Why the Animal Experimentation Is Very Essential and Quite Human

free essayAnimal testing refers to the use of animals for scientific research with the aim of discovering new drugs and other methods of advancing the human life. Today, most drugs and vaccines, which are used by people, are a result of animal experiments. The reason as to why this kind of study is very popular is the fact that humans and animals share a large percentage of the DNA in their bodies. While such experimentations seem to be of great importance, some critics in the name of animal rights activists claim that the use of animals for such purposes is not justified.

According to Americans for Medical Progress, the use of animals in biomedical research is of utmost importance. These studies assist in the discovery of drugs that can cure and prevent diseases; this feature is extremely beneficial to the society. The group advances the view that the only way to minimize the pains and discomforts of animals is by the use of anesthesia and ensuring that the species used in the experiments are given good food and kept in a conducive environment (Americans for Human Progress).

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Researchers find such experiments necessary because the similarities and differences in animals play a significant role in comparative medical studies. Experts can observe the behavior of certain species and how such an adaptation can be beneficial to the improvement of the human health. Mice and Chimpanzees, for example, have a 94 percent and 98 percent of DNA similarity with human beings, respectively (Americans for Human Progress). People engaged in the animal experimentation are substantially trained professionals who understand the need to minimize the discomfort of animals when carrying out the tests. Several laws have been enacted in order to ensure that species used in research are well-maintained. Under the United States Animal Welfare Act, for example, good nutrition, housing, and care are mandatory for all test animals, except birds and rats. The government also mandates all institutions involved in the process to have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Its task is to evaluate all procedures with the aim to ensure that they conform to the required standards. There also exist external accreditation bodies, which manages the research quality and compliance with the regulations suffice.

In the modern world, people hold a firm belief that a computer can do anything. Nevertheless, the truth is that a computer is limited when it comes to biomedical research as it cannot show any cell reactions. The biochemical language that allows all cells of the human body to communicate is more sophisticated than any computer program. It is, therefore, necessary that animals show exactly how a particular drug would influence people (Americans for Human Progress). If a biomedical experiment were to be carried out on the human body, it would amount to an atrocity.

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Since animals are of great help to the modern society regarding the advancement of its health needs, people have a moral obligation to ensure that the research on animals causes minimal levels of pain and discomfort and that their nutrition is proper, and the environment is clean. Since the time immemorial, most antibiotics, anesthesia, vaccines, and skills in surgery have been enhanced through the use of test animals. Since other alternative methods cannot work as effectively as the use of animals does, animal experimentation is still extremely essential.

Animal Experimentation as a Human Right

The Nuremberg Code, which is a crucial human rights document, supports the idea of the animal experimentation being a human right. It states that the medical experimentation with animals before an actual testing on people is necessary for safeguarding the rights of the last. According to Smith, there is no person who is happy about conducting experiments on animals. However, since biomedical experiments have to take place in a living organism, it is inevitable to use animals because conducting them on human beings themselves equals to an atrocity. For example, last year, by experimenting on mice, some scientists from the United Kingdom discovered a drug to prevent Alzheimer’s disease that causes the memory loss. Likewise, the HIV anti-retroviral drugs were created through the initial testing in dogs.

Experts in the field totally agree with the criticism against them. First, the animal experimentation takes a lot of time to make conclusive findings, which may not necessarily have any correlation to people. Second, if human beings were the specimen, the attainment of results would become faster (Smith, 2015). However, they sidestep the reasoning of the critics such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) by stating that it would cause a lot of pain and suffering to test individuals; thus, it would amount to an atrocity (Smith, 2015). The argument lays a basis for the recognition of the animal experimentation before human testing a human right. In such a manner, the arguments by PETA and other critics are baseless as scientific research has led to a significant improvement in the lives of people. If not done, the life expectancy of human beings would still be too low. Therefore, the rights and welfare of humans take priority over the rights of animals.

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Animal Experimentation Leads to an Advancement in the Field of Medicine

Keller argues that the advancement of medicine would remain a fiction if animals were not used. The previous achievements in the field such as the discovery of anesthesia, antibiotics, Alzheimer’s disease treatment and ARV’s were all made through the animal experimentation. If the same cannot occur in the future, stagnation will be inevitable. Keller argues that since there is no alternative to the animal use in scientific experiments, there is just need to treat them more humanely. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the life expectancy of human beings has greatly improved as compared to the one a hundred years ago because of the animal experimentation (Keller). Animals play two critical roles in medicine; one is to decide on the safety and side effects of a drug, and two is to determine whether the drug is effective or not.

The justification for testing on animals is that the human body functioning can only be determined through the use of living forms. The manner, in which human cells communicate with the brain, cannot be determined when using non-living things. Even though test tube experiments are also suitable, tissues have to be removed from a dead animal. To effectively treat animals in a more humane manner, animal experts came up with the idea of the 3Rs. The 3Rs simply stands for Reduction, Replacement, and Refining. They advocate for engaging as a minimal number of animals as possible, refining all the processes used in conducting experiments on animals such as using anesthesia for reducing the pain and, lastly, employing alternative experiments when possible (Keller).

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Alternatives to the Animal Experimentation and Why They Are not Effective

The idea of alternatives to animal experiments is an element of the 3Rs, which stands for the reduction. These methods include the use of In-Vitro experiments, which include test tube experiments, micro dosing, and computer simulations. While computer simulations may be important to patients suffering from diabetes and asthma, the method is not effective in determining how the brain works or how cells interact (Max Planck Institute). The test tube experiments also rely on animal tissues; therefore, animals must be killed in order to make the process effective. Any biomedical method that does not use animal experimentation, therefore, has limitations in understanding the brain functioning and other disorders associated with it.

The Question of the Species Equality

When the human experimentation discourse opens up, one point that becomes disturbing to the animal rights activists is the fact that both human beings and animals were created equal; thus, they deserve dignity and living a pain-free life. However, the question as to whether the assumption is true or not remains problematic. According to me and most of the animal experimentation and research experts, human beings hold a very special position in the world and cannot be leveled to animals. The manner, in which the death of an animal is perceived, is not the same as the death of a person (Smith). I do not assert that animals have no right to survival at all, but I strongly believe that it is very ethical to cause the death of an animal for the purpose of committing a research, the aim of which is to save a human life. Advantages determine the measure of whether a scientific experiment is essential and justified. It is, therefore, evident that human beings have priority over animals.

Suggestions by Animal Rights Defenders

Among people that passionately oppose any animal experimentation, there are the animal rights activists. This group of people makes a lot by criticizing scientific experiments on animals; yet, they depend on drugs acquired as a result of the same process for their life survival. They consider scientists the cruelest creatures on the Earth because of the manner, in which they cause the death of animals for the sake of saving the humanity. However, the truth is that farmers cause most animal killings, up to 99 percent, for their food and the remaining 1% is left for animal killings caused by scientists (Smith). Notwithstanding, the activists consider a small group of animal research experts to be a minority that may be attacked in any manner. Activists do not focus on a larger community but rather choose to critique a very small population of scientists who, in their pursue to save the lives of human beings, try all their best to make the deaths of the animals less painful through the use of anesthesia.

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Another argument offered by activists states that the human bodies and that of animals are totally different; therefore, engaging in animal experimentation is a waste of time and resources (Max Planck Institute). They are of the idea that alternative means of conducting biomedical research should be developed. However, if experiments were to be carried out on human beings, it would be more effective but more painful, as well. Under the Nuremberg Code, for example, the drug use on people without testing on animals is considered a violation of human rights. Most governments, therefore, suggest that before doctors can administer a new drug, tests are to be done on animals. The main aim is to find out whether a drug will have some side effects on the human body. It is indeed true that animals and human beings differ, but they have several similarities in their DNA structure. The DNA of apes, for example, is similar to the one of the people to a level of 98 percent.

Conclusion

According to the above discussion, it is evident that the animal testing is a very crucial aspect of the medical research that cannot be wished away. Even though the procedure faces a lot of criticism from the animal rights activists, no other method is as effective as it is. The animal experimentation assists biomedical researchers in establishing how cells interact and how the human brain functions. Through such testing, the safety of drugs and their side effects are studied. Therefore, as the animal experimentation has more benefits than detriments, it should be encouraged.