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American Animal Testing

There are currently laws in place to protect animals, such as dogs and cats, from being abused or mistreated. The punishment for breaking this law can be anywhere from a small fine to two years in jail. An exception to these laws are animals used in research facilities. What makes a rabbit in a cage at home any different than a rabbit in a cage at a laboratory? There is no physical difference, only the law that decides the treatment they receive and the punishment of those who deliver the treatment. It should be illegal to harm any animal regardless of the situation.

Testing usually involves using animals to test chemical, drug, food, and cosmetic products. Animals can also be used to practice surgical procedures before applying them to human patients. Millions of animals have been tortured, harmed, or killed because of the ruthlessness of those who conduct the tests. Some people believe animal testing is the only way to advance medically and not risk human lives, but they are wrong. There are other alternatives, such as using cell and tissue cultures, that allow for even better and more accurate results without animals being harmed in the process.

Because of the difference in anatomy, tests performed on animals are unreliable and inaccurate. One reason is because human bodies metabolize certain drugs differently than an animal’s body. Animal testing is animal cruelty and is no longer necessary due to technological advances. Technologic advancements has allowed alternative methods to animal testing that are even more accurate. Because of this, there is no longer a need to test on animals, yet it is still the most practiced form of experimentation in the world. Because we need to know the effects and side effects of products, we wrongly test them on animals.

Although it is not known how many animals are currently being tested on, it is estimated to be in the millions says Kim Masters Evans, author of Animal Rights. The animals that usually die from procedures such as testing drugs and products and practicing medical and surgical procedures are called laboratory animals. These animals are not protected by animal cruelty laws, therefore, no one is penalized for the death of millions of laboratory animals. Most laboratories, according to Laura Perdew, author of Animal Rights Movement, are unregulated.

The conditions are horrendous and the testing the animals undergo is likely to involve excruciating pain. For example, in a test known as the Draize test, rabbits are held in full body restraints leaving only their heads exposed. Their eyelids are held open while researchers drop corrosive chemical substances into their eyes. Many of the rabbits break their necks and die slowly and painfully while struggling to escape. Most of these animals are euthanized when testing is finished. This adds to the enormous number of deaths from animal testing.

Wade Roush, author of Science article “Hunting for Animal Alternatives,” states that animals are being tested on though there are other options. In the Netherlands, a law passed requiring that biomedical researchers not use animal methods for testing. The number of animals used in the Netherlands has dropped sixty percent in the last forty years. Since the law was passed, they have been looking for alternatives and have discovered many, putting them far ahead of everyone else in the world in trying to discover alternatives to animal testing. Some alternatives found work even better than using animals, yet we still use them.

These new alternatives should be used worldwide to stop the abuse of millions of animals. Through 2001 until 2008, studies have shown that more and more people are starting to see that animal testing is unneeded and very inhumane (Evans). The people, along with new alternatives, can help change the fate of millions of animals worldwide. Educating the public on the subject is a big step in ending the cruelty of animal testing. Many animals die, get injured, or endure a lot of pain due to these experiments. Some experience irritancy tests, and some are given lethal doses of chemicals to judge how much is needed to cause death.

Some tests are still performed though they do not serve to help humans says Haugen, author of At Issue article “Animal Experimentation,” In fact, many tests whose purpose is to help humans still fail because animal testing is not as reliable as the alternatives. Justin Goodman, author of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals article, “It’s Long Past Time to Free Chimpanzees from Laboratories,” states that chimpanzees have been tested on since the 1950s. It started when a dozen of them were brought to the states for violent testing in crashes.

Many of them either broke their necks, had their skin burned off, experienced severe head trauma, and even died. Since then, thousands of chimpanzees, if not more, have died in horrible and tragic ways. For example, a laboratory housing 700 chimps was discovered with the chimps living in cages so small they could barely even stand properly. They suffered in pain and loneliness in a basement secluded from sunshine and interactions (Goodman). A turn for the better occurred in 2013 when the National Institutes of Health announced they were going to cut all funding to experiments on chimps and retired 310 out of 360 chimpanzees.

But, in 2015, it was discovered that the NIH pledge to release most of the monkeys was taking too long to occur and many chimps ended up dying after being promised freedom (Goodman). If more people knew about the issue and pushed for the freedom of those chimps, they may have released them sooner. When conducting eye irritancy tests, albino rabbits are put in holding stocks to keep their heads in place while substances are dropped into their eyes under no anesthesia. They test for eye tissue deterioration or other symptoms over the course of three days.

The animals receive no anesthesia (Haugen). Another form of torturous and painful testing is called lethal dose testing, formerly known as “acute toxicity testing”. During these tests, a substance is put into the animal from one of many different ways and it is documented how many die, the results may even be one hundred percent of all the animals tested (Haugen). Other side effects may be convulsions, bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth, labored breathing, or diarrhea. Lethal dose testing and eye irritancy testing are both unreliable (Haugen).

The testing is unreliable due to the differences between animals and humans. Animal testing is not accurate due to the differences between human and animal anatomy, physiology, and metabolism. The Economist article, “Be Nice to Mice… Animal Testing,” notes that only one in every ten drugs tested on animals actually works on humans. This is because they are fed a lot to keep their bodies warm since they are kept in cool conditions. The cool conditions are said to keeps their temper at bay. But eating as much as they do alters the way they metabolize the drug.

There are many different factors that are involved that make animal testing results difficult to translate into a hypothesis for what human results would be. James-Enger, author of Vegetarian Times article “Beyond Animal Testing,” states that using animals to predict how humans will react to the same drug or medical treatment is not a good experiment due to the difference in anatomy between humans and animals. Even testing animals with similar DNA, like chimpanzees, is not a good test because they do not react the same way as humans.

For example, chimps, being our closest relatives, still did not contract AIDS when introduced to the HIV virus (Kelly). Another faulty test occurred when testing a drug called fenphen. Animals showed no serious side effects, but when tested on humans it caused heart-valve defects and was taken off the market (Kelly). There are quite a few recalls due to the inaccuracy of animal experimentation. It has also been prevalent that many tests have been over tested for no reason as the same results occur every time. For example, maternal deprivation (Kelly).

Monkeys have undergone these test frequently, though little to no constant results are found. Immediately after birth, the infant monkeys are taken from their mothers. They are then isolated and subjected to panic-inducing test such as being left alone with a live snake. After the tests are conducted, the monkeys are simply killed and dissected. The horrific experiments and pain laboratory animals experience is heart breaking and unnecessary due to new technology and inaccurate results. Many drugs that are approved by animal testing are ineffective on humans or harm humans.

According to Pycroft and Martson, authors of News Internationalist article, “Is Animal Testing Necessary to Advance Medical Research? ,” the human body is by far the most complex organism in existence, making it extremely difficult for certain drugs that work on animals to also work on humans. Data derived from animals does not transfer over to humans due to the differences in anatomy, genetics, and metabolism. Yes, drugs and medical treatment must be tested on something, but animals are not the answer. “The most obvious problem is the fundamental biological difference between humans and the animals used in research.

The inner workings of a rat and human may be similar, but they are by no means identical. When it comes to drug discovery and development, these limitations can jeopardize every segment of the pharmaceutical pipeline, from synthesis to prescription. Side effects are missed, and millions of dollars are wasted. Even if a new chemical entity is deemed safe at the animal stage, it still only had an eight percent chance of being approved for human use,” says John Ericson, author of Newsweek article, “Breakthrough Might Mean the End of Animal Testing. It is astounding how little accuracy drugs tested on animals actually have.

So many animals die for these experiments and only eight percent of the products tested work on both animals and humans. Pycroft and Martson also state that one incident in particular occurred, called the thalidomide disaster, in which tens of thousands of children were born with severe deformities despite animal testing showing no signs of this birth defect. Pregnant mothers would take thalidomide to prevent nausea and their babies would be born with phocomelia, or limb deformities.

Animal testing is not always correct and can wreck havoc since it is not a reliable source of testing, as it can be very faulty. Animal testing can be avoided by instead using human cells and tissues paired with computer programs to deliver better and more exact results. Alternatives to animal testing are more effective, reliable, and humane. Haugen states that some alternatives to animal testing involve using cell cultures, tissue cultures, corneas from eye banks, or computer or mathematical models. Most cruelty free companies use multiple alternatives along with human clinical studies.

The use of animal testing has decreased in recent years but millions are still being tortured. Since these alternatives are more accurate and people and animals are not harmed during testing, this makes is a smarter and more humane option. Kelly states that one of many alternatives to animal testing being explored is “rational drug design. ” Rational drug design is when the chemical compositions of the drugs being tested are analyzed to predict how humans will react. This is a very effective method that does not involve animal cruelty.

It is, again, more accurate and cruelty free. Pycroft and Martson illustrate that the variations between animals and humans is significant and this is what is taken into consideration when developing alternatives to animal testing. Another alternative involves transgenic animals. These are animals that have been genetically modified in order to more closely match the physiology of humans. Along with these transgenic animals is their short lifespan, which allows scientists to perform different experiments that can not be tested on humans.

Though this method is still using animals, it is more accurate than using an animal that is very different from us. But even still, when genetically modified, there is no animal that can copy humans. Other alternatives include microfluidic chips and micodosing. These techniques analyze the effects of drugs on a human living system (Pycroft and Martson). This method enables human volunteers to be safely substituted for animals in some drug tests. Microdosing involves giving humans doses of a drug high enough to cause cellular effects, but too low to affect the entire body.

They are much more efficient than animal testing and no one is harmed during testing. It is possible to advance greatly in the scientific fields while using these alternatives because they deliver more accurate results. There are an abundance of alternatives to animal testing that allow for better results with no harm done to any animals. It is possible to test the effects and side effects of products or drugs without the use of animals. It is also within our reach to end the suffering of laboratory animals by switching to alternative methods.

These alternative methods are by far the better option, as they result in more accurate testing while not harming animals or humans in the process. So many alternatives to animal testing exist that work more efficiently. Cell cultures, tissue cultures, corneas from eye banks, computer or mathematical models, rational drug design, transgenic animals, microfluidic chips, and microdosing are just a few that could greatly change the outcome of the medical and scientific world.

These alternatives could be used to end the suffering of millions of animals across the globe and advance greatly technologically. Because these alternatives are more accurate, the chances of successful outcomes are much higher. People can feel safe when taking a new drug that was tested using the more effective alternatives. When it comes to using alternatives to animal testing, there is nothing the world has to lose.

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