Animal Experimentation is when scientific researchers use animals in biomedical and veterinary research aimed at understanding diseases, developing new medicines, testing the safety of chemicals, improving the health of other animals and improving human health. It has been part of biomedical and behavioural research for several centuries (millennia); experiments with animals were conducted in Greece over two thousand years ago.
Animal tests are carried out to see if a potential product produces any serious side-effects such as liver or kidney damage, dangerously raising blood pressure or damaging the foetus or nervous system. Scientists and the law need this information before proceeding to test the medicine on human volunteers.
Arguments in favour:
Many scientists believe that animal experimentation remains a crucial tool for the investigation and treatment of serious diseases such as cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and heart disease. Humans share many physiological and biochemical systems with other species.
98.5% of human genes are essentially the same as those found in the chimpanzee. Because our biological systems are so similar we also share many diseases with at least one other species. Charles Cornelius, a vet, has compiled a list of about 350 diseases found in animals, which also occurs in a similar form in people. Since there is a similarity between animal and human diseases the same medicines can often be used to treat both.
Research using animals comprise only about 5% of total biomedical research and uses about 10% of research funds.*Animals are only used when no other research technique will provide the required information. Non-animal methods such as computer modelling, tissue culture and patient studies are widely used alongside animal studies but more often compliment animal studies than act as a replacement for them.
Most scientists care a great deal about the animals they use and animal...