Scientists Using Animals in Experiments
Ever since the heydays, researchers have used animals as specimens for a myriad of scientific experiments. The use of animals as subjects for scientific experimentation is commonly referred to as vivisection (Sepahban 1).Some of the animals used include rabbits, rats and mice which are subjected to various forms of scientific experimentations as the erudite scientists seek solutions to some of the common medical problems. These animals are regarded to share similar genetic and physiological traits with the humans. Indeed, the use of animals for experimentation purposes has resulted to stellar discoveries that have led to the expansion of medical science. Amid the tremendous medical discoveries lies a heated debate on the ethics of using animals as subjects for scientific experimentations. The use of animals as tools for medical discoveries is a controversial issue as many view the process as being unethical and immoral.
Over the past years, approximately a million animals have succumbed in the name of scientific and medical experimentations. Although man has befitted from the plethora of animal experimentations, animals tend to pay the ultimate price for the new medical discoveries. These animals are subjected to excruciating pain during the experiments while a multitude of others are forced to spend their entire life caged within the research institutions. I therefore strongly support the need to stop animals from being used as the center of laboratory and medical experiments. Just like humans, animals also have a right to live without being subjected to untold sufferings and pain. Policies against the use of animals for laboratory experimentations need to be put in place with the primary intent being to protect the rights of these animals.
Overview of the Problem
According to a research study, over 100 million animals die annually as a result of being tested upon by scientists who are in search for answers and solutions to a wide array of medical problems (Sepahban 1). Rats, mice and rabbits are among the common animals that still serve as subjects for experimentation and learning purposes in research institutions and schools respectively. These animals have been labeled as subjects for medical experimentations due to the great genetic and physiological similarities that they share with human beings. Aside from medical research studies, vivisection is today performed for various reasons which include testing for factories’ products such as therapeuticproducts. Most of these animals continue to be used as subjects to experiments aimed to evaluate cosmetic, chemical, medical products, household products and personal care products.
In most cases, the results do not really help these factories as the product’s effects on the animals may not similarly be reflected when a human being applies the same products. Furthermore, animals have been known not to react the same way as a human being would respond to the same drug. Thus, at times, a tested new drug might be effective to an animal but later on fail to work when it is administered to a human being. This is mainly because of the fact that the physiology and body function of an animal is not entirely similar to that of a human being. To add to this, a vast majority of people consider vivisection as an immoral practice that subjects the animals to a lot of sufferings and pains. This is mainly because the scientists are usually aware that his actions would hurt and cause pain to the animal yet he will still experiment on the animal (Knight 8). This has led to the establishment of different organizations that fight against the use of animals for experimentation purposes.
Most people from these organizations have ended up becoming activists as they fight for the rights of each and every animal from being manipulated by the human beings. The activists main aim is to bring the out the limitations of vivisection to the surface so as to ensure that a multitude of people get to fully comprehend on the side effects of vivisection. The activists who are against the use of animals for experimentations argue that the scientists and tutors can utilize a plethora of other techniques in assessing the effects of a certain drug or product instead of subjecting an innocent animal to harsh treatment and pain that would ultimately result to its death. Some of these experimental techniques include the use of cell cultures, human tissue, mathematical models, sophisticated computer systems and better yet, clinical trials that offer concrete evidence on the effects that a specific drug would have on man (Knight 9).
In essence, the animals should not be used as mere tools for scientific and medical experimentation on new drugs as the negative effects the experiment has on the animal is certain. According to financial analysis study on vivisection, the use of animals for experiment has been established to be very costly. The high cost of vivisection come about as a result of the animal being purchased, fed, housed and cared as they are commonly reared within a given research institution.
In order to reduce the devastating rates at which animals are dying all in the name of an experiment, it is important to identify some of the possible alternatives. First and foremost, scientists can adapt to the cell culture technique. Cell cultures basically involve the process of growing human or animal cells in the laboratory. Today, cell culture technique has been recognized as being central to key developments of solutions on diseases such as kidney disease, cancer and AIDs (Knight 8).
Aside from adapting to the cell culture technique, scientists may use human tissues to analyze a certain disease whilst also studying the human biology. The human tissue may either be a diseased or a healthy tissue that has been donated by a human being (Sepahban 16). These tissues may be donated through certain procedures such as biopsies, transplantation, during a surgery or a post-mortem. Thus, instead of using live animals to test if a certain cosmetic product is safe for human use, the scientists should use human tissues as a better alternative for testing cosmetic or other factory products that would eventually be used by man. On the other hand, computer models may be used to conduct virtual experiments based on the existing information and mathematical data (Knight 9). Amid the current state of digital technology, computer models have been developed to emulate certain human organs such as the heart, lungs, skin, kidney among other key organs which are then used for virtual experimentation.
To add to the above alternatives of vivisection, clinical trials have proved to be among the best options. Clinical trials are specifically used by medical scientists to test the effectiveness of a new drug on people. Clinical trial was also defined as a prospective study of comparing the effects and values of intervention(s) against a control in human beings (Friedman, Furberg and DeMets 2). A person has to volunteer before being tested and considered as a study participant. During the clinical trial, the study participants have to be constantly checked so as to analyze the progressive effects of the new drug. Clinical trial is thereby the best alternative to vivisection as the results of the experiment would be concrete and sure due to the fact that the experiment basically involves a human being who would act as a subject (Friedman, Furbergand DeMets 4).
It may be difficult to convince a fellow human being to volunteer oneself to a series of medical experiments. This is due to the unknown harm that the experiment may have on the study participant.
In conclusion, it is clear that the use of animals for scientific experimentation has resulted to a series of breakthroughs with regards to an array of medical discoveries. However, vivisection brings forth ethical concerns due to the fact that the animals are subjected to untold sufferings and pain that may actually lead to it developing terminal injuries or worse, death. It is with this profound reason that I find it crucial and vital for the scientists to adapt to the many other alternatives of vivisection.
Friedman, LawrenceM., Furberg, Curt D. and DeMets, David. L.Fundamentals of clinical trials. Berlin: Springer, 2015.
Knight, Andrew. “Alternatives to animal testing.” Veterinary Times 39.45 (2009):8-10.
Sepahban, Lois. Animal Testing: Lifesaving Research Vs Animal Welfare.N.p. Perspectives Flip Books,2015. Print.