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For more than a hundred years, almost every medical breakthrough in human and animal health has been the result of research using animals. The use of animals in research is essential to the development of new and more effective methods for diagnosing and treating diseases that affect both humans and animals. Scientists use animals to learn more about health problems, and to assure the safety of new medical treatments. In order to develop ways to treat them, medical researchers need to understand health problems, some of which involve processes that can only be studied in living organisms. Even your favorite make-up brands like Bobbi Brown, Cover Girl, and Sephora test on animals, along with household products like Arm & Hammer, Band-Aid, and Vaseline.
Roy Scarborough, author of “Monash University Animal Trial Results and Translation to Humans” speaks of the necessity of animal testing. Scarborough states, “Animals make good research subjects for a variety of reasons. First of all, animals are biologically similar to humans. In fact, chimpanzees share more that 99% of DNA with humans and mice share more than 98% DNA with humans, therefore, they are are susceptible to many of the same health problems we are susceptible to. Another reason is that because animals have a shorter life cycle than humans, they can be studied throughout their whole life span or across several generations. In addition, scientists can easily control the environment around animals (their diet, temperature, and lighting), which would be difficult to do with humans.”, (Scarborough, 2012).
In his article, Scarborough also takes note of the fact that although many research labs are currently attempting alternative methods to using animals in research. “Researchers do use non-animal models for research.”, he says. “Computer models, tissue and cell cultures, and a number of other non-animal related research methods are currently used in biomedical research. Computer models are used to screen and determine the toxic level of a substance in the beginning of an experiment and tissue and cell cultures have become valuable additions to the array of research tools and techniques. However, animal testing remains a necessity. For example, blindness cannot be studied in bacteria and it is not possible to study the affects of high blood pressure in tissue cultures.”, (Scarborough, 2012).
There are many others who disagree with Scarborough, one of them being Hannah Devlin, author of “Of Mice and Men – Animal Testing”. Devlin argues that animal testing is not only cruel, but unnecessary. She states, “The world doesn’t need another eyeliner, hand soap, food ingredient, drug for erectile dysfunction, or pesticide so badly that it should come at the expense of an innocent animal’s life.”. (Devlin 2015)
As her article progresses, Devlin tells her readers she feels animal testing no longer has a place in our modern world. She says, “It was a sad day when the first animal was used in an experiment for human benefit — when the human race decided that because we could, because they cannot say no, we would use them as test subjects. These animals have a right to live in a world without suffering just as much as we do. We should know by now that asserting our dominance over another species does not make us look strong, but rather makes us look weak, as if we’re moving backward, not forward.”, (Devlin, 2015). She closes her article by saying, “We have the capacity to research and develop alternatives that are more accurate and more humane. These alternatives, medically and within product testing, are the way of the future. It’s time to let animals out of the world’s laboratories.”, (Devlin, 2015).
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