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Discussion on Whether Scientists Should Be Allowed to Test Products on Animals

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Maybelline, Axe, Dove, Colgate, Pampers, etc. These everyday products are the cause of millions of animals deaths all around the world. The products that consumers casually rub into their hands and hair, or dress their babies in were first used on animals. Simple trial and error over and over again to get to exactly what people do to perfect their products. The rights of animals have been a controversial topic for many years in past and still serves as a problem today. Debates about whether it was humane enough Greek physician-scientists such as “Aristotle and Erasistratus experimented on living animals.” Greek physicians did animal experimentation to gain more understanding of “anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology”. Over 100 million animals deaths were caused by testing alone. Animals of all types are shocked, burned, blinded, and even starved just so scientists can test human products on them. Many believe that the benefits of testing on animals overrides the downside of it because it means that less human lives are at risk. Several countries such as, “Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany have also banned the use of animals in cosmetic testing” to make the testing slightly more humane, but the question still remains at hand. Animal testing should not be allowed; it is not accurate, it is cruel and pointless. The overall question is, is animal testing really worth all the cruel and daunting deaths?

There is countless evidence proving that animal testing does not mean that the products are, safe to be used on humans. Animals are different from the inside and outside and though it may be similar to humans in some ways, it is still, ultimately, different. The Food and Drug Administration reports that ninety-two percent of the drugs that passed to be used on humans did not pass the tests to be allowed to actually be used by people. The FDA’s purpose is to protect public human health from dangers. That includes potential dangers such as cosmetic products, medical devices, drugs, and food. It is proven that even if something is safe for a monkey or a rabbit, it is not okay for a person. Many may argue that animal testing should be allowed because it will reduce the risk of losing a human life and a human is worth more than an animal. Animal research has helped in the discovery in some solutions to diseases and new medicines such as in the discovery of insulin that was taken from the pancreas’ of dogs. However, even if people ignored the feelings of a lab rat, the results of lab experiments cannot be denied. In a test where there were ninety-three different reactions related to forty-three different molecule drugs, only nineteen percent were shown when it was used on animals. It is too great of a risk to allow humans to consume or use medicines that have not been fully discovered.

Another argument is that some animals share a large percentage of the same DNA as humans. Studies show that genetically, chimpanzees share ninety-nine percent of their DNA with humans, and mice, ninety-eight percent. The belief that all mammals have descended from the same ancestor leads to the belief that the organs and the bodily systems of these animals are the same as the very ones in the body of humans.

The biggest risk scientists are taking is not using imperfect products on people, but it is believing that they can replace a human with a furry little mammal. It completely defeats the purpose of doing these experiments if eighty-one percent of the side effects do not show in animals but do in people. A drug called thalidomide was used back in the 1950s and 1960s as a sleeping pill and to cure morning sickness during pregnancy, however, it caused several thousands of babies to be born with deformities, such as phocomelia, a congenital deformity in which the limbs are greatly undeveloped. It was tested on animals before it was released to pregnant women in many different countries and was even advertised to be completely safe and that the creators could not find a dose high enough to kill a rat. Although this was in decades in the past, it does not change the fact that scientists still take the risk of assuming something safe on animals will be safe to people. It would be just as cruel to harm a being that has not even been birthed. There are several products that might not affect a pregnant animal but will to a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. A standard test on pregnant rats is only able to identify about sixty percent of any harmful or dangerous substances that can affect a developing baby. Testing on cells itself has a hundred percent accuracy at identifying any harmful substances. Even if there were hundreds of tests done on a pregnant rat, cat, or monkey some things just will not show. If a scientist was to be so sure that all the effects on a rat were the effects it would have on a baby, it would put even more lives at risk than if it were just tested on a human being to begin with.

The Earth has given us so much, for us to repay it by killing creatures and testing on them for no essential reason is just cruel. Earth is home to many beautiful and unique organisms. Poaching organisms for selfish reasons can result in loss of biodiversity, which in the end harms humans as well. People rely on animals to survive, whether it is for food or shelter. People should not rely on animals for their own selfish desires.

In 1959, Russell and Burch introduced the three R’s, and it is not reduce, reuse and recycle; which is a commonly known phrase to reduce the amount of waste produced. They introduced replacement, reduction, and refinement. Replacement means to avoid or replace the use of animals. Full replacement would mean to completely avoid the use of the animals and to solely rely on human volunteers, human cells and tissues, and computer models and simulations. Partial replacement is using animals, but only animals that are not considered capable of feeling pain, such as invertebrates. The pharmaceutical industry uses the most drugs, constantly developing new and improved drugs without the use of animals. They use molecular biology, computer simulations, and robotics to examine and choose any other potential drugs and medicines. Reduction means to minimize the number of animals used in each experiment. Scientists can share data and resources with other groups to reduce the number of animals used. They can even share the same animals so that they can all study the effects of a drug they are all using. Rather than using thousands of rats for several different chemicals or drugs, only a few rats should be used to study the products the scientists are working on. This method allows for more information to be gathered which each animal to be maximized. If the number of animals used are too low, then the results would not be very reliable then more tests would have to be done to fully gather information. On the other hand, if too many animals are used to test the same product over and over, then resources and animal lives are needlessly wasted.

The point of reducing is to get more done with less. Refinement means to “minimise the pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm that may be experienced by research animals”. Refinement is not only for the benefits of the animals, but it is also better for the scientists because the amount of stress placed on the animals can definitely change the results they provide. Animals and humans are given anaesthetics before a surgery, and painkillers are given afterward. The same should be done for the animals tested on to minimize the suffering. Painkillers may not save them from all the pain they will have to go through, but at least they will die in a more humane way. “The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in 2016 that 71,370 animals suffered pain during experiments while being given no anesthesia for relief, including 1,272 nonhuman primates, 5,771 rabbits, 24,566 guinea pigs, and 33,280 hamsters”. It is clear that the smaller the mammal is, the more they are tested on. Just because an animal is smaller, it does not mean their life is less valuable than another. They feel the same pain and suffer the same conditions. Improving their living conditions is called “environmental enrichment”. Dogs, rabbits, rats, etc. are all very social animals. They should be kept in groups so that they have a chance to socialize. While they are not being used, they should be given toys to play with, comfortable homes to live in, and a healthy diet. All animals should have the right to live properly to add to their enjoyment. In-vitro testing is using cells and tissues in Petri dishes to do research of how the cells would react. This method could be used to test chemicals, drugs, skin products, and toxicology. “Vaccine development and testing — for rabies and polio, for example — has been radically changed and improved by the use of cell cultures instead of living animals.” Studying the cells in Petri dishes would produce more relevant and accurate results because human cells can be used. If there is a quicker and more efficient way of getting things done, it should be utilized to save both time and money. Microfluidic chip testing is using chips that contain tissues from different parts of the body that are connected “by microchannels through which a blood substitute flows, mimicking pathways and processes in the body”. Many people have donated human tissue so it can be experimented on. This way, it is at least voluntary instead of forced. It also does not cause any living being pain because it is not on an actual human. Companies such as EpiDerm and ThinCert have created artificial human skin that is made from sheets of human skin cells are were grown in test tubes or plastic wells. The results and information that would be provided through testing on human skin would be far better than on animal skin.

After all, the products would be used on humans only. Another alternative method is microdosing, which means that a human can be tested on but not harmed. Microdosing means to give someone small doses of a drug that is large enough to affect the cells but not the entire body or the person itself. Through this method, scientists can study how a human cell reacts to a new drug and or chemical. This is definitely a better option because the goal of testing on something living is to see what effects it will have. Of course, no rabbit will be taking cough medicine or using eyeliner, so it is best to test it on a person that will potentially use those things for the “best results”. Lastly, the use of computer models and human simulations can replace the use of animals. This method uses “virtual human organs, metabolism programs, and other computer- and math-based approaches to studying the human body structure, functions, and reactions”. It can be used to study and test the effects and uses of new technologies and how “new drugs will react in the human body” without endangering anyone or anything. It can replace animals by making “sophisticated” estimates of how likely it is for a substance is to be hazardous. There are human simulations that are so realistic that they can “breathe, bleed, convulse, talk, and even “die”. Students are taught “physiology and pharmacology” through human simulations so that they will not have to hurt anything during an experiment but are still able to freely test out their skills and new products. If students can learn from using that, then scientists can use it to test a new drug to see what type of reaction it would give. By using trial and error they can find out how much of each dose a person should have or how often they should have these doses. We are needlessly cruel to these animals. These animals spend their entire lives deprived of love, happiness, and joy. Though they are not human, people tend to forget that they have feelings and emotions as well. They feel pain like we can and it is too much to forcefully drop poison into their eyes, or burn off their skin. They spend their entire life behind a tiny cage starved, unloved, and ignored. “U.S. law allows animals to be burned, shocked, poisoned, isolated, starved, drowned, addicted to drugs, and brain-damaged”.

No painkillers of any kind are not required to be used during or after any experiments. Although there are some scientists that are willing to use painkillers, many opt to not bother paying much attention. These animals are infected with diseases that they would normally not contract, tiny mice grow tumors as large as their own bodies, kittens are purposely blinded, rats are made to suffer seizures, and primates’ skulls are cut open and electrodes are implanted in them”. Force feeding is inhuman, cruel, and degrading. Animals have food forcefully shoved down their throats while they are being restrained. Their heads are split open so that wires can be attached to their brains, their bodies are mutilated and their spines are crushed. Video footage has been taken from inside some of these laboratories and in the videos, the animals are shown cowering in unknown fear every time someone walks by. These animals cannot tell if they are going to be dragged out of their tiny metal cages to get injected with another poison or have their heads split open. Even if it is not their turn to have procedures done on them, they can surely hear the painful cries of their fellow animals. The fear that comes with screech and cry for help instills more fear in the other animals who potentially next in line. Each and every time they are taken out of their cages it means they are going to be injected, have a procedure done, surgery, and ultimately death. Every day is a battle of life and death. A 2017 study has shown other flaws such as, ‘incorrect data interpretation, unforeseen technical issues, incorrectly constituted (or absent) control groups, selective data reporting, inadequate or varying software systems, and blatant fraud”. Majority of these animals are just killed or left to die after the experiments anyway, meaning the “wellbeing” of these innocent animals are regularly sacrificed to poor and defective research. Millions of dollars are spent on performing these experiments. Senator Jeff Flake’s book, “Wastebook”, features several things that the government has wasted tons of money on, hence the name “Wastebook”. One of those things were animal testing. According to Flake, over $7.3 million dollars was wasted on animal studies in alone. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, has found that $56.4 millions dollars of government funding has been spent on animal experiments despite the repeated failures, lack to development and improvement. As stated in the previous paragraphs, animal testing cannot be completely trusted because the countless evidence proves that it is not accurate, it is cruel and pointless. The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration reported that 92 percent of drugs that were tested on animals were not approved, and even from the little bit of the remaining 8 percent, “half are withdrawn or relabeled due to severe or lethal adverse effects not detected during animal tests”.

Majority of the tests are wasted on failures and defective tests. The millions of dollars that go toward these experiments are being tossed away instead of being used for more useful and productive things. That money can be spent on alternate methods of animal testing or testing on humans. Scientists purposely infect mice, kittens, and primates with diseases they would never contract if it were not for our inhumane acts. Mice are forced to grow tumors the size of their own bodies, primates’ bodies are cold bloodedly mutilated; their skulls are split open for people to poke around and plant tiny machines into it. Their spines are crushed so they can be easily used by scientists. The same procedures and experiments are repeated over and over, with few successful results. These animals are born within the laboratories never experience the love and care they deserve. Born into tiny metal cages where they cower in fear every time someone walks by, hearing the painful screams from other poor animals suffering the same fate. While people join programs to help them abandon their addiction to drugs and other harmful substances; animals are purposely and forcefully place into the environment where they have no choice but to suffer from drug addictions and to inhale toxic fumes. The irony of what the animals are put through trumps the purpose of the experimentations itself. They are “subjected to maternal deprivation, deafened, blinded, burned, stapled, and infected with disease viruses”.

No living being deserves to be put in a situation where they have nothing coming for them except for a painful death. In several instances, there are undercover investigations in “labs and universities” where regulations and policies are violated and neglected. To avoid this, there have been several alternative methods such as, “the use of human volunteers, cell and tissue cultures, synthetic membranes, statistics, scanning technologies, and computer models”. Computer simulations are much more beneficial in terms of “economics”. Ways that people can help prevent animal testing is by writing emails or letters to the “U.S. National Institutes of Health and tell them you don’t want your tax dollars used to underwrite animal experiments”, “U.S. EPA and FDA, urging them to stop requiring cruel and obsolete animal tests, and to approve other testing methods”, not buying any stock from companies that test on animals, and to only donate to charities that do not use animals. Further support for companies that heartlessly torture such animals will only encourage them to go to further measures to do more merciless acts of torture covered up by the word, “experiment”. The future offers so many different ways to create and improve new products so animal testing should not be used as often as it is. The three R’s provide a plethora of alternative methods to reduce the use of animals for experimentation. Reducing the number would mean that less animals get hurt in the process but scientists can still experiment and test out new products on something. Even if the number of animals used is not reduced, improving the living quality and environment that the animals spend most of their time in could produce better and more accurate information because they will not be in as much pain and in less stress. While it is understandable that testing on humans seems like an even worse idea because human lives are more valued, animal lives should never be thought so lowly of. Humans are perfectly capable of volunteering to be tested on and willingly donating parts of or even their whole body for the sake of experimentations.

After all, everything they are forced to go through is to benefit humans, even for their own selfish purposes. The least people could do for the laboratories animals is to treat them a little better. The world provides us with so many beautiful animals but people cold-heartedly throw their lives out for selfish and careless reasons.

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