The Need For Animal Experimentation

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Reach far into the imagination and vision a world with no vaccines for polio and tetanus; imagine a world with no insulin for diabetes. Imagine a world with no chemotherapy treatment for suffering cancer patients. Thanks to animal experimentation such a world is not representative of today s society. Although testing is common today, the days of testing without much protest are no longer around. According to Tom Reagan, If we are sure that animals experience both pain and pleasure, then we must regard them as something that counts (8). Although animal rights activists have some cause for alarm, animal experimentation is a must and cannot be dismissed. The fact that human beings are still dying due to incurable diseases should be reason enough to still implernent animal testing. David Bender author of Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints stipulates: Scientist feel it is essential for the public to understand that had scientific research been restrained in the first decade of the 20th century as antivivisectionists and activist were then and are today urging, many millions of Americans alive and healthy today would never have been born or would have suffered a premature death. Their parents or grandparents would have died from dipheria, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, diabetes, appendicitis, and countless other diseases and disorders.(77) Contrary to what many believe, humans are not the only ones benefiting from these tests. Both animals and the environment also profit from these methods of testing. The practice of animal testing has been a concern to both scientists and animal rights activists for many years. Although alternatives to animal testing do exist, they are not yet far enough developed to serve as an adequate substitute. With animal testing comes a few major concerns to both scientist and animal rights activist alike, but because of animal research science has been able to diagnose and treat some of the deadliest and most life threatening diseases of our century. The concern of scientists is that the animal rights activist movement can cause set backs in the vital testing that needs to be accomplished so cures can be found. Although necessary, some of these tests can be considered cruel. According to Bernard Rollin, Animals do experience and remember pain"(66). Take for instance the Draize test. Draize test rated eye irritants according to the level of inflammation a substance causes when applied to a rabbits eyes. Another test for systemic toxicity; it measures acute toxicity by determining the exact dose specimen is exposed to. This test kills roughly half the animals it is administered to.One can see how cruel and inhumane these tests can be even when you are in favor of animal experimentation. Due to these tests, groups such as the Animal Liberation Front and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have been formed. In an extreme measure the Animal Liberation Front broke into a building on the East Lancing campus in Michigan and set fire to a animal testing lab . Years of research literally went up in smoke; some of which can never be replaced. This type of behavior is unacceptable no matter how strongly you are against an issue. These beliefs are not shared by the Animal Liberation Front. Scott Plous, a psychologist at Wesleyan University,stated, "The first survey on animal rights activists polled 574 activists. Nearly 80% valued non human life as much as human life: 85% wanted to eliminate all animal research and more than 60% were in favor of lab break-ins. How people can feel this way knowing how much animal testing has helped the human race is beyond many. This method of testing must continue at all costs to save lives (21) Although animal testing has brought forth many treatments, advocates against testing claim there are alternative methods which can be used with considerable success. In-Vitro testing is one alternative which is used in place of animal testing. In Vitro, or in glass, pertains to a biological process taking place in an artificial environment. Another form of In-Vitro is using analyses of bacteria in a petri dish. By viewing the different reactions to bacteria when introduced to other chemicals, scientists can determine the chemicals effects. Scientists have found a way to eliminate the corrosity test done on rabbits by using a skin-like membrane, rather than pouring the actual chemical on the rabbit itself. One scientist states, "The test gages corrosivity according to the time required for a chemical sample to break through"(Roush 1 ). Not only does this method save the lives of countless rabbits, it also substantially decreases the cost per test. Biotechnology is yet another weapon used in the search for alternatives. A perfect example to illustrate this method is a home pregnancy test. A generation ago, the only way to test for pregnancy was to inject a urine sample into a rabbit. After injected, the rabbit would be killed to see if the ovaries were swollen; if so, the woman was pregnant. As indicated, there have been some strides for the search for alternatives to animal testing, but without animal testing the environment will also suffer. The mink is a good example of how testing is helping the environment. Mink are highly susceptible to a raft of environmental chemicals, particularly PCB's (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) and dioxins. By feeding mink contaminated Carp in Lake Michigan, scientists can asses the impact of contaminants on the Carps reproductive ability. By knowing what levels are harmful, science can determine water quality standards for Carp and many other species, including humans. Ways are being developed for using the South African clawed frog for testing soil toxicity at Superfund (toxic waste) sites. Because the frogs embryos are transparent, researchers can trace abnormalities caused by contaminants. This. will help the environment around Superfrund sites and also can be used as a model for all soil contaminated areas. The truth, whether popular or not, is that humans are invading more of the earth. Along with this invasion comes the baggage that goes with invasion, such as garbage and waste. The solution to solving these problems that have been caused can be found through the use of animal experimentation. If one is pro environment but opposed to animal testing, consider yourself on shaky ground the two positions are not compatible. This is a position taken by environmentalists for quite some time when in fact it openly contradicts itself. Undoughtably, the environment is of much importance when animal testing is discussed, but the most prevalent reason must not be overlooked- Human Medical Gain. Humans have the most to benefit from animal experimentation; it can extend the quality of lives and lengthen life span. At the University of Pittsburgh, this has proven to be the case. In 1992, a human recipient of a baboon liver transplant lived for two weeks (Shannon 1). Although this may not sound like an enormous feat, it most certainly was. By using the baboons liver, doctors and scientists have learned a tremendous amount about transplant surgery. Nothing is perfect the first time around but in time with help from animals such as the baboon, the procedure can be perfected. The question that must be raised is whether a human has more of a right to live than an animal. In the opinion of many, this question should not even be considered. It is what is called survival of the fittest. Only the strong survive, and in this instance humans are the stronger of the two species. This concept is very common in the wild. Lions kill zebra as

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