Animal Experimentation

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To Scientists, Students & Companies experimenting on animals For centuries humans have made use of other species to meet their needs, for food, clothing, transportation, sports, companionship, medical research and entertainment. Until the eighteenth century, animals were considered as a piece of property. The animal's owners could beat, starve or even kill it without any interference. The situation hasn't changed much over the years. Today, animals are exploited, experimented upon, killed for research, product testing, educating students.

" Each species has the right to express the natural behaviors of its kind ... All animals have the right to a natural life span without suffering, neglect or cruelty. Every animal has the right to a humane death " (Bloyd S., Pg 13, 1990).

There is one aspect of Animal Rights which is most severe and distressing, Experimentation on Animals must come to an end soon!. The question is not "˜can they reason?' nor, "˜can they talk?' but "˜can they suffer?' I am a student at the University of Arizona, though I am a Computer Engineering major, I interact with many students related to the field of medicine.

The other day, I was talking to a friend, Daniel, a medicine major, he told me how they have been working on dissection of live frogs, pinning them to a board and then cutting their body. What disgusted me the most was the fact that these animals were not even given anesthesia (drugs that numb the body or bring to sleep) and had to suffer the extreme pain in front of their own eyes. The helplessness of these animals created a fury in me which compelled me to write to you, since you are a part of this legal crime' and it is you, who can bring about a change in the situation.

Animals and Education: Animals used for education and training range from frogs that are dissected in classrooms to dogs that undergo open heart surgery to train surgeons. Dissection was considered the best way to teach young people about the anatomy of various animals, the difference between species, and evolution. Well, what right do we have to take the life of an animal just to teach students about the nerves, the digestive system and for getting a grade! ? It would instead make the students feel that animal life is less important. About 6 million animals a year are killed so that they can be dissected in American Schools. (Woods G., Pg 24, 1999). Removing these animals from their natural environment may upset the balance of nature. I would never opt for any such education which would cost an animal its life.

Instead of dissecting, students may use a computer program to analyze the body structures of animals. There are many web-sites over the internet which now provide the service of virtual dissecting, in which you can experiment your skills without harming any animals (), ().

Students may watch a film of a biology teacher dissecting an animal, which can give them quite a good idea of the process. Along with this there are a wide range of teaching tools like plastic models, charts and multimedia technology. Remember that the power is in your hands.

At this point I would like to cite an incident which took place in 1987, in which a California High School student, Jenifer Graham, refused to dissect a frog on moral grounds. She was given a low grade, which was protested against by her parents in a federal court. As a result, the federal judge issued a ruling against the school and her grades were upgraded. This means that nothing is impossible, it is just the first step that is the toughest.

Animals are also used to teach health workers how to care for wounds, set bones or treat other ailments. The U.S department of Defense has operated "˜Wound Labs' since 1957 (James B., Pg 15, 1999). Did you know that in these, animals are shot with weapons that soldiers are likely to face on the battlefield?. Military doctors learn how to treat them by practicing on the animals. How uncivilized can we get? I feel that we are no better than the primitive man who killed others for his own survival. The difference is that we kill the weak in a sophisticated manner. How can we just take a life to learn how to save another life, when we have other alternative technologies to learn the same fact in a more effective way? New demonstration models have been introduced which makes the process of understanding the human body simpler. I feel really angry that when we have all the technology, then why don't we make good use of it instead of barbaric options.

According to the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, the 1,260 registered laboratories in the United States use between seventeen and twenty-two million animals each year ( , 03/29/00). Scientists like Alan M.Goldberg and John M. Frazier are two of the many scientists who argue that there are no effective substitutes for animal research. They are used in dangerous and painful experiments. Is this morally and ethically correct? Just because these innocent living beings can't speak for themselves and are helpless, doesn't mean we can use them for our selfish purposes! Animals in Product Testing: Today, most drugs, chemicals, household products, cosmetics, and other materials are tested on animals to try to determine whether they work and are safe. Animals are exposed to chemicals through inhalation, ingestion, eye contact or skin contact and various diseases are initiated in them through artificial methods, and then the drugs are tested on them. In one such experiment to test (Draize eye test) (McCoy J.J., Pg 20, 1993) the safety of cosmetics, a rabbit is held firmly till it becomes quiet, then the testing material is dropped inside one of their eyes and the other is used to watch the difference. Many animals, in an attempt to escape the pain, break their bones because of the tight fixtures holding them. How is this kind of a test justified? How would you feel if instead of those animals, you had been held and forced to test various materials? I had a look at an article which showed, how in a LD50 test, a group of animals is given chemicals, and when 50 percent of them die, that dosage is considered lethal dose for that chemical. Such atrocity on these innocent dumb animals is totally wrong and must stop immediately.

We humans have shown a superior degree of intelligence by developing language, making and using tools etc. Many animals do show signs of intelligence yet the abilities of humans are far above them. Would that mean we would allow experimentation on mentally retarded individuals and infants who appear to have little understanding of the world around them and no grasp of language? Nowadays many alternatives are available which should be used instead of this painful and uncivilized method. By analyzing exactly how one chemical or drug harms the body, researchers try to predict whether a similar chemical will also be dangerous. Along with this, new computer Softwares have come out which can predict the reaction of body towards different substances. You should at least test these methods and switch over to them.

Redundant & Misleading Animal experimentation: Some scientists say that there have been many breakthroughs in medicine field because of experimenting on animals. They don't realize that it is not because of the animals, instead because of the law, which required testing on animals before use by public. This doesn't mean that the success couldn't be achieved without the animals! Human reactions to drugs cannot be predicted by tests on animals because different species (and even individuals within the same species) react differently to drugs.(Day N., Pg16, 1994) Britain's health department estimates that only one in four toxic side effects that occur in animals actually occur in humans. Practolol, a drug for heart disorders that "passed" animal tests, causes blindness in humans and was pulled of the market. Experimenters using animals are less apt to notice symptoms like emotional changes, dizziness, nausea, and other important but less obvious conditions. Animals can't tell you how they feel, information that is necessary to help determine whether a drug can be tolerated by human patients. We have no right to restrain any animal, try our drugs on them and compare it with our own reactions. I find all this so irrational and illogical.

Pharmagene Laboratories scientists believe that the discovery process of testing cell cultures from human body is much more efficient. "If you have information on human genes, what's the point of going back to animals?¨ says Pharmagene cofounder Gordon Baxter. ( ).

There is evidence that many experiments are unjustified on scientific grounds. Results are often misleading, because animals react to certain drugs and chemicals in a different way to humans. This suggests that far more animals are being made to suffer unnecessarily. "In the Bion Project, monkeys, Dogs and rats have been blasted into orbit in the cause of the space race. If they do not die in space, most are killed and dissected on their return to earth." (James B, Pg 24, 1999).

This kind of cruelty of exposing animals to such pain and suffering to obtain knowledge for our own purposes is very wrong. Alternative techniques like use of computers, human cells and tissues, powerful scanners should be applied for such research rather than following the crude method of hurting the animals. It's time we take strong action and create a healthy environment of peace and natural life for these animals. More wildlife sanctuaries should be opened and more people should adopt animals, take care of them.

In conclusion, I would like to say that improvements in the lives of animals come only when human attitudes change. And attitudes, even deep-rooted ones, can and do change. The power is in your hands.

"If it (Animal Rights movement) didn't exist, conditions would be worse for animals as this appeals to what is best in the human animal."