Animal Testing: Necessary and Humane in Modern Practice
History of Animal Testing
Diseases Treated in Animals
Parvo, Leukemia, Rabies
Diseases Treated in Humans
Polio, Anthrax, Smallpox
Laws Governing Testing
Negative Aspects of Testing
Loopholes in Law
Alternatives to Animal Testing
Conclusion Animal Testing: Necessary and Humane in Modern Practice
The struggle against sickness and disease is not over, yet medical progress is being threatened by activists who would end the use of laboratory animals in the search for treatment and cures. Their well financed anti-research disinformation campaign is not the only weapon used by animal rights activists. The more extreme animal rights activists have used tactics of intimidation and terrorism. For example, on April 26, 1997, activists were arrested when they tried to force their way into Yerkes Regional Primate center during a protest. On July 21,1997, The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) set fire to Cavel West, a horse rendering plant. And on July 5,1998, The ALF broke into a laboratory at Cornell University and released dozens of woodchucks into the wild (Americans for Medical Progress). These are only a few examples of intimidation that activists use to get their misguided point across. The animals used in those labs were all for medical research, they were not being used for cosmetic studies. A few of the areas being studied in these animals were liver cancer, hepatitis, and tissue sampling to treat birth defects of the skull in children. In order to decide whether the opinions voiced by animal activists are founded or appropriate, we must answer a simple question: Are the benefits of animal experimentation worth the experience that the laboratory animal must endure?
The use of animals in the life sciences goes back to ancient Greece and the earliest medical experiments. To learn about swallowing, ancient physicians cut open the throat of a living pig. To study the heart they cut into its chest. For centuries, physicians and researchers used animals to enhance their knowledge about how the various organs and systems of the body functioned, as well as to improve their surgical skills. As this knowledge grew, new scientific disciplines were born. First physiology, and pharmacology, and much later bacteriology, and immunology evolved as animal experimentation became more widespread. Without testing or experimentation of animals none of this would have evolved. Human beings are not the only species who benefit from animal testing. Table 1 depicts the advances in biomedical research for animals. Without animal research humans and animals would still be dying or totally wiped out from these diseases.
Advances in Vaccines for Animals
Canine Feline Both Species
Parvo Virus Feline Respiratory Disease Distemper
Hepatitis Feline Leukemia Rabies
Source: Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation. “Advances in Medicine Through Animal Research.” http://www.amprogress.org/history.htm (7, Nov. 2011).
Heart disease in cats has been eliminated by supplementing diets with Taurine, which also prevented Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS). A rapid and accurate test now facilitates diagnosis of the insect-transmitted disease Heartworm. The test for which was also developed through animal experimentation. Spread by ticks, Lyme Disease causes arthritis as well as heart and Kidney problems in dogs. Animal research led to a vaccine to prevent infection, as well as more accurate diagnostic techniques. Many endangered species now have a chance of surviving thanks to biomedical research on in vitro fertilization and embryo transplant techniques.
Animals are not the only beings to benefit from experimentation on them, humans too have benefitted throughout the ages from these tests. Whooping Cough, one of the worlds most dreaded diseases is a highly communicable respiratory disease characterized by short, dry coughs and is