Gabi BrunoMr. ConklinUS History II18 December 2017Animal Testing; Harmful or Helpful? It is animal abuse when someone hurts animals out of anger and frustration, but does having medical reasoning behind it make doing so acceptable? Many scientists and citizens have debated this controversial topic for many years since it was first developed. Some people believe it is not right to test on animals because it is cruel, while others feel it is important to advance in science. One strong opinion on the supporting side, is similar to what Tony Bruno said in an interview with him. Tony stated that “for the survival of mankind and the need to find medical cures, then it is okay to go as far as killing animals during testing” (Bruno, Tony). This is a popular belief that many feel in order to gain crucial knowledge about medicine.
Although those against animal testing have given a strong argument, animal testing is a necessity to sustain life with regards to medical purposes because it helps to advance scientific understanding to find cures. Not only that, but animals are good models to study disease, which means they help develop and test potential forms of treatment as well as protect the safety of people, animals and the environment. As stated in an article from the leading source of controversial issues, animal testing is beneficial because it “helps us understand how living things work, and apply that understanding for the benefit of both humans and animals” (Animal Testing Pro-Con).
By testing certain products and medicines, scientists are able to develop knowledge that helps them gain a better understanding that may not be possible without testing on animals. This is due to the fact that many basic cell processes are the same in all animals. This means that they perform many vital functions such as breathing, digestion, movement, sight, hearing and reproduction. Because of this, scientists can learn what happens to the body when humans become sick and how this can be cured. Since animals are very alike to humans, scientists often test certain medicines and antibiotics on animals to compare and study the differences and similarities between them.
Even the smallest animals have complex systems similar to humans, which is why information can be used from one to help the other. For example, a great amount of information about neurons has been collected from studying the giant squid axon. Human brains send an electrical pulse towards the nerves in the body and receives signals by creating an electrical current. This intrigues many scientists, so they were curious to learn more. Two scientists, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley were determined to figure out how nerve impulses are generated. The axon in a squid, is very large making it very easy to insert whatever the scientists desires. Knowing this information, Hodgkin and Huxley filled the squid axon with substances such as salt solutions or wires to measure the electrical currents that flow in and out of the membrane. This is very useful in the medical world because if a patient has a problem with their nervous system and the communication between the brain and cells, then doctors will know where to look for the cause of the problem after finding out how axons are generated.
Many more animals have given scientists information similar to this that help advance medicine and techniques for many years just simply by testing and studying. Not only are animals and humans so similar, but they also share hundreds of diseases. This means that animals can act as models for the human illness.
One example of an animal being used as a human model, is the dog. Dogs suffer from many illnesses that humans do like cancer, diabetes, cataracts, ulcers and bleeding disorders such as haemophilia. This means that medicine can be applied to dogs to learn how it will affect the human body. One example of when a dog was used to benefit medical research, is the golden retriever. As stated by an article on Animal Research, golden retrievers are “the only animal model that reproduces the human pathology and biochemical mechanisms” (Animal Research).
This means they are an excellent model for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which is the most common type of muscular dystrophy. Researchers took stem cells out of these type of dogs and corrected the mutated gene. Then they placed it back into the dog.
The stem cells were then able to form muscle fiber and restore some level of function to the muscles. This research provided a path for scientists to take to further cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Without using the golden retriever, none of it would have been possible. Animals like cats, mice, rats, and others like those, also share certain diseases with humans making them natural candidates for research into these disorders. Scientists use these models to see how specific diseases will respond in a human’s body.
After scientists discovered how well animals can be used as human models, they can continue to learn about certain diseases. And once they have a sufficient amount of information, they can develop and test potential therapies by applying the research they learned to the animals that are modeled like humans. One example that is similar to this situation, is for Parkinson’s disease. Over the past few years, scientists have researched cures and medicines to help people with Parkinson’s disease. As mentioned in an article titled Why Animals Are used, to further scientist’s understanding of this disease, they used “animal models with induced Parkinson’s-like symptoms” that help to develop medicine for the disease (Why Animals Are Used). Models like animals play an important part when applying biological research to real medical problems.
It is more medically safe to have a real life model similar to a human when trying to apply data found, rather than not having anything to test or experiment with. When scientists are able to use animals to test medicine to find responses and reactions, it has a higher success rate than without using a human model. Data from animal studies is crucial before new techniques and surgical procedures can be tested on humans. When a cure for a disease is discovered, it cannot be applied directly to a human without being tested on a living species. Therefor, new medicines require testing because researchers must measure both the beneficial and the harmful effects of a compound on a whole organism. One argument on the opposing side of animal testing, is that it is inhumane to the animals being tested on.
In an article titled Why Animals Are Used, however, it states that “a medicine is initially tested in vitro using tissues and isolated organs, but legally and ethically it must also be tested in a suitable animal model before clinical trials in humans can take place” (Dog) . This means that no matter how much a scientists do not want to harm the animals, they legally have to test on them to make it safer for humans in the end. By testing in vitro prior to on the animal, scientists are able to predict and infer how the medicine will respond in the animal being tested. If it is predicted that there will be harmful outcomes, then scientists will not put the disease into the testing animal. On the other hand, if it is concluded that there will be great outcomes, then the scientists will continue with their research. Scientists do not test on animals because they want to hurt them or make them suffer. They just want the best for the human race, which means testing and studying animals that are being used to benefit society with there medical research.
Doing so provides efficiency and safety in creating medicine because it adds additional data that will further help how much it will be useful in a human. Taking these precautions identifies potential dangers, risks and safety concerns. Not only does animal testing help to find out which medicine will work and not, but it also determine the doses which will be given to volunteers and patients during the first human trials.
Despite animal testing having many medical benefits, there are still people out there who believe that it is wrong and should not be done. One of the most known reasons, is because it is cruel and inhumane to do such a thing to an animal. According to Humane Society International, animals used in experiments are “commonly subjected to force feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolonged periods of physical restraint, and the infliction of burns and other wounds” (Animal Testing Pro-Con). It is natural for their to be deaths in experiments, because it is simply an experiment and there is no way of knowing the outcome.
Opposers feel that scientists are being barbaric by putting innocent animals in harm’s way. Those against animal testing, however, seem to forget that success does not come without failure. In an interview with Jessica Bruno, she explained how she “believes in testing but not on domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, bunnies and horses” (Bruno, Jessica).
This is a favored belief by many, however, most of the greatest discoveries are found from domesticated animals. For instance, dogs were the first animals to receive an intravenous injection. In an article titled Dog, it states that Sir Christopher Wren “developed a system involving a quill and a pig bladder to inject alcohol into a dog’s veins” (Dog). This procedure resulted into the advancements of blood transfusions which continues to advance today. If scientists were not able to test on domestic animals, who knows where the world medical world would be. Aside from the moral factors in the opposing argument, those against it believe that there are other methods to use. Using other methods, however, does not give the best results.
It is safer to test products on a living animal rather than using different strategies because the medicine could have extreme effects when first used by a human. There is no way of knowing whether or not something will be harmful without testing on a living specimen, and since animals are similar to humans, it makes it that much safer. Many people do not fall on one side or the other, but rather the middle. This often happens when someone is not as informed as others about the topic, however there is still a significant amount of people out there who do know but still stand in the middle.
In an interview with Heather Bruno, she explained how she went to nursing school so she had worked with many people with different viewpoints. Because of this, she stated that “it is wrong to test on animals for cosmetic purposes” (Bruno, Heather). This means that she believes it is okay for animals to be tested on for medicine and techniques, but she does not feel that it is necessary or acceptable to do it for cosmetic purposes.
In today’s society, many techniques have been developed to help scientists learn more about different medicines and diseases. Because of this, the controversial topic about animal research is commonly risen. Animal testing should be done because it gives scientists a better understanding than what they would get without testing on animals. Animals are also similar to humans so they are good models to study from. Therefore they can be used to test treatments of medicine and study diseases which will in turn help to protect everyone involved. Many people feel that animal testing is wrong because it harms innocent animals and because there are other ways to do the same process. Using animals, however, gives scientist’s a living being to test on which gives them more reliable and safer data.Works Cited “A Neuroscience Field Guide: The Squid Giant Axon.
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