Animal Experimentation Essay

1411 words - 6 pages

Clang. A metal cage is opened and a rat inside scurries to the other end, knowing the fate that will soon come to it. An intimidating gloved hand reaches inside and grabs the cowering creature despite its desperate struggles. Not long after, the rat is dead, another victim of animal experimentation. While there are some benefits of testing animals for medical purposes, there are also alternative means that are possible and could be even more effective.
Scientists and researchers around the world claim that many people owe their health to animal research. Several noteworthy medical advancements, such as the polio vaccine, insulin for diabetes, and antibiotics for pneumonia, have been said to have not been possible without the use of animals (Hurley n. pag). However, this alone does not prove that animal testing is essential for human health. Many other significant progressions were made without the use of animals, including the discovery of penicillin, development of the x-ray, and the espial that a high level of cholesterol can lead to heart disease (Animal Testing n. pag). It would be foolish to say that animal experimentation has done nothing in the field of medicine, but it would be even more foolish to say that today’s cures and treatments are all in existence because of it. Furthermore, there are limits on the effectiveness of using animals for research that are usually kept under wraps. The research is generally pretty slow going to begin with, and there are no guarantees when it comes to the results (Hill n. pag). It is also common knowledge that there are important differences in the biological composition of a human and a small animal such as a rat. The reactions to certain experiments could differ a little, or detrimentally; therefore, it is much less predictive for researchers to hypothesize a human’s reaction to the medicine even after having a full observation of an animal’s (Crowley n. pag). In short, there is no substitution for the real thing. But there is tremendous agreement that testing on humans would be even more unethical than using animals, which is why both of these options are outshined by a promising compromise: alternatives to animal testing.
Over the years scientists and researchers have noticed a drop in support for animal experimentation. In fact, according to Jim Spencer in Science Takes Case for Animal Research to the People, “Americans’ support for that research using animals shrank from seventy percent to fifty-four percent” between the years of 2000 and 2008 (Spencer n. pag). The peoples’ outcry caused a revolution in research and scientists began looking into alternatives to animal testing. A few of the different developments include the DataChip and MetaChip, biochips which “mimic the reaction of the human body and reveal the potential toxicity of chemicals,” computer simulations of a human body’s reaction, and, perhaps the most popular, in vitro tests, which are experiments that take place in a...

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