Since the ancient Greeks, experimental animals have been very important to our understanding of the biological processes that makes life possible. In a world growing more complex daily, laboratory animals are needed more than ever to help in the discovery of vaccines and cures for the plagues of today and those to come, not to mention in both easing the burden of chronic diseases and ensuring humans a safe food supply. Using animals in biomedical research is necessary.
Laboratory animals can play an important role as biological models for the study of physiological functions and cognitive functions in humans, and as disease models for understanding the mechanisms of human diseases and medical conditions. Animal models can help make clear many aspects of a disease or medical condition by providing a means of thoroughly studying the circumstances necessary to produce impairments observed in humans, and by providing the possibility for assessing the effectiveness of possible interventions, treatments, and cures.
Animals are essential to the study of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It was not all that long ago that cancers and other diseases were viewed as death sentences. Now such conditions are routinely cured, reversed, and treated with the help of laboratory animals.
The contributions of animal research to the health, safety, and well being of both humans and animals have been enormous. Without animal research, very few of the medical advances we expect today for ourselves and our loved ones would be possible. Vaccines for rabies were developed using dogs and rabbits. Smallpox, which killed more than two million people, can now be prevented because of research on cows. Diphtheria was dominated with research on guinea pigs and horses. Polio would have been impossible to prevent without the use of monkeys. Because of animal research, we now...