Exploratory Paper

Ally Zavala Exploratory Paper 26 March 2012 Original Title Animal Experimentation plays an important role in today’s medical and pharmaceutical advances, but many question the morality of such a use of animal life. Whether you argue that testing different products and drugs on animals is necessary or not, this has become an integral part of developing products. From that Tylenol you pop to get rid of your headache, to that perfect shade of pink lip gloss, animal testing is used in order to produce the simplest household items.

Today, in the United States, it is federal law that requires all pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics, and garden chemicals to undergo a series of tests, including animal testing, before being available to general public. It is estimated between fifty and a hundred million vertebrate animals worldwide are being used fro animal experiments. While many believe that animal experimentation is a crucial part of research and safety, others argue the morality of this issue.

Another point of view some share is a mixture of both opposing views, where one believes that animal experimentation should only be condoned in the field of medical research but not for vanity reasons. Our environmental surroundings have a great influences on our opinions and which stance we might be more willing to take. People who are against animal testing tend to take on the argument of the ethical boundaries that animal testing is crossing.

However, there are numerous non-emotional stands against this issue as well, such as, differences in a human’s anatomy compared to a rat or guinea pig, or any other species. An example of this took place during the research of lung cancer, the differences were present prevented from further understanding the disease better. The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 does enforce rules of how the animal should be taken care of properly, however, this does not apply to mice and rats which account for ninety-five percent of the animals used in testing.

It also fails to specify the types of experiments scientist can research. Anti-animal testing advocates would argue that there are other means of research like computer modeling of in-vitro cells. This is where cultures of human or animal cells are tested instead of a whole animal. Those for animal experimentation usually believe that this will help not only biomedical research and technology, but surgical advancements as well. Ninety-five percent of animals being used for experimentation are mice and rats and the other five consist mainly of guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, dogs, and non-human primates.

Within the United States, animals used in testing are protected by the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. This law states that animals be housed properly, given veterinarian care, and be relieved of their pain, or kept to a minimum if it is necessary. Animals have shorter life spans than humans so it is easier to conduct experiments involving generational information. Also, scientists can control the environment and different variables the animal is exposed to in order to create a certain result.

A quote form “Medical Experiments on Animals Are an Important Element of Drug Development” says “ Would it be better instead to subject all species, present and future, with the suffering and death caused by diseases that may go untreated because vital medical research is cut off? ” Another common view people have is that animal testing should only be allowed when it is contributing to the improvement of quality of life and not towards cosmetics and superficial items.

Cosmetics testing involves such experiments as the Draize Test where the eyes of rabbits are plied open and exposed to a substance as to evaluate any harm done. Many argue that it does not measure human hazard but only the toxicity towards the animal it was tested on. My personal opinion of this issue coincides with the third point of view, which is that animal experimentation should only be permitted to improve human life and not for other vanity products. I think that as we grow more and more into this technological age the whole concept of animal testing will become nonexistent.

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