Animal TestingTraditionally, animals have been used to ensure the safety of our consumer products and drugs. Yet around the world, scientists, regulators and animal protectionists work together to develop alternatives to their use.
The use of animals in the life sciences dates back to ancient Greece and the earliest medical experiments. To learn about swallowing, physicians cut open into the throat of a living pig. To study the beating heart, they cut open into its chest. For centuries physicians and researchers used animals to enhance their knowledge about how the various organs and systems of the body functioned, as well as to hone their surgical skills. As long as animals have been used in experiments, people have expressed concerns about such research. Questions about the morality, necessity, and scientific validity of animal experiments have arisen since those ancient physicians first began to study bodily functions.
Alternatives are methods, which refine existing tests by minimizing animal distress, reduce the number of animals necessary for an experiment or replace whole animal use with vitro or other tests. While vivisection has received more attention and funding, clinical and epidemiological (studying the natural course of disease within human population) studies have had a much more profound impact on human health. In fact, clinical and epidemiological evidence linking smoking to lung cancer was established long before warnings of the dangers of smoking were released to the general public. Because animal experimentation failed to each the same conclusion, warning labels on cigarettes were delayed for years! During this time hundreds of people died from lung cancer because the results of animal experimentation were considered more valid than studies of human patients. Animal based research is the science of the past. There are a number of alternatives available to modern researchers, which are less expensive, more reliable, and ethically sound. They provide results rapidly, experimental parameters are easily controlled, and their focus on the cellular and molecular levels of the life process provides more useful information about chemicals and drugs.
High Productive Volume Tests, test a minimal amount of a product on an abundant amount of animals. Two – hundred baby rats, just three weeks old are placed in wire – bottomed stainless – steel cages. Twice daily Monday thru Friday, laboratory workers pull the small mammals from their cages, force steel clamps into their mouths to hold their jaws apart and swab their teeth with an anti – cavity dental chemical. After three weeks, the workers kill the baby rats by cutting off their teeth. The procedures are called ?Biological Tests for Tests Flouride Dentifrices? and :Determination of Animal Carries Reduction? – puzzling terms to most of us. But the meaning is deadly to animals. The officials who order this test work for the U. S. government ‘s FDA has made exceptions for manufacturers, including Tom’s of Maine, that wanted to market new toothpastes without any tests on animals. If some companies can manufacture safe, effective anti – cavity toothpastes without using any animals, why can’t all dental product companies stop killing animals?
Philosopher Jeremy Bentham sounded the rallying cry for animals everywhere: ?The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?? The Animal Welfare Act sets standards for the housing, handling, feeding, and transportation of experimental animals, but places no limitations whatsoever on the actual experimental conditions and procedures continue to challenge, whether human beings have the right to ?use? animals for any purpose.
The HPV Program sounds so important, right? Wrong! Because no resulting action will be taken against the chemicals involved in this program. Instead of protecting the public from hazardous chemicals, the EPA will inform us of how quickly mice and rabbits died when force – fed a chemical, or how many mouse pups were stillborn after their mother was force – fed massive quantities of already known toxic chemicals. Every medical advancement has not been a result of animal testing. Results derived from animal experiments have had a very minimal effect on the dramatic rise of life expectancy can be attributed mainly to changes in lifestyles, environmental factors, and improvements in sanitation. Many medical school’s in the U. S. do not use animals in the training of medical students. They include: NYU, University of Michigan, and SUNY Stonybrook. Actually, most of the medical schools which do use animals allow students the option of foregoing the animal labs. This is because they clearly acknowledge that such labs are not necessary for the training of doctors. When a newly released drug hits the market, regardless of how many animal tests have been done, those individuals who first use it are ?human guinea pigs.? Animal tests are not good indicators of what will occur in humans.
It has been due, in large part , to the tension between researchers who view laboratory animals as essential to their work and individuals who oppose animal tests that the modern alternatives movement has evolved. The movement began quietly, in 1959, with the publication of The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique by British researchers W. Russell and R. Burch. Russell and Burch advocated the ?three R’s? of replacement, reduction, and refinement. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, their philosophy has enabled researchers and animal welfare advocates to come together with a common goal: to find scientifically valid alternatives to animal tests.
In conclusion, as proven by the Tom’s of Maine Co., and with the approval of the FDA, products can be marketed without the immoral practices of animal cruelty. As a form of life, animals acquire natural rights, one being the right to live, not to be exploited and exposed to pain. As best said by animal activist Jon Evans: ?To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life.?