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Every year, millions of animals are used to develop medical advancements, check the safety of products destined for human use, or explore effects of products or procedures. Using animals for these purposes constitutes abuse. Animals deserve the same rights that humans have and should not be used as test subjects in modern advancements. Animal dissections have been dated back to early 500 B.C. Aristotle, Herophilus and Erasistratus early Greek physicians have all used animals to perform experiments. They used these animals to discover functions of living organisms. Aristotle beloved that animals were not intelligent, therefore justice and injustice did not apply to them. Theophrastus however disagreed. He believed that animals could feel pain and causing pain to them was an affront to the Gods. Galen, a Greek physician from Rome was giant history of medicine. He engaged in public dissection which included dissecting an elephant.
This was a popular way of entertainment. He performed these experiments to better advance his understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Galen also believed that animal’s physiology was very similar to humans. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher thought that animals were “automata” who could not experience pain or suffer the way humans do. He then realized that animals could feel pain, but could not think. They were unable to consciously experience those feelings. Moorish Spain used animal testing as a method to practice surgical procedures before they were performed on humans. Laws were passed in several countries to make animal testing more “human”. Animals are inferior to humans, but are very different, so results from testing cannot be applied to humans. The 12th century is when drug testing on animals started to become important. In 1937, a pharmaceutical company in the United States made sulfanilamide using diethylene glycol (DEG) as a solvent. DEG was poisonous to humans and it eventually killed more than 100 people. There was not any animal testing done to make sure this product was safe. The public outcry from this event caused the passing of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938. This law requires drugs to be tested on animals before they could be sold.
Animal testing in the early 1800s and 1900s was not a big public objection until the 19th century when the increased of domestic pets fueled interest in an anti-vivisection movement mostly in England. This resulted in the founding of the society for the protection of animals liable to vivisection in 1875. Ivan Pavlov a Russian physiologist conditioned reflex by training dogs to salivate when hearing the sound of a bell. Minor operation took place to open the salivary duct from its natural place on the mucous membrane of the mouth to the skin outside. Next, a small glass funnel was placed to the salivary duct opening with a special cement. The “three Rs” were made to form the basis of many international animal welfare laws. The first R is for Replacement, replacing the use of animals with another alternative method. The second R is Reduction, reducing the use of animals whenever possible. The last R is Refinement, reducing the suffering of animals and improving their living conditions.
Animals were used by the United States space program in 1948 for testing space travel as effects of prolonged weightlessness. Several monkeys died when they were sent on a space flight in the 1940s. Yorick was the first monkey to survive a space flight. He later died from heart stress. The first living animal to reach Earth was a stray dog Laika. Laika died of overheating and panic. On April, 17, 1998, more than two thousands animals were sent to space for neurological testing. The United States military used animals for testing since the Vietnam War. The United States department of defense used 488,237 animals for research and combat trauma training. This included using goats and pigs for gunshot wounds, burns, and amputations for training military medics.
In 2001, a vet from Ohio was infecting cats with the AIDs virus to study why methamphetamine users deteriorated faster from symptoms of AIDs. The national research council of the national academy of sciences called for the reduction of animal testing and more of the use of in vitro methods using human cells in 2007. March of 2013, the European Union banned the sale and import of cosmetic products that contained ingredients that were tested on animals. China is the only major market that still requires testing on all cosmetics products. This will be waivered for shampoo and perfume. Most of the 310 chimpanzees that were used for testing in May of 2007 will be retired in June 2013 and over the next few years. The Texas Biomedical research claimed that fifty chimps were not enough to make better developments in preventions and cures for Hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B and C kills millions of people each year. All the chimps were retired in 2015. The only person to have experimented on chimps was Gabon (para. 28). Animal testing has been regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This act was passed in 1966 and was amended in 1970, 1976, and 1985. The AWA defines “animal” as any live or dead dog, cat, monkey, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or other warm blooded animal. There are animals that are excluded from this act and this includes birds, rats, mice, cool-blooded, and farm animals used for food and other purposes. The acts also requires each research facility develop an internal Institutional Animal Committee to represent society’s concerns regarding the welfare off animal subjects. This has to be comprised of three members. One member has to be a veterinarian, and one member must be unaffiliated with the institution. The food, drug, and cosmetic act was passed in 1938. This act required companies to prove that their products were safe and effective before putting them on the market. Animal studies are funded by United States Public Health Service (PHS) agencies, which include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are regulated by the Public Health Servce Policy on Humane Care and use of laboratory animals. All PHS funded institutions have to base their animal cares on the guide for the Care and use of laboratory animals and on the AWA.
The number of animals used for research each year are reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In 2010, 1,134,693 animals were used. This number excludes the animals that are not covered by the AWA. The number of animals not counted range from 85% – 96% of the total of all animals used for testing. The USDA breaks down pain types into three categories. The first category is animals that experience pain, but are given drugs to reduce the pain. In 2010, 339,769 animals experienced this category. The second category is animals that experience pain, but are not given drugs to reduce the pain. 97,123 animals in 2010 were in this category. The last category is animals that do not experience pain and are not given drugs to reduce the pain. 697,801 animals were in this category. The United States first recognized animal rights in 1822, with the passage of the III-treatment of cattle act. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was founded to bring worldwide attention to the issue of animal rights in 1866. Animal rights are based on the belief that animals are equal, and have the same rights and interests that humans do. This means that animals could not be used for entertainment, food, clothing, and experiments. This gives animals the three basic rights: life, liberty, equality, security, and freedom from enslavement.
Peter Singer is one of the founders of the animal rights movement. The main difference between humans and animals seemed to be their consciousness. Animal testing is ant scientific experiment that an animal undergoes that cause suffering, pain, or lasting harm. 100 million animals in the United States suffer every year because of animal testing. Some of these tests include; chemical, food, drug, medical training, cosmetics, dissection, medical experiments at universities, and biology experiments. Some examples of animal testing is forcing mice and rats to inhale toxic fumes, force feeding dog’s pesticides, and dropping chemicals into the sensitive eyes of rabbits. Humans are different from animals that research often gets irrelevant results. Stress caused from the animals living conditions can develop neurotic behaviors such as; biting themselves, rocking back and forth, spinning in circles, and pulling out their fur. Almost all of these animals will be killed after that have endured a life full of loneliness and pain.
Nine hundred and four thousand, one hundred and forty-seven animals that are covered by the AWA were held in labs last year, and 767,622 of these animals were used in research. These numbers do not include animals that are not covered by the AWA which include: mice, rats, fish and birds. Some of the animals used for research include: guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, dogs, pigs, sheep, other farm animals, cats, birds, fish, mice, and rats. The animal that is used the most are hamsters. Vertebrate animals and some invertebrate animals need permission to be able to use for experiments. Animals like mice, amphibians, fish and birds need no legal permission to use for experiments.
A very large percentage of animal testing causes “moderate” or “severe” suffering to the animal. Almost all of these animals being used will be killed after the experiment is over. Some of the tests that animals have to suffer through are; skin sensitization, eye irritancy, neurotoxicity, and mutagenicity. Animals that are used in laboratories are deliberately harmed. Laboratories are indoor environments where animals are forced to live in cages. Animals living in labs are denied their freedom movement and of control over their lives. They are denied attention and are treated badly if they do not cooperate. Most labs put the animals in cages by themselves and without others. Human Society International stated that cosmetic animal testing is still legal in eighty percent of the world and 300,000 animals die from these cosmetic testing’s every year just in China. India, Israel, and the European Union all banned the sale of any cosmetics or cosmetic products that include ingredients that have been tested on animals. This means that companies all around have to abandon animal testing on cosmetic products if they want to sell in these big markets. In the United States there is no ban on testing cosmetics on animals, so companies can choose if they want to test their products on animals. Some of these tests include; making animals breathe in poisonous fumes or having lethal chemicals poured into their eyes or rubbed into their skins. These tests causes enormous pain and no pain relief is given to these animals. Even though there are many non-animal tests out there, cosmetic animal testing still continues. Some of these alternative options are growing or purchasing human skin cultures to use for skin irritation testing. Another alternative is using cornea 3D tissue structures produced from human cells to drop chemicals into to measure the amount of time it takes for the chemical to burn the cornea instead of using rabbit’s eyes.
Millions of live animals are tortured in high school labs and university biology and psychology demonstrations every year. Some of the animals are alive for the dissection and some are not. Animals used for these dissections are taken from the wild, slaughterhouses, or purchased from “Class B dealers” which gets their animals from shelters and free to good home ads. Turtle’s shells are smashed, so that the heart can be viewed. The brains of frogs are destroyed with pins and their muscles are stimulated with electricity. Rabbits are drowned and fetal pigs are cut from their mothers bodies after the mother is killed. American Medical Association does not recommend the use of animals as part of curriculum for high schools. Using another method instead of using animals would help students develop a better understating of anatomy, cognitive and manual skills, and confidence using videos, books, activity sets and physical and virtual models. Students learn to respect living beings, and start to appreciate and understand the role of animals in nature.
Ninety-eight percent of medical schools do not use animals to teach their students. Medical emergency courses do use pigs, dogs, sheep, and goats for trauma training. Needles are stabbed into their hearts and holes are cut into their chest and throats. Animals are also used for military training drills, pediatric programs, and other courses to practice using surgical tools. Human diseases do not typically occur in animals, therefore scientists have to insert, delete, and alternate their genes to match those of humans.
Most people at all the stages of their education career are not comfortable using animals for education. More than half of these people oppose animal testing. Using animals can traumatize them, foster insensitivity towards animals, and prevent some people from pursuing careers in science or medicine. Non-animal methods allow the students to repeat the procedure as many times as they need to become confident with it. Physicians that are in training are now taught through didactic methods, human-patient simulators, interactive computer programs, safe human-based training methods, and clinical experience. There are many alternative methods that can be used for medical purposes like; in vitro testing, computer modeling, research with human volunteers, and human-patient simulators. These alternative methods can often be cheaper, faster and more relevant to humans.
Harvard’s Wyss created the In vitro testing. This testing method “organs-on-chips” contains human cells grown in a system, so that they have the same structure and function of human’s organs and organ systems. These chips can be used for disease research, toxicity testing, and drug testing. Using this method replicate drug responses and human physiology more accurately than using animals would.
Researchers have developed computer modeling to simulate human biology and the progression of diseases. These computer models can accurately predict the ways that new drugs will react in humans. Computer simulators are used to determine the safety of chemicals. A chemical program called Tox21 uses virtual models to re-create the effect a certain chemical would have on the body. Using human volunteers replaces the use of animals in seeing how drugs will react in a human body. The volunteers are given a small one-time drug dose and are monitored to see how the drug behaves.
The use of human-patient simulators that bleed, breathe, convulse, talk, and even die have been seen to teach students pharmacology and physiology better than using animals. Ninety-seven percent of medical schools around the world as replace animal laboratories with human-patient simulators. For emergency courses a system called TraumaMan is used. This model has layers of skin and tissue, ribs and organs.
There are many things that can be done to stop the use of animals for testing. Join PETA’s action team, donate to charities that do not experiment on animals, buy cosmetic products that are cruelty-free, pushing the government to stop funding experiments on animals, funding non-animal methods, and helping students and teachers end dissections.
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