Life In the Lab



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Caroline Liu



Life In the Lab

In (at) Columbia University, a group of baboons were used for medical purposes. After critical and complicated surgeries, the baboons were left to suffer and die in their cages without any pain relievers. According to the Animal Welfare Act, “for animal care, treatment, and practices in experimental procedures, ensure that animal pain and distress are minimized, including adequate veterinary care with the appropriate use of anesthetic, analgesic or tranquilizing drugs, or euthanasia”(author and date of quote). Researchers claim that they allow pain relievers and medical care to animals in their experiments, but it has been proven by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) that out of the 1.4 million animals that are used for experiments, over 85,000 die because of the lack of pain relievers. Although those animals are being used to test medical and scientific purposes that can affect us, it has been shown and proven that the tested animals are being abused and not treated well by the animal experimenters.

The prevention of human suffering and deaths are our first priority and the lives of animals are secondary. With animal experimentation, there could be important medical breakthroughs, like cancer and AIDS, which would improve our (no our, we, I, me – you could replace “our” with “human”) lives greatly. Not only will it enhance our lives, it would also progress the lives of animals (comma) too since animals can be used to test animal/pet products. The animals are also used to test the safety of cosmetics, household cleansers, and other products. Banning animal testing would cause human suffering and endanger our health by allowing toxic products for marketing. Humans also share genes with chimpanzees and other primates. The reactions the monkeys have on products can be related to the human’s. It would be unreasonable to risk the lives of human beings than those of a non-human being to consumer product testing.

Although animals are used to test possible medical cures to diseases, the reactions and other sicknesses of most of the animals are never related to those that are possible for human beings. Some animal species are different from us in many biological ways and so sometimes it’s not possible for the animal testing results to be applied to us. The results are sometimes incorrectly interpreted or they just can’t (no contractions) be applied to human conditions. The animals often used in lab experiments, like mice, birds, rabbits, and etc (others) are chosen not for scientific or medical reasons, but only because it’s (no contractions) cheaper in cost to get these animals and therefore the results of the experiment using these animals are sometimes not accurate. Most of the helpful animal testing results come from testing chimpanzees, monkeys, and other primates. They share about 99% of their genes with us. Their reactions to the products can be related to the possible reactions from us. Some of the animals also share a basic physiology or functions and activities of their body parts with us. Sometimes, the outcomes of the experiments using the non-biologically related animals are so varied that they “prove” things to be true when they weren’t (no contractions). According to PETA, a group of scientists took 10 random results from animal testing about a human disease and the results didn’t (no contractions) make any contributions towards the treatment of the people with that disease. Most of the animal testing outcomes cannot be applied to humans because some of the animals they tested are not scientifically related to us. Therefore, animal experimentation can be useless depending on the type of animals you experiment with.

Besides the fact that the outcomes of animal testing cannot be applied to us, the tested animals are also not being treated as beings and are abused during testing by the experimenters. This quote is from a report written by Dr. Thomas Dixon in June 2000 and it states that “Animals have the right to be treated as beings of value in them, not as the means to human ends; this principle must be applied in order to guarantee the end of cruelty to animals”.(you did a good job introducing your quote, but put the author name and date at the end of the quote in parenthesis) This means that animals should never be experimented on anything dangerous in order for a potential gain for humanity. (or does this mean that animals should be treated more respectfully?) But unfortunately, that is not true. Monkeys and other primates have been infected by the AIDS virus while scientists were trying to find the cure for AIDS. Mice have been exposed to toxic chemicals and radiation. Transgenic pigs that were bred to grow faster suffered from the “mistakes” made by the scientists. These days, in the field of biotechnology, many animals are also suffering during genetic manipulation. By inserting or removing genes from an animal’s genetic make-up, they create a whole new breed of animals called “transgenic”. But the creation of these genetically manipulated animals is wasteful and useless because scientists make many “mistakes” that can cause the reactions and deaths of many transgenic animals. Businesses are also trying to create new animals that are used as “disease models” for research. These “disease models” were to be used to produce vaccines, medicines, and faster-growing animals for farms. Undoubtedly, the effort was useless and many animals were killed during the process. Animals were also used to serve as a source of organs and tissues for transplantation. However, those transplants have never been successful and they can also spread dangerous viruses and diseases. Hence, animal experimentation not only is sometimes useless and wasteful, but the animals are also being abused of their rights.

There are many alternatives to animal testing. The alternatives include in vitro (a biological process that happens outside of the living organism), genomic (having to do with the organism’s genetic material), computer-modeling, and human volunteers and patients. Unlike animal testing, non-animal tests take less time and they cost less than animal experiments. They aren’t affected by the different species of animals used in the tests that sometimes make it impossible to relate to us. According to PETA, Pharmagene Laboratories in England was the first company to test a drug using human tissues and computer technology. The use of humans can help find cures for diseases and disorders. This alternative led to may discoveries like the relationship between smoking and cancer and identifying heart disease risks. It also showed how AIDS and other viruses were transmitted and how they could be prevented. Unlike animal experimenters, the scientists know that the results of the tests can be related to people. Cells and tissues (in vitro) were used to test drugs and other pharmaceutical products. They are also used to help scientists study diabetes, cancer, glaucoma, and other diseases. The companies also use cells to study sunlight-induced irritation to the skin. Human skin models are now replacing the skin decaying studies on rabbits. When it comes to education, a study was conducted on biology students where one group used the “hands-on” labs while the others used computer software. The results were that the students using the computer software learned more than the other students. Therefore, the use of live animals is not the only way to test products, investigate diseases, and teach students.



In conclusion, every year, tens of millions of animals are used for testing the safety of consumer products and also for medical and scientific purposes. Unfortunately, many died because of the reactions/diseases caused by the experiment. Many animals are also being abused of their rights. Though researchers claim that they allow them unlimited access to medical care, still many died because of the lack of painkillers. But most importantly, animal experimentation is sometimes useless. The outcomes of the experiment cannot be applied to us if they are not using the right kind of animals. There are also other ways to test products and study diseases. The alternatives are faster and less costly than animal testing. The results are also more accurate and dependable. Therefore, animal experimentation shouldn’t be legal in the United States.

Reference List


· Dr. Dixon, Thomas (2000) Animal Experimentation: Debetabase-Debate Topics and Debate Motions. Retrieved: April 21, 2009 from: http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=7
· Animal Experiments: Overview (2003?) PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Retrieved: April 21, 2009 from: http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=126
· The Truth About Vivisection (date?) IDA Retrieved: April 28, 2009 from: http://www.vivisectioninfo.org/
· Animal Welfare Act as Amended (7 USC, 2131-2156) (1998) USDA Retrieved: April 29, 2009 from: http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/awa.htm
· Alternatives: Testing Without Torture: (date?) PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Retrieved: May 7th, 2009 from: http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=87


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