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As need for new treatments arise, the use of animals for research increases. There are two main uses, and both have powerful arguments. On one side, animal rights activists feel that the lives of animals should be protected as if they were human. In contrast, supporters of animal testing feel that cures for our most virulent diseases will be found with the help of animals. No matter what side you take, there is always going to be evidence to support the opposition...


 

Table of Contents

  1. Against Animal Testing
  2. For Animal Testing
  3. Statistics
  4. My Opinion

 

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Against Animal Testing

Each year in the United States, an estimated 70 million animals are maimed, blinded, scalded, force-fed chemicals, genetically manipulated, and otherwise hurt and killed in the name of science, by private institutions, household product and cosmetics companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and scientific centers. Substances we use everyday, such as eye shadow, soap, furniture polish and oven cleaner, may be tested on rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and other animals. These tests are mainly used to test the degree of harmfulness of products and their ingredients. No antidoes are ever sought, so animal tests cannot be used to prevent or treat potential human injuries. These tests are not required by the law, and they are only done to protect companies from consumer lawsuits.


Proven more reliable and less expensive than animal tests, alternatives also see more humane. Instead of using live rabbits for the Draize Eye test, corneas from eye banks or sophisticated computer models can be used to accurately test the irritancy level.

Other tests more suitable include:

  • Chemical assay tests
  • Tissue culture systems
  • Cell and organ cultures
  • Cloned human skin cells
  • Human skin patches
  • Computer and mathematical models

 

For Animal Testing

A Young boy, Johnny Auquilino, was born without the left ventricle of his heart, the major pumping chamber.  His life was saved by a series of new techniques first developed on animals. Animal research will be involved in the search for a cure for the most deadly diseases. For example, on Oscars night in Hollywood all the stars were wearing red ribbons to show their support for HIV/AIDS research. Actually their views on animal research deter the fight for a cure for AIDS. Americans for Medical Progress has the quote that explains it all. You can't be for AIDS research AND animal rights.

As told by the American Heart Association, the decline in U.S. death rates from cardiovascular disease since the 1960s is the result of lifestyle changes and of new methods of treatment. Many of those treatments are based upon research requiring animals.

Research using animals, however, has been attacked in recent years. Many opponents claim that animals have rights equal to those of humans. Others do not understand the long-term results of such research and how it is conducted. Still others are confused about the difference between using animals for product testing and for biomedical research.

The American Heart Association is specific about how research animals are to be used and treated. When they are needed for Association-funded experiments, the animals must be handled responsibly and humanely. Before being approved for Association support, the researchers must show that:

  • they have looked at alternative methods to using animals;
  • their research cannot be successfully conducted without the use of animals; and
  • their experiments are designed to produce needed results and information.

Together with other responsible and committed organizations, the Association has identified and supported policies that foster intelligent and appropriate use of animals in biomedical research.

Statistics

Number of Animals Used

  • There are approximately 56 to 100 million cats and 54 million dogs in the US.
  • It is estimated that every hour 2,000 cats and 3,500 dogs are born.
  • Between 10.1 and 16. 7 million dogs and cats are put to death in pounds and shelters annually.
  • Approximately 17-22 million animals are used in research each year.
  • Approximately 5 billion are consumed for food annually.
  • Approximately 1.1% of dogs and cats from pounds and shelters, that would otherwise be euthanized, are used in research.
  • Fewer than one dog or cat is used for research for every 50 destroyed by animal pounds.
  • Rats, mice and other rodents make up 85-90% of all research animals.
  • Only 1 to 1.5% of research animals are dogs and cats.
  • Only 0.5% are non-human primates.
  • There has been a 40% decrease in the numbers of animals used in biomedical research and testing in the US since 1968

According to the USDA, approximately:

  • 61% of animals used suffer no pain
  • 31% have pain relieved with anesthesia
  • 6% experience pain, as alleviation would compromise the validity of the data. Much of this work is directed at an understanding of pain.

Note: These figures apply only to those animals covered by the Animal Welfare act, which currently excludes rats and mice.

My Opinion

I believe that animal testing to a certain extent is unetical and unjust. I stand in these beliefs only when manufacturers are testing chemicals for the production of new cosmetics. However, when the life of a human being is in danger, I feel as though pain is going to be felt one way or another. Rather than lose my beloved sister over a deadly STD,  would rather the experiment be taken on a guinea pig to find a cure to save her life. I believe when the situation is as severe as HIV, matters need to be taken to higher levels, and then at that point, there may be another way to escape animal testing.

 

 


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