Research – LunaDuna

The Ethical Dilemma Behind Animal Experimentation

Animal experimentation has been around for numerous years and has always been a controversial topic. The two sides of this debate are the ones who believe that animal testing is beneficial and will save lives, which is true. On the other hand, animal testing has is ethically wrong and is not accurate to the genetics of humans. Animal testing has been marked as inadequate by Cambridge. Their studies suggest that an animal’s behavior may be influencing the end result of the experiment. Such as being in an enclosed space could cause distress and even abnormal behaviors within a certain animal. The choice to carry out animal experimentation does not have a correct answer and will never have one.

The main debate of animal experimentations begins at the thought of the tests being cruel and inhumane. Commonly, in animal research, the subjects are treated to force-feedings, lack of water or food, and even infliction to pain such as burns from the chemicals. (These burns are usually to test the healing process.) Every year nearly 100 million animals are subjected to harm during animal testing. In today’s world, the United States has the technology to do innovative research, but they still go back to the barbaric use of animal experimentation. The use of animal experimentation usually leads to the animals being crippled, burned, and even poisoned. Animal testing has been a popular controversial topic and is shown to be cruel. Animal experimentation has been around for many years and has served a variety of purposes in society.

Additionally, millions of animals that are used in experiments are discarded, like trash. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported that just in eighteen months, from the years 2011 to 2013, over 1.5 million pounds of animals were placed in waste collection. The animal waste is extremely dangerous to human health because the waste is contaminated with the chemicals, and even infectious diseases/viruses used in past experiments. Some companies disagree with discarding the waste by incinerating the animals’ corpses, but that leads to emitting gases into the air.

“The New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS) reported that: “a recent study found that 2.1 million deaths have been associated with human-produced fine particulate matter – a main component of smog” 

Animal experimentation is an expensive use of study. Some animal experiments could take up to months and even years to perform and analyze. The cost alone would be an insane amount due to the time of the study. For example, it takes almost a whole decade with 3,000,000 dollars to complete an entire experiment while abiding by all the laws. At the end of the experiment, it only would register one single pesticide to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Evaluating each of the chemicals can take up to millions of dollars, and many years to complete an experiment. Also, companies can lose a ton of money if the tests do not account for how humans would correctly respond to the treatments. Fewer than 10 percent of potential drugs make it to the human trials. According to the Humane Society, drug companies spend an average of four billion dollars to fully develop a new kind of drug. And if that drug fails, then billions of dollars went down the drain. So why waste the time? Because maybe it can help the lives of humans.

Humans and animals are not exactly the same. Many drugs that can appear safe and effective in animals may not be the same with humans. The drugs could cause significant harm or even death. In 2004, a study was conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration that 95 percent of drug trials in animals failed to reach clinical trials in humans. Of the ones that are approved, more than half are withdrawn due to serve lethal effects that were not detected in the animal experiments. Thalidomide, a sleeping pill, was introduced in the 1950s, which resulted in about 10,000 babies being born with deformities. The pill was examined by animals first, but the experiment did not show the symptoms in animals as it did in humans. Thusly, concluding that animals should not be reliable to human health.

Replacing animals used in experimentation would improve the quality and the humanity of science and health. Technology has been growing for years, and new non-animal methods have been developed. Types of non-animal methods include cell cultures, human tissues, volunteer studies, and computer models. Scientists have managed to grow 3D cell structures, that can even behave as miniature organs. These structures provide a more realistic way to test new therapies, which can also be more accurate than animals. Cells have been used to create innovative devices that can accurately mimic the heart, lungs, kidney, and even gut. Cell cultures have already been in key developments in areas such as sepsis, kidney disease, cancer, and AIDS. Human tissues are another way to study the human physiology. Human tissues can be donated from surgery such as biopsies and transplantsUsing human tissues can replace the cruel tests that animals have to face and will prevent the study passing false information. The Humane Society also advocates the comparison between using human replications from animal tests.

“The expensive and time-consuming two-year rat study to assess whether a substance is cancerous to humans is only able to predict human cancer 42% of the time. A cell-based test (CTA), which has been in use for over 50 years, can predict 90% of known human carcinogens.”

Ultimately, animal experimentation is a complex subject. Many people can deliver different opinions of the subject matter, which none of them could be the “correct” answer. Animal experimentation has given light on human health but also affects the lives of animals. The facts about animal testing are clear, millions of animals lose their lives for the sake of human health, but is that really worth all the death? Using alternative methods can save the lives of animals and improve the accuracy of the tests run for human health.

The case of animal experimentation begins with the benefits for humanity, but is it morally acceptable to harm animals? From the beginning of science, the method of animal testing has always been in medical studies. However, today, people do not seem to agree with the continuation of the experiments. The true horror of animal experimentation has leaked out into the world, finally receiving some backlash. The feeling of being locked up in a cage for hours poked and prodded, these animals have to live with this for their whole lives because of us, humans. Animal experimentation in its true nature has not been as effective as the population believes.

Nobody knows the actual number of beneficial pharmaceutical drugs, due to the fact that they are never released because of the harmful effect they had on the animals. Drugs such as aspirin, penicillin, and ibuprofen had negative impacts on animals, but have been seen to improve human health. These drugs many years ago would have failed the experiments because of the difference in metabolic processes between species. The use of an invalid animal disease model can lead scientists and researchers in the wrong direction. Which can waste valuable time, and even money. Time after time scientists has been led down the wrong path from information received after the experiments on animals. After these scientists do their experiments, which sometimes can last for years, results proven to be inaccurate to human physiology.

Animal studies have been known not to be completely reliable to human health. There is a difference in physiology from animals to humans. Humans and mice are not the same. The genetic makeup between animals and humans is different, so the effect on medications will be independent. Although scientists have found an animal model that almost mirrors the human body, there still are some major differences between the mechanisms. Humans continue to be harmed because of the misleading information of the results of animal testing. Exposing humans to these risks is completely unnecessary. Many clinical trial patients have been provided false hope in the effectiveness and safety of animal testing.

In fact, the number one reason for abandoning promising drugs is caused by misleading animal tests. There have been innumerable amounts of studies that have proven drugs causing serious health problems in humans. The Food Drug Administration (FDA) had to remove many products off the shelf, even though these drugs have passed animal testing. Of every 5,000-10,000 potential drugs passed, only about 5 of them go through human clinical trials. Numerous drugs are abandoned because of the results in animal experimentation that do not apply to human health. As noted in the article, “The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation,” by Aysha Akhtar,

 The National Institutes of Health reports that nearly 95 out of every 100 drugs that were tested on animals fail in humans.

Testing drugs or chemicals on live animals is expensive and time-consuming. More than 16 million dollars of taxpayer money is spent on animal experimentation in the United States each year, and more than half of this money is wasted. Nine out of ten drugs fail to enter clinical trials because we cannot predict how they will act within people. Animal experimentation wastes a significant amount of time and money, more importantly, animal lives. In 2004, Maria Palondi notes that Pfizer reported that these experiments had wasted more than two billion U.S dollars over the past ten years on drugs that have failed.

The federal government does not provide funding for some medical procedures because a significant number of people object to them. Then why does the federal government provide funding for laboratory experiments involving animals?

The opportunity to find an alternative to medicine is impeded because of the people’s belief that animals are still needed. Even if animals could impact human health, the greater question to ask is how this data can be applied to humans, considering the variability within the human species. Such as genetic, diet, lifestyles, and even environmental differences.

A notable experiment to remember has to do with the polio vaccine. Scientists have tried inflicting the diseases into primates over decades but failed to get anywhere. The key reason the vaccine was invented was not about the animals, rather humans, human cells. The poliovirus was injected into human cell cultures, which then grew into the vaccine known today.

Finding an alternative for animal testing can benefit human health, cost, time, and the lives of animals. Computer modeling is a lightning-fast technology, which can be used to create human-like cells, vitro. This method lowers the cost and without wasting energy on false information. Researchers from the University of Oxford have already begun using computer simulation to perform drug trials, such as testing arrhythmia. The research had already won an international prize for its efforts to replace animal experimentation. The group is now working on larger more intricate computer models to build a virtual human, that can completely take over the animal testing world.

Animal experimentation will continue to be a constant debate in the world. There will always be two sides, one for and one against. Health professionals believe that animal experimentation can help save the lives of many people, but the cost is the animal’s life. As of today, animal experimentation is legal, whether people believe that it is good or bad. More than 26 million animals “participate” in experiments, that save the lives of humans.

Animal rights are held too high in regard. People who scream that animal testing is wrong, do not understand the numerous benefits that come from experimentation. The entire truth is that the world has advanced in the past decades due to experimentation on animals. In day-to-day life objects all around us have been influenced in some way by animals. A countless number of things we take for granted every day would not exist if scientists did not experiment on animals. People should look at animals not as defenseless creatures, but as a development for the good of society.

Past many decades, animal testing has improved the practice of medicine, such as expanding the known knowledge of diseases and even creating cures. Major vaccines like polio, hepatitis B and C were developed and passed through animal testing. According to the Biomedical Research Association in California, most medical breakthroughs that have occurred in the last hundred years occurred from animal experimentation. Insulin was discovered from treatment in a dog’s pancreas. Two German researchers, Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering found that when the pancreas was removed from dogs, the animals began to develop symptoms of diabetes, which most of the dogs dies soon after. The researchers newly understood where the site of “pancreas substances,” insulin was produced in the body.

Vaccines. A device that can lower the chances of contracting certain diseases. Vaccines have not always been there, and if there were not, a lot of people would die. To develop a vaccine, it takes extensive research to be done until the final product is ready. Immunizations against diphtheria, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, and polio have saved countless lives and the survival rates for these major diseases have hit an all-time high.

The benefits from animal experimentation will continue. Blood transfusions, antibiotics, organ transplants, joint replacement, chemotherapy, and dialysis have all been fabricated from animal experimentation.

References

Animal Research at Stanford. (n.d.). Why animal research? Animal Research at Stanford. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://med.stanford.edu/animalresearch/why-animal-research.html.

Akhtar, A. (2015, October). The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation. Cambridge quarterly of healthcare ethics: CQ: the international journal of healthcare ethics committees. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594046/.

Cornett, E. M., Jones, M. R., & Kaye, A. D. (2019, May 11). Ethics of animal experimentation – springer. Ethics of Animal Experimentation. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-99124-5_25.

Cruelty Free International. (n.d.). About Animal Testing. Animal Experimentation. Retrieved December 11, 2021, from https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/about-animal-testing.

Foundation for Biomedical Research. (2020, May 27). Medical advances. Animal Testing and Research. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://fbresearch.org/medical-advances/.

Gleeson, A. (2020, August 6). Animal testing outperformed by computer modelsALFIE GLEESON. BioTechniques. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.biotechniques.com/drug-discovery-development/animal-testing-outperformed-by-computer-models/.

Humane Society International. (2019, March 31). Limitations of animal tests. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.hsi.org/news-media/limitations-of-animal-tests/.

Lone Star College. (n.d.). Save the Animals: Stop Animal Testing. Save the animals: Stop animal testing. Retrieved December 11, 2021, from https://www.lonestar.edu/stopanimaltesting.htm.

PETA. (2021, November 18). Animal Testing Facts and Statistics. Animals Are Not Ours. Retrieved December 11, 2021, from https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animals-used-experimentation-factsheets/animal-experiments-overview/.

 Pros & Cons – ProCon.org. Animal Testing. (2020, June 10). Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://animal-testing.procon.org/.

 Schiffelers, M. J., Hagelstein, G., Harreman, A., & Spek, M. van der. (2005, August 1). Regulatory animal testing: A survey of the factors influencing the use of animal testing to meet regulatory requirements. DSpace Home. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/45061.

The Public Engagement team at the Wellcome Genome Campus. (2017, March 3). Should animals be used in research? Debates. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from https://www.yourgenome.org/debates/should-animals-be-used-in-research.

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