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Is The Use Of Animals In Medical Research A Necessary Measure?

1513 words - 7 pages

Throughout history, animals have been used in experiments to test product safety and obtain medical knowledge that benefits both humans and animals alike. Every year there are numerous medical breakthroughs, such as medications and surgical instruments, which are tested on animals to insure their safety before they are deemed acceptable for human use. Even though the results of the experiments saved millions of human lives, they are also killing millions of innocent animal lives in the process. The use of animals for scientific experimentation purposes is unnecessary because countless animals are put through painful procedures in order to benefit humans lives when there are known ...view middle of the document...

Ninety-five percent of the animals are birds, rodents and fish while around 1 million of those animals are dogs, cats, non-human primates, rabbits, and farm animals (“Animals Used”). Though there is an assortment of diverse species that are used in research, rodents are used most often. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a law regulating animal research. Unfortunately, the use of rodents is excessive because they are not one of the warm blooded animals protected under the AWA. The sole purpose of the Animal Welfare Act is “to regulate transportation, sale, and handling of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits intended to be used in research or "for other purposes””, and to some extent this purpose holds true (United States). Only testing centers that are funded by the federal government must abide by this law therefore putting many animals in jeopardy. The guidelines of this law should be made more stringent to ensure that all animals are treated humanely even if they are not in federally funded facilities. Animals do not get the opportunity to communicate for themselves, but they deserve the right to live a decent life.
Throughout the world there are many different types of testing facilities. Some facilities test medications while other facilities test household items such as shampoo and cleaning products. In order to ensure product safety, researchers created several types of tests that are executed on animals. The most common tests that are performed are the eye irritant test, the skin irritant test, and the repeated dose toxicity test. When implementing the eye irritant test, “a substance is placed into [a rabbit’s] eye while the other eye is used as a control” (“Types of”). The chemical is then left on the eye to be evaluated later. During the test, the rabbits are restrained preventing them from responding naturally to the irritation. This test is criticized due to the fact that the structure of a rabbit’s cornea differs significantly from that of a human (“Types of”). Because of this, the results from the experiment cannot be accurately extrapolated to humans. The skin irritant test involves placing a chemical on a shaved patch of skin and using another shaved patch as the control. It is used to evaluate the potential of a substance to cause irreversible damage to the skin (“Types of”). Due to the variety of responses to the chemicals among different species of animals, it is extremely difficult to conclude that the same reaction will occur on human skin. Therefore, the results of these experiments are not completely applicable to humans. To perform a repeated dose toxicity test the researcher must administer the chemicals through injection, inhalation or orally. This test can last anywhere from twenty-eight to ninety days in duration, and is used to evaluate “chronic toxic effects on various organ systems and to establish a...

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