Research on animals is important in understanding diseases and developing ways to prevent them. The polio vaccine, kidney transplants, and heart surgery techniques have all been developed with the help of animal research. Through increased efforts by the scientific community, effective treatments for diabetes, diphtheria, and other diseases have been developed with animal testing.
Animal research has brought a dramatic progress into medicine. With the help of animal research, smallpox has been wiped out worldwide. Micro-surgery to reattach hearts, lungs, and other transplants are all possible because of animal research. Since the turn of the century, animal research has helped increase our life-span by nearly 28 years. And now, animal research is leading to dramatic progress against AIDS and Alzheimer's disease.
Working with animals in research is necessary. Scientists need to test medical treatments for effectiveness and test new drugs for safety before beginning human testing. Small animals, usually rats, are used to determine the possible side effects of new drugs.
After animal tests have proven the safety of new drugs, patients asked to participate in further studies can be assured that they may fare better, and will not do worse than if they were given standard treatment or no treatment.
New surgical techniques first must be carefully developed and tested in living, breathing, whole organ systems with pulmonary and circulatory systems much like ours. The doctors who perform today's delicate cardiac, ear, eye, pulmonary and brain surgeries, as well as doctors in training, must develop the necessary skills before patients' lives are entrusted to their care. Neither computer models, cell cultures, nor artificial substances can simulate flesh, muscle, blood, and organs like the ones in live animals.
There is no alternative to animal research. Living systems are complex. The nervous system, blood and brain chemistry, and gland secretions...