing is necessary. At first, when many people find out about animal testing, they are immediately shocked and appalled to hear that “poor little animals” are being put through mutilating experiments. But there is more to it than that. There are both pros and cons on the issue of animal testing, and the following paragraphs will highlight the main arguments both for and against the use of animals in research. There are many benefits to animal testing. The first and most obvious benefit would be the amount of drugs that have been created and passed due to tests on animals. Many vaccinations have been developed due to testing on animals. These vaccinations include for Herpes simplex, Hepatitis B, Polio, rabies, malaria, and mumps (8). Many of those diseases are life threatening, and without the creation of those vaccinations the world population would not be as large as it is today. It is better to see how drugs react with tissues than with computer models (8). Anesthesia was also developed after being successfully tested on animals (8). Not only do humans benefit from research, but other species prosper from animal testing. Heart worm medication was developed because of research on animals (8). This has saved the lives of numerous dogs. There are also many down sides to animals being tested for drugs and cosmetics. First of all, nearly all the animals are euthanized immediately after experimentations (3). Billions of animals die annually because of testing (1). Because the animals never sign a deal allowing for them to be tested on, many consider animal tests to be inhumane. Apparently, several animal tests are never scientifically validated. An example of this would be the rodent cancer tests that the European Union (EU) wants to carry out (2). Also side effects not shown in animal tests are present in humans often, which can be either serious or mild (6). In conclusion, animal testing is a controversial issue that people argue about all the time. It impacts us all, and because of that, there are many laws that regulate animals used in research. There are both sides to the argument, but for now, animal testing will continue to be a major part of our lives.
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