Lynzee Brenner English 101. 08

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Lynzee Brenner

English 101.08

Leah Stahl

November 29, 2009

Change Is Good

Penicillin: the world’s first antibiotic. Did you know that it should have come out ten years sooner? Testing on rabbits was giving us the wrong results (Archibald 13). Not only that, but if we’d chosen guinea pigs, we might have never gotten it; it kills them. This isn’t the only medication that has had this kind of result. Many that showed no effects in animals have actually killed humans. Animals and humans are simply not the same. Does basing our medicine off animal experiments actually cause more harm than good?

There is no denying that animal experimentation has created many benefits for humans. The tests performed every day are helping to save human lives. Shandilya Ranja states that rabies, hepatitis B, malaria, mumps, herpes simplex, and even polio are all examples of diseases that now have vaccines (4). These came to be with the help of animal experimentation. Anesthesia, which is used just as often, is also exists for us because of animal testing. Pacemakers are another good example of how animal experimentation is keeping people alive (Ranjan 4). Even diabetics are being kept alive by this practice—insulin is actually taken from animals’ bodies (Animal Rights and Vivisection 5). The testing is also aiding in AIDS research and could have potentially saved many lives with an experiment that showed that HIV positive people should refrain from drinking too much alcohol (History and Science 19). However, even though the research has led to many positive outcomes, there have been many devastating ones as well.

There have been many incidents where animal testing has shown no bad side effects, but the drug has gone on to harm many humans. A supposedly safe arthritis drug called Vioxx was the cause of 14,000 heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. alone; it didn’t hurt the hearts of any of the animals it was tested on (Archibald 4). Hormone replacement therapy, which increases women’s risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke, actually decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke for monkeys (Archibald 9). Isoprenaline, a drug for asthma withdrawn in the 60s, was the cause of death for 3,500 people in just Britain. Another drug—Eraldin—blinded many people and killed 23; it was used as a heart treatment. Withdrawn in the 80s, Opren, an arthritis drug, induced the deaths of 61 and hurt 3,500 others. Even a drug for something as simple as heartburn killed over 300 people before it was taken off the market (Archibald 31). According to Dave Williams, “Six healthy volunteers in a 2006 phase I clinical trial at Northwick Park Hospital in London developed devastating adverse effects of a ‘cytokine storm’ following injection of the CD 28 super agonistic anti body TFN 1412” (1). Not only does can animal testing hurt because of drugs developed, but also because of a lack of drugs. Scientists found a cure for cancer in mice decades ago. The National Cancer Institute reasons we may have even lost cures for human cancer because they were inefficient in mice (Archibald 9).

The problem with every single one of these cases is that humans and animals are too different to compare. Kathy Archibald writes about this in her article “Animal Testing: Science or Fiction?” When looking at drug side effects in humans and drug side effects in animals, studies have shown that animal tests are “less predictive than tossing a coin” (Archibald 5). A study found that side effects to humans were predicted in animal tests only six of 114 times (Archibald 5). There are many examples of the differences. For animals, there are 22 drugs that serve as therapy to spinal cord injuries, none of them can be used to help humans (Archibald 10). There are also 20 compounds that are not carcinogens to humans, 19 of them are carcinogens to rodents (Archibald 11). Claudia Tarry writes about a survey was taken of 116 medications withdrawn between the years of 1960 and 1990 because of horrible side effects. Problems were only found for 11 of them while doing animal experiments (1). Even the experts aren’t convinced this is the best way. The vice-president of genetics from GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical giant, reports “90 percent of its drugs only work in 30 to 50 percent of people and it’s a tragic consequence of the continued use of animal tests” (Tarry 2). Along with that, 500 general practitioners surveyed back in 2004 led to the data that 82 percent of them believe that animal experiments could lead to the wrong conclusions. 83 percent of these doctors would agree with an independent scientific evaluation of whether or animal experimentation is really applicable enough to continue (Archibald 27). Finally, the toxicology working group of the select committee on animals in scientific procedures points out that “the formulaic use of two species in safety testing is not a scientifically justifiable practice, but rather an acknowledgement of the problem of species differences” (Archibald 28). There are actually many alternatives that use humans. What’s better to compare a human to than another human?

Though many good discoveries have been make through animal testing, there is no proof that they could not have been made otherwise. A 10-year study established that testing in many alternative ways is more precise than testing on animals (Archibald 25). Many of them use actual human cells. There are many in vitro, in test tube, and in silico, computer, methods. These are even a specialization for quite a few companies (Archibald 25). Another option is to experiment on actual humans. In microdose studies—as the name suggests—a small, or micro, dose of the drug being tested is given to volunteers. The entire procedure is monitored by scanners and is safe (Archibald 26). There are even more specific alternatives. Instead of performing painful eye irritancy tests on rabbits, discarded cow corneas can be used for the same tests (Amundson 4). Finally, one more alternative is using cell cultures and placental tissue (Animal Madness 7). These use human pieces to discover the human reaction, but are not risking anyone’s safety.

The supporters of animal-testing worry that if animal testing becomes outlawed, things could get out of hand. The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide argues “Such views have radical implications” (Animal Rights 10). One implication of that would mean everyone would have to become a vegetarian. Surely eating animals for out benefit is just as bad as experimenting on them for our benefit. Another would be closing zoos—keeping animals locked in cages couldn’t possibly be right. Finally, it would even mean freeing all pets. What some see as friendship could cross the line into slavery (Animal Rights 10).

Looking at it this way is ridiculous. Ending animal experimentation is not the same thing as giving animals equal rights. It is simply treating them as living creatures who can feel pain. Plus that is not necessarily the basis for stopping it. Though ending animals’ suffering is a great reason to stop it, that’s not the only reason. Ending this kind of testing could potentially save human lives by getting rid of surprise side-effects. This means that we aren’t basing it off the animals’ rights at all, but off humans’.

Does animal experimentation cause more harm than good? Though it has brought about many benefits to mankind, there is no proof that we couldn’t have gotten those benefits otherwise. There are many alternative experiments that would allow us to refrain from animal testing; experiments that may possibly give us more accurate results. This would save not only many animals, but many humans as well. All we have to do is be willing to accept change.

Works Cited

Amundson, Sara. “The Paradigm Of Progress.” The Animals’ Agenda. 20.6 (2000):

26-27. Proquest. Web. 1 Nov. 2009.

“Animal Madness; Terror Tactics Are Wrong But That Doesn’t Make All Animal Testing

Right.” New Scientist. 169.2275 (2001): 3. Academic Onefile. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.

Animal Rights and Vivisection.” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas

and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon, 2009. Credo Reference. Web. 1

Nov. 2009.

Archibald, Kathy. “Animal Testing: Science or Fiction?” The Ecologist. 35.4 (2005):

14- 17. Proquest. Web. 1 Nov. 2009.

“History and Science.” AVERT, Aug. 2009. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.


Ranjan, Shandilya. “Animal Testing Pros.”, 31 Mar. 2008. Web. 2 Nov.

2009. <>.

Tarry, Claudia. “Misleading Data From Animal Testing.” Nursing Standard. 18.18 (2004):

31. Academic Onefile. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.

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