Human beings have used animals in scientific research for a long time. Animals are currently being used in clinical studies to find cures for some diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer and Leukemia. Nonetheless, several organizations are now campaigning against the use of animals in scientific research. This paper will present a brief summary of arguments against the use of animals in scientific research.
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- The British Union of the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is one of the organizations that campaign against the use of animals in scientific research. It encourages regulators to accept and encourage the use of alternative scientific testing techniques (as stipulated under the REACH regulations).
- The outcomes of animal-test methods can be misleading. It is important to mention that both animals and humans react differently to a particular drug. For example, some scientists have concluded that humans (and not animals) are the most suitable subjects that can be used to test HIV vaccines.
- Animals locked up (in cages) in the laboratories for use in scientific research undergo enormous stress. Consequently, this phenomenon may compromise the outcome of an experiment and render the scientific results irrelevant.
- Just like humans, animals have a right to live and not be used in clinical trials. Killing animals for scientific reasons is morally wrong and constitutes murder.
- There are numerous scientific testing alternatives to animal tests which are not only consistent and efficient but also save the lives of millions of animals. Some of these alternative methods include the use of patients and volunteers in clinical trials as well as computer-simulated models, genomic and in vitro.
- Studies have revealed that the use of non-animal tests techniques in scientific studies have produced reliable results. For example, in vitro (tissue and cell culture) have successfully been utilized to develop anti-AIDS, anti-cancer and other forms of drugs. Studies on tissue and culture have also been used to test and produce pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics and vaccines.
- In vitro genetic studies have also been successful in isolating distinct proteins, genes and markers associated with schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of genetic disorders.
- Scientists have recently developed a unique 3-dimensional model that will be used to screen breast cancer in its early stages as well as assess potential cures. Rather than using rodents to study cancerous tissues, this model utilizes the affected human tissues to study the progress of cancer in human beings.
- Other non-animal test techniques include the use of donated cadavers or human skin leftovers to assess the speed at which chemicals can permeate human skin.
- Microdosing is also another non-animal test procedure that can provide useful information about the danger/safety of an experimental treatment.
- Most of the organizations such as BUAV, PETA and SHAC argue that animal experimenters want to use disposable research subjects which are subject to manipulations and death. Animal experimenters are also aware that their synthetically generated animal models cannot duplicate human conditions. On the other hand, clinical researchers (who use non-animal test methods) know that the outcomes of their studies are directly related to human conditions.
The use of animals in scientific studies does not have any moral justification. Animals have a right to live and should be treated with respect. As noted above, the reaction of both animals and humans to a particular drug can be different.
It is thus imperative that animal test methods should be discarded in favor of non-animal test techniques (such as Microdosing and in vitro) that provide not only reliable and accurate results but also save animals.