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The ethical and moral concerns about the continued use of animals in research

Introduction Animal research has been used as a method of study, when the study of humans is deemed impractical or unethical. In the last century major important medical advances have benefited directly or indirectly from animal research.

However, serious ethical issues arise regarding the use of animals. Animals are subjected to painful procedures or toxic exposures that leave them injured, living impaired or even dead. In addition these techniques result in high levels of stress in animals and altered physiological functions often leading to inconclusive results. The replacement of animal methods as much as possible with non-animal techniques would yield both ethical and technical advantages.

The exploration and implementation of non-animal methods should be a priority for investigators and research institutions, and should take advantage of a wide variety of viewpoints to ensure progress toward scientific, human health, and animal protection goals.

In 2004 the U. Accurate figures for animal testing are difficult to collect. Animal organizations estimate that 23-25 million animals are used in experiments each year solely in the US LPAG, 2004. Is impossible to know exactly how many animals are being used in research because U.

  • Cell culture has proven to be the most effective and it has been used for more than 30 years for cosmetic and other tests by some laboratories;
  • Animals are subjected to painful procedures or toxic exposures that leave them injured, living impaired or even dead;
  • This organization also funds many research projects worldwide and is an excellent representative of how the scientific community feels about animal research;
  • The scientific community argues that the acceptability of using animals in research rests on both expectations that the research findings will be meaningful and substantial and that the suffering of animals will be minimal Royal Society, 2006;
  • However, these would significantly decrease the number of animals used in experiments.

Experiments that use animals are conducted as a part of three overlapping goals or aims: The ultimate goal is to gain knowledge and many Scientifics argue that valuable findings have often risen from these experiments. This kind of research is most often performed in universities. Another category is applied research, which is conducted to solve specific biological problems or to develop commercial products. It can be done for medical or non-medical use.

Compared to basic research, which is more academically oriented, applied research experiments are more likely to be carried out in the pharmaceutical industry although some universities may conduct these experiments in commercial partnership Wikipedia, 2006. Animals are also used in toxicology in where commercial products are tested on subjects to measure potential adverse reactions to chemicals. The biological responses to these ingredients are also measured.

This type of study focuses on the symptoms, mechanisms, treatment and detection of poisoning. Due to the serious, adverse side effects that some drugs have presented in the past. Many countries passed new laws to ensure that all new pharmaceutical products have to go through rigorous animal testing before being licensed for human use.

Cosmetics testing is probably the most controversial of the categories mentioned above. Because of the strong feelings that some of the public has against cosmetic animal testing, most cosmetic manufacturers would state in their labels that the products are not tested on animals CCF,2006. The United States and Japan require animal testing to meet legal requirements for which they are strongly criticized by groups that disagree with testing animals for cosmetics Wikipedia, 2006.

Moral perspectives on the ethical dilemmas of balancing human benefits against animal harms in scientific research. Scientific animal testing has also been very controversial because of the use of animal models. Animal models are non-human animals with a disease that is similar to a human condition.

These models allow researchers to observe and investigate diseases in ways that would be impossible in human beings because they would imply a high level of harm to a human patient that would not be considered ethical. Scientist use animal models to learn more about the evolution and progression of diseases as well as their diagnosis and treatment.

Animal model diseases can be spontaneous or induced by physical, chemical or biological means. Drugs are also used to mimic a disease. Cardiazol is a commercial drug used as a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. This drug has been used in many investigations as an animal model of epilepsy. It has also been used to study the seizure phenomenon and to try to identify different pharmaceuticals that may control and reduce seizures.

In the last century, humans and animals have benefited directly or indirectly from animal research, from antibiotics and insulin to blood transfusions and treatments for cancer and HIV Cook, 2006.

The scientific community argues that the acceptability of using animals in the ethical and moral concerns about the continued use of animals in research rests on both expectations that the research findings will be meaningful and substantial and that the suffering of animals will be minimal Royal Society, 2006. The view that human beings have the right to make this decision is based on various philosophical arguments. Position of the scientific community on the use of animals in research The royal society is one of the oldest scientific academies in continuous existence.

It has promoted excellence in science among it members. This organization also funds many research projects worldwide and is an excellent representative of how the scientific community feels about animal research. Part of the ethical justification for the use of animals is that scientific procedures depend on it and also because there is a moral obligation to increase the knowledge in every way possible so that new therapies and drugs can be developed to ease the suffering caused by lines and other conditions Royal Society, 2006.

Many scientists and governments agree that if animals are to be used in experiments, procedures should be carried out so that the animal subjects experience minimal discomfort or distress, and that animals should be used only if there is no other method available to deliver consistent and substantial results. Three guiding principles are used in many countries to observe the use of animals. Reduction refers to methods that enable researchers to obtain comparable results from fewer animals, or to obtain more information from the same number of animals.

And refinement refers to methods to alleviate or minimize potential pain suffering and distress that animals go through the procedures Wikipedia, 2006. Some organizations, part of the general public and scientists that advocate for animal testing also argue that it would be unethical to administrate substances and drugs that might have dangerous side effects to humans.

In addition some experiments need to observe the variables for large periods of time; humans can not be confined in a laboratory for extended periods of time. One of the most popular claims of the pro- animal testing arguments is that living systems are necessary to study the interaction among cells, tissue and organs, along with it studies of infections by lethal pathogens such as Ebola and HIV would be impossible to be done in humans NCABR, 2002.

  • Most ethicists think that we have a greater moral responsibility for the things we do than for the things we fail to do; i;
  • Retrieved October 16, 2006 from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia webpage;
  • The exploration and implementation of non-animal methods should be a priority for investigators and research institutions, and should take advantage of a wide variety of viewpoints to ensure progress toward scientific, human health, and animal protection goals;
  • Drug C killed all the mice and rats.

Animals are used in experiments because they have a shorter reproductive span, and some animals are specially bred for experimentation purposes. Other pro-animal experimentation proponents contend that a large number of animals are used by humans for other purposes including agriculture, hunting, pest control, than are used in animal testing.

Hundreds of millions of rats are killed in pest control procedures.

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Millions dogs and cats are euthanized from animal shelters each year, and a million animals are killed each day by automobiles USDA, 2004. Position of non scientific community Opponents of animal testing strongly contest these views and question the scientific community whether sacrificing millions of animals was necessary to achieve these results PETA, 2006.

D or and academic tenure, and not because the research is beneficial. They also say that the suffering of animals is excessive compared with the results obtained.

In addition some groups say that Animal testing facilities are not properly regulated. They claim that several undercover investigations have led to evidence of animal cruelty and abuse in Universities and pharmaceutical companies PETA 2006. Opponents say that there is no justification for animal torture and regard animal investigations as a bad science because some of the conditions are induced animal models.

They say that these conditions should not be compared with the same disease in humans. For instance Parkinson disease can not be simulated by causing brain damage to animal whether by administrating drugs or by other means BUAV, 2005. Also several drugs have dangerous side affects that were not predicted by animal models. Many drugs had had to have been pulled off the market a good example is Vioxx and Thalidomide.

The latter was sold as a prescription drug to stop nausea in pregnant woman during the 1960s.

  • Drugs are also used to mimic a disease;
  • D or and academic tenure, and not because the research is beneficial;
  • Animals are subjected to painful procedures or toxic exposures that leave them injured, living impaired or even dead;
  • Position of the scientific community on the use of animals in research The royal society is one of the oldest scientific academies in continuous existence;
  • It can't be used to defend all forms of experimentation since there are some forms of suffering that are probably impossible to justify even if the benefits are exceptionally valuable to humanity;
  • This drug has been used in many investigations as an animal model of epilepsy.

It was used in Europe and other parts of the world; the drug was never approved for sale in the United States. Unfortunately, scientists discovered that it caused birth defects Cordy, 1978. PETA, one of the biggest animal organizations claims that this drug was indeed tested in animals however it did not predict the disastrous side effects Carnell, 1995.

Some drugs also appear to have different effects on human and non-human animals a good example would be aspirin that acts as a teratogen causing congenital malformations.

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Laboratory environment and the experiments affect every organ and biochemical functions in the body. Many animals are subjected to isolation, pain, physiological distress, hyper sexuality, early separation from the mother, surgery and anesthesia and overcrowding among other factors, these would decrease viral resistance and immune response in animals BUAV, 2005. Conclusion Animal rights groups strongly believe that human beings have no moral right to use individual animals in ways that would not benefit those individuals.

Today, there are two major accepted alternatives, Computer simulation and in vitro cell culture techniques. However, these would significantly decrease the number of animals used in experiments. Examples of computer simulation models include diabetes asthma and drug absorption MB labs, 2006.

Cell culture has proven to be the most effective and it has been used for more than 30 years for cosmetic and other tests by some laboratories. Micro-dosing using voluntary human subjects is also becoming popular. In these assessments, the drugs that are administrated give doses below the doses that would produce a whole body effect. Animal research is a very controversial topic. Personally I have mixed feelings regarding this issue.

  1. In addition these techniques result in high levels of stress in animals and altered physiological functions often leading to inconclusive results. However, these would significantly decrease the number of animals used in experiments.
  2. It was used in Europe and other parts of the world; the drug was never approved for sale in the United States.
  3. Examples of computer simulation models include diabetes asthma and drug absorption MB labs, 2006.
  4. Cosmetics testing is probably the most controversial of the categories mentioned above. Animal research is a very controversial topic.

Although major medical advances that have benefited animal and human beings in the last century used animals in their experiments, some of the tests conducted indeed involve animal cruelty and they should be heavily regulated. The scientific community should take advantage of a wide variety of alternatives that are being developed, such as non-animal testing techniques. This will ensure progress toward science, human health, and animal protection goals.

Retrieved October 16, 2006 from the American Physiological society website: Retrieved October 16, 2006 from Animal rights. Retrieved October 18, 2006 from MB research laboratories web site: Retrieved October 16, 2006 from Foundation for Biochemical Research website: Retrieved October 18, 2006 from The humane society of the United states webpage: Retrieved October 16, 2006 from People for the ethical treatment of animals web site: Retrieved October 16, 2006 from Royal Society web site: Animal rights slam EU testing ban.

Statistics on Living AnimalsGrat Britain 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2006 from the U. Animals used in Research Report. Retrieved October 16, 2006 from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia webpage: