25 July 2018
Animal Testing Research Paper
100 million animals are killed every year due to companies experimenting their products on these innocent creatures. These animals are being used for testing all in the name of science, subjected to poor laboratory conditions which impact their well being. Animals such as rats, mice, and bunnies are locked away in small cold cages. They are in pain and are alone just waiting in fear for the next procedure, like burning their skin, that will be performed on them. Many of these animals often die because they are being tested with toxic chemicals, drugs, food, and cosmetics that are detrimental to their health and in most cases ends up leading to death for them. The most common animals that are being tested include mice, fish, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, farm animals, birds, cats, dogs, mini-pigs, and non-human primates (monkeys, and in some countries, chimpanzees). There is a traditional assumption that animals respond the same way that humans do when exposed to certain products which is why scientists conduct test on them in an effort to know more about human reactions. These animals are victims to experiments that assess the safety of cosmetic, personal care, household products, chemicals, medical devices, and their component ingredients. The reactions vary by species, and it makes it difficult to collect data and apply them to humans when exposed to these products. As a result, animal testing can fail to protect humans by harmful products.
According to Susan Scutti, from Medical Daily, animals were first used by scientist for anatomical curiosity. This started with early Greek physicians experimenting on animals. This can also be seen with Ibn Zuhr, an Arab physician of the 12th century who made surgical procedures on animals first before conducting them on human patients. During that period, scientist would perform these experiments for public use. A live animal would be cut open and each organ would be displayed so that students’ could examine the function of organs. In the 20th century, pharmaceutical drug testing increased became important in countries like the United States. Diethylene glycol (DEG) was a drug used to treat streptococcal infections. DEG was poisonous to humans, however, an unknown chemist would sell it to humans as an elixir. This lead to more than a hundred deaths. In the wake of this disaster the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. This Act required the testing of drugs on animals before they were able to be sold (Scutti, Susan).
Animal testing has also been viewed as a global issue. The European Parliament is close to a confrontation with European Union governments over the issue of animal testing of cosmetics and their ingredients. They quote “Parliament’s influential environment committee has voted overwhelmingly to ban the testing of cosmetic products on animals by the end of 2004 and to prohibit the marketing of cosmetics that have been submitted to animal tests within five years. The committee’s decision is likely to be backed by a plenary session of the parliament later this month” (EU Parliament). This show influential leaders across the globe are trying to get coverage and stop the cruelty of animal testing that has been going on due to a lot of people not being aware and not taking a stance on this immoral issue.
Animal testing is also a local problem. This is a problem locally within cities in the United States, as well as other states. According to PETA “All institutions that receive federal grants for animal experiments must be registered with the National Institutes of Health. A list of all the universities and companies that receive taxpayer money for experiments on animals can be found here (click on the state that you want at the top)”. With the list that PETA provides you can see how many cities actually do testing on animals. There are many cities that are really close to the Imperial Valley. Luckily we do not have one here in the Imperial Valley.
After so many years animal testing is still being done today, and is hardly regulated. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the only law that the United States has in protecting animals from being tested. This act only has minimal protection, and it does not protect cold blooded animals from being tested on. This act applies to either live or dead dogs, cats, primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, or other warm-blooded animals that are to be for research or exhibition, or used as a pet. The animals that are excluded from this act are fish, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as farm animals like cows and pigs. The USDA is the only agencies in charge with enforcing the AWA. Business and individuals using animals have to be licensed or registered with the USDA. Having just one agency can lead to oversight that could be costly to the animals being tested on.
For example, rabbits are one of the most common animal that are being tested for cosmetics. They are frequent victims of animal experimenters because they are hardly agressive, easy to handle, to keep and as well as to breed. Hundred thousands of these rabbits are abused in U.S laboratories every year. Despite the availability of more modern, humane, and effective different way to test cosmetics, rabbits are still tormented in test, such as the Draize eye irritancy test. PETA states “which cosmetics, dishwashing liquid, drain cleaner, and other substances are dripped into the animals’ eyes, often causing redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or blindness.” These rabbits are then killed after the experiment is over. The testing doesn’t stop here because even after rabbits are killed experiments are conducted on their skin.
There are several organizations that are fighting for animals to have rights. One of them as many people know is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). They are one of the largest animal organizations in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA focuses on factory farms, clothing trade, in laboratories, and in entertainment industry. They also work on the killings of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as to domesticated animals. PETA works through animal rescues, cruelty investigators, celebrities, and protest.
Another animal right activist group is Best Friends Animal Society organization whose mission is for no pet to be homeless, create a better home for animals, to treat all living things how humans would want to be treated, and to have compassion and respect for all living creatures. Best Friend Animal Society started about 34 years ago, that was created by a group of people that had one goal in common. Best Friend Animal Society states “it was simply about doing the right thing for creatures who could not speak or act on their own behalf”. This organization aimed towards having all animals in good and loving homes, and for them to receive the love and respect that all animals need. They gave a voice to all animals, due to the fact that animals cannot really communicate with humans and do not have a choice on whether they want to get tested on or not.
Another organization that has taken a stand would be the British animal rights activists. They have taken their campaigns all the way to Asia. They state "The aim of this was to embarrass the Japanese research industry and government because of Japan’s involvement with Huntingdon Life Sciences”(SHAC). Huntingdon Life Science is an organization is an animal testing facility. It is said that they are the largest organization that test on animal for various different things, such as diet pills, detergents, tanning lotions etc. The British Animal Rights Activists are trying to make animal testing become an awareness and let people around the world know that animals are dying because of us. They want people to know that they have lives just like us and that they do matter no matter how small or big they are.
There are many cruelty free companies now. These companies are considered cruelty free because they use products that have been known to be safe on humans for many years. These companies will usually have a label that say “no animal testing”, “cruelty-free”, or they will have a bunny logo on their product. Peta states that “A company that is interested in having its name added to our cruelty-free list(s) must complete a short questionnaire and sign a statement of assurance”. This means that if a company wants to be verified cruelty free has to go thru this method stating that they do not test on animals. Some companies that still test on animals are; Lysol, Clorox, Febreze, Head & Shoulders, Chapstick, IAMS dog food, Johnson & Johnson, and the list goes on. On the PETA website you can search up a brand and see if they are on their cruelty free list or not.
Now, some scientists are using cellular models to test products on. Cellular models are a type of human tissue, and one way to obtain these cells is to induce pluripotent stem cells. These are made from adults’ tissues such as skin or blood that are reprogrammed into stem cells that can become any type of cell in the body. This is useful for scientist because it shows how a specific drug can react with a human body, and to see how the cell can respond. Not only is this more realistic, it also helps the cells to thrive. This is also a great local solution to propose to all the Universities and local companies that are testing on innocent animals.
According to PETA tax dollars are being thrown away to pointless experiments. For example, we already know that smoking cigarettes can be harmful to a growing fetus, however, that doesn’t stop the federal government from funneling more than $10 million to Eliot Spindel of the Oregon National Primate Research Center. What Spindle does is get primates impregnated and inject them with nicotine. The nicotine that causes damages to the developing fetus’ lungs, but not only does he leave it at that. He also cuts the preterm babies from their mothers and kills them for their organ to be dissected. PETA also mentioned that “Yale University squandered nearly $10 million from the National Institute of Health for nicotine, amphetamine, and cocaine addiction substances to be tested on mice, rats, and monkeys” (PETA). These people could be using actual human smokers so they can find out what happens to an actual human body, but instead they would much rather harm an innocent life that cannot defend itself. These animals are forcefully being addicted to drugs that we know causes harmful effects to a human body, and this was not found by testing them on animals. Humans found out how drugs affect them because humans are voluntarily taking these drugs and getting addicted to them themselves. Federal tax dollars should be spent funding addiction treatment centers and studying drug addictions in humans in a clinical setting rather than torturing poor defenseless animals.
Also, animal testings can be proven to lead to inaccurate effects, so why do testing on animals. The testing environment skews the results. An essential part of conducting a viable experiment is to allow for only one variable. However, the testing environment is in and of itself a variable not accounted for. According to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, “stress, routinely experienced by animals in labs, negatively influences the reliability of animal research data. Stress influences heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, muscular activity, and hormone levels and can modify the normal values of these variables significantly” (Limitations and Dangers). The research environment is therefore interfering with the animal’s’ normal body functions. If normality cannot be established, then a change from the normal state cannot be quantified either. Stress is not the only affected factor, “In one study, researchers discovered that not only is stress a common factor for mice in labs—just having a researcher present can alter a mouse’s behavior—but they also experience ‘sympathy pains’ for the mice surrounding them. ‘In other words, seeing another mouse in distress elevates the amount of distress the onlooker displays'” (Limitations and Dangers). The research environment makes the mice actively behave differently than they would whether they are by themselves or with other mice.
These creatures are defenseless and cannot protect themselves against us humans. There is no need for us to be testing on animals because studies have shown that they react differently compared to humans. There are substances that animals do not react to but if a human consumes they can react to it, or vice versa. For example, chocolate, everyone loves chocolate but chocolate is harmful to some animals. A dog cannot consume chocolate because it will cause them to get heartworms, and other complications.
All in all, animal testing should be illegal, there are so many alternatives for testing products Defenseless animals should not be in pain or agony; they should enjoy their life in their natural habitats, and let Mother Nature take its course. Animals are beautiful creatures and humans should not take them for advantage. Humans and animals should live at peace with each other. Humans need to be more aware of what embodies animal testing and how it can negatively impact animals.
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