The Bio-chemical developments that have been realized significantly relied on animal testing. However, while the results of animal testing benefit humans, such tests leave most of the animals maimed physically, socially or psychologically; while others die in the process. Animal testing proponents present their arguments to defend their actions by asserting that animal testing has contributed critically to the human medical advances.
However, critical research in fundamental areas such as Cancer, psychiatry, heart disease and immunology have made significant breakthroughs using clinical research, human autopsy, and observations made on human patients. Meanwhile, data on human-based research continued to be evaluated on the basis of historical data gathered from animal testing. This has led to unforeseeable medical mishaps and subsequent consequences.
Additionally, crucial medical advances have been derailed as a result of overreliance on data collected from animal based research models. Furthermore, modern society continued to endorse animal testing on the premise that animal testing had been instrumental in the modern bio-chemical advances, particularly in medicine. However, the perception that animal testing is essential for scientific and medical advancement is wrong. Critical questions have arisen towards the relevance and benefits of animal testing and medical testing.
Proponents of animal testing observe that animal testing in laboratories is essential to humans and the qualitative advancement of human life. In the past, people have experienced considerable rise in life expectancy, living standards, and opportunities as a result of the developments in bio-chemical advances. For instance, medicines whose impacts range from minimizing coronary disease, reducing the incidence of AIDS, curing bacterial infections, decreasing age – based conditions are among the successes of bio-chemical developments in the modern age (Harcher, 2010). Consequently, the careful use of the available diverse natural resources is attributable to the outcomes based on scientific research and the optimal use of chemicals in safe methodology. Therefore, toxicologists employ advanced technological research tools and methods such as animal testing to protect human health and environmental integrity.
Case for Animal Testing
The research conducted uses both in vitro applications and animals in tests aimed at understanding how varied organic and inorganic chemicals interact with body functions and systems. Proponents of animal experimentation argue that, animal testing is critical to basic research in understanding the intricacies and mechanisms that impact living organisms; while determining the physiological baselines.
The functionality of most chemicals that enhance human life in one way or another can equally pose risks to human health. For instance, Aspirin functions through the reduction of the enzymes responsible for the production of compounds which influence distress and pain; therefore, reducing fever and pain. However, the consumption of aspirin can be toxic if a higher dosage is ingested inhibiting the production and functionality of a similar enzyme leading to abnormal heart functions.
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In light of this, animal experimentation enables the determination of safe and toxic dosages in medicine. This is facilitated through safety studies, which involve various stages from test tube tests, animal tests and human trials. Safety studies are crucial in determining crossover points (Harcher, 2010). This ensures that medical practitioners are able to prescribe drugs in safe doses, which cannot harm the patients. Therefore, toxicologists apply animal and in vitro methods that have been endorsed by statutory and regulatory bodies in order to ensure that people who are exposed and use defined chemicals can use them under minimal health risks. Additionally, authenticated tests protect not only humans but also animals and the environment.
Human life is defined as an embodiment of various chemical reactions which influence all human life processes. Therefore, when a foreign element is introduced in the body, it may react in varied ways in various parts of the body leading to expected or unexpected consequences. Therefore, the use of animals testing is essential since the complexity of chemical reactions in the body cannot be duplicated in non living systems or cell cultures. For instance, an element can be toxic as a result of the speed at which it is synthesized in the body, how the critical organs such as the liver alter it and how it interacts with the rest of the body (Maguire & Novik, 2010). Meanwhile, some reactions are triggered on the basis of tissue characteristics, for instance; the interaction of an element with the liver is not the same as that of the kidney. Since, a chemical element may become toxic after interaction with a given organ or tissue in the body, there is a need to analyze the chemical reaction and the relationship between the dosage given and the dosage delivered to defined tissues or organs in the body.
Consequently, studies where animal testing involves live animals show that adequate use of beneficial application of chemicals such as drugs is required since the organ or tissue exposed to chemical testing may be damaged in the event of over exposure to chemicals or over dosage. Mostly, laboratory tests and tools are unable to duplicate chemical reactions taking place in the animals’ bodies. Therefore, animal testing is premised as the ultimate method of identifying and detecting health issues such as genetic defects and cancer (Harcher, 2010). The use of the whole animal testing protocols aims at understanding the connection between exposure and the resulting impacts; therefore, they are used in a more humane, appropriate and responsible manner. Data and information derived from animal tests and studies represent the basis if they distinguish and recommend the levels of exposure which are safe or harmful to humans, other living organisms and the environment.
The discovery and creation of products such as medicines, food additives, plastic containers and cleaning agents are a result of toxicology studies. Consequently, whole animal tests and studies are conducted to ensure the safety of such products is preserved in the long term and short term before being introduced into the market. Sufficient information on humans, when incorporated into animal studies, is used to demonstrate that minimal doses of defined medicines; can potentially provide similar beneficial outcomes with reduced negative impacts on the subject (Harcher, 2010).
Therefore, products, which were previously given out under a physician’s direction, or a prescription can then be readily exposed in the market. For instance, drugs, which were used to treat stomach ulcers and inflammations, are available in drugs stores without the need of a prescription. As a result, people benefit from their availability and low costs bearing in mind the inherent pharmacological qualities. Meanwhile, some medicines meant for human use add a degree of health value to the animals being used as test subjects. Additionally, animal tests lead to conclusive determination of the functionality of drugs; therefore, animal research is significant in the creation of first aid and safety label statements which are packaged alongside medicine. These labels are critical to consumers since they provide adequate information in regard to the safe use, storage and disposal of the drugs (FDA, 2006). In light of this, consumers make informed choices on which drugs are appropriate for addressing their needs.
Animal tests are used in validating results and providing a significant degree of protection while facilitating the use of drugs to improve the conditions of those in need. Moreover, non animal and animal researches are critical in determining the potential health risks inherent in human environments such as air pollution, water and soil contamination, industrial processes, natural toxins and hazardous waste. These studies are conducted to determine the extent in which substances are hazardous or safe for human health (FDA, 2006). Additionally, animal tests are critical in determining the safety of various environments before humans can be exposed to them; therefore, the toxicity results are crucial in determining whether elimination or restriction of occupational contact with chemicals is necessary for the protection of the workers’ health.
Case against Animal Testing
Animal testing and studies can neither refute nor confirm theories and hypothesis concerning the nature of human physiology, pathology or psychology. Consequently, clinical investigations on humans are the most viable and reliable method of testing such hypothesis or theories. Animal tests are only beneficial in suggesting new hypothesis and theories which may be relevant enough to contribute to human health studies (Watson, 2009).
Meanwhile, there are other superior methods of deriving new ideas. Numerous researches have been conducted on animals; however, only a negligible percentage of these have certain impact and contributions to human health. Where positive results have been observed in animal testing, the case is not always the same when the same treatment is applied to humans. Human trials of products which have had positive results on animals’ lead to severe side effects on the test subjects and health complications. Therefore, in most cases animal-research initiatives and projects are consistently of little relevance to the treatment and understanding of human ailments.
Since there is a significant difference between animal models and human diseases; researchers have opted to base their research on the aspects of the animals being tested which have similarities to the human condition being studied. Therefore, fundamental pathological, anatomical and physiological differences are discounted or ignored. Given that a significant percentage of disease progression processes have system wide impacts and involve a variety of integrated factors, the focus on a single aspect of the disease disregards the evident complexity of organisms (Nordgren, 2010).
While clinical investigations on human diseases are based on the observation of naturally occurring diseases, animal testing is premised on the manipulation of conditions which have been induced artificially. Furthermore, animals are stressed as a result of the unnatural environment in the laboratory; therefore the organism is influenced leading to abnormal results such as altered hormone levels, blood pressure, immunological activities and other bodily functions (Andre & Velasquez, 2010). Consequently, most animal testing laboratories present results, which are influenced by the laboratory environments; therefore, such results are unreliable and do not reflect similarity with human conditions. Such animal tests consume significant amounts of resources while their results are misleading and pose numerous risks to human health. Hence, the perception that a scientific research is justified in subjecting animals to harm in knowledge gathering projects is unethical and inhumane (Watson, 2009).
The conduct of animal testing has exposed people to a wide range of dangerous toxic substances and diseases which have the potential to cause severe health consequences. The exposure on non human deadly viruses such as Ebola and the swine flu has the potential to cause significant drawbacks to human development (Nordgren, 2010). Meanwhile, a safer and more reliable method of study is available through clinical research. Clinical research is essentially more reliable since it entails the observation of actual human subjects and post mortem studies; which enable the determination of an accurate and reliable conclusion in respect to the subject being studied. In contrast to clinical studies, animal testing aims at mimicking human diseases through the inducement of artificial conditions in animals. Consequently, such researchers base their findings and date on similar historical clinical conclusions, while ignoring and discounting evident conflicting data on animal tests.
The significance of animal testing has been exaggerated excessively by people with vested interests in preserving this practice. Since animal testing is premised on artificially induced pathology, it involves numerous variables, which are undermined by the fundamental differences in human and animal pathology, anatomy and physiology. Therefore, animal testing is unreliable, unethical and costly method of researching human diseases. However, while the use of other methods of research is advocated for, it is evident that public policies and governments are influenced on the basis of either side’s ability to lobby for their interests. The proponents of animal testing are often backed by large corporations whose tax contributions are enormous. Therefore, Companies have used animal testing as means towards making their chemical products acceptable to government oversight bodies, regulators and consumers while at the same time insulating themselves from potential litigation. Animal testing is an integral component of the regulatory system which has lost sight of its objective in ensuring the protection of human health. These systems should be reminded that the solutions to human diseases can be found in humans and not in animals; therefore, the cruel and unethical use of animals in research should be stopped while better alternative ways are to be sought.