Animal Testing Essay

1487 words - 6 pages

Imagine this situation: a new company is testing an eye care product on a subject. In the test, a substance is placed in one eye of the subject, with the other eye serving as a control. The subjects are restrained, preventing them from responding naturally to the irritation, and their eyes are evaluated after one hour and then at 24-hour intervals for up to 14 days. Some continue to be evaluated up to three weeks later. The level of irritation to the eyes is scored numerically by observation of the three major tissues of the eye (cornea, conjunctiva, and iris). The subjects suffer from redness, bleeding, ulcers, and even blindness, and are likely killed upon completion of the experiment. The ...view middle of the document...

  This makes them an effective model for researchers to study. The majority of research animals are used in experiments focused on disease treatment and prevention, and the treatment of injuries.  Laboratory animals are also used in basic medical research, breeding other research animals and diagnosis. Today, animal testing is one of the most debatable topics. The American public tends to ask the questions: What are the reasons for this practice? Why are we doing this to the animals? Some people even assume that animal testing is the same as animal cruelty.
In his essay entitled The Trials of Animals, author and animal rights activist, Cleveland Amory, gives us reasoning why animal testing needs to be banned. To support his claim, he tells three prime examples: monkeys in Maryland had their nerves removed then stimulated with electrical shocks and flames to see if they could still use their appendages. Cats at Louisiana State University were put in vises, had part of their skulls removed, and then shot in the head as an experiment to help brain-wounded soldiers to active duty. Kittens at University of Oregon had their eyes surgically rotated, had electrodes implanted in their brains and were forced to jump onto a block in a pan of water to test their equilibrium (Amory 117-118). Based on Amory’s evidence, it seems that animal testing and animal cruelty have similar meanings.
In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that medical treatments developed in animals rarely translated to humans and warned that “patients and physicians should remain cautious about extrapolating the finding of prominent animal research to the care of human disease … poor replication of even high-quality animal studies should be expected by those who conduct clinical research” (Hackam 1731-32). For example, in the experiment with the kittens at the University of Oregon, the experimenters were unable to cite a single case in which their research benefited humans. It was also found out that untrained and unlicensed personnel performing surgery. In one case, an AIDS vaccine that was shown to be effective in monkeys failed in human clinical trials because it did not prevent people from developing AIDS, and some believe that it made them more susceptible to the disease. According to a report in the British newspaper The Independent, one conclusion from the failed study was that “testing HIV vaccines on monkeys before they are used on humans, does not in fact work.”(Connor). What many people see today in animal testing are just the negative effects. But what about the actual medical research that has been successful because of animal testing?
Despite claims by animal rights activists, it is undeniable that animal-based research has contributed to significant improvement in the length and quality of our lives. Following are just a few specific cases in which the use of laboratory animals has been a vital component of...

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