Friday, May 16, 2008

The truth about animal testing

The practice of animal testing for the good of human kind is something that has been practiced for a long time now. These procedures are done in order to find cures for many illnesses the human exhibits. However, many people have seen this as something that is wrong because of many reasons. The main reasons are those of the results obtained, the money involved, and the ethics in the laboratories toward the animals.

Many groups are against animal testing because they believe it to be something unethical. They believe that the life of an animal has the same weight as the life of a human being. However, the governments across the globe feel that this is not the case, but most of them do have conditions on this. Most governments have set rules on how and why animals can be experimented on. For example, in the United Kingdoms, scientists must obtain a personal licence, a project licence, and the place or premises where the research is held must be officially approved by the Home Office. Furthermore, no experimentation can be done if the harm done to the animals outweighs the benefits produced to humans. While all these conditions have to be met, most of the time the last one is not. What happens in most cases is that research reaches a dead end and cannot continue on many drugs because of the results. When this happens, time and money is wasted and many animal lives are forfeit. This is not the only way that animals die in laboratories. Many groups have gone undercover to expose what happens in these research buildings. One of these groups, the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), went undercover at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University, and documented that laboratory technicians laughed as they smashed live mice against bench tops to kill them. Many other groups have done the same thing and found that animals are kept in small cages that prevent any movement, as well as animals being beaten by enraged technicians, and animals being given products that had already been tested. So while regulations are made by the government, they are rarely respected and the government does not do investigations to find out. This is what most angers animal rights groups.

The reason why animal testing is allowed is because the findings of the research conducted have to benefit the lives of humans. Most drugs in the market are tested on animals. Most of these drugs do help humans live a more comfortable life. However, these are just the drugs that are released. As stated previously, many research projects hit dead ends and the drug is never used on a human being. Another reason why a lot of drugs are not released to the market is that the results received on animals are completely different from the ones that could be received in humans. An example of this is TGN1412, the ‘elephant man’ drug. This drug was tested on macaque monkeys and the dose given was five hundred times the one to be used on humans. Because no adverse reactions occurred on the animal test subjects, human volunteers were recruited. After only a couple of minutes that the drug was ingested by six healthy men, they developed life threatening reactions. This happened in a controlled environment, but similar problems happen outside laboratories and with released products. According to the British Medical Journal, no less than five percent of all hospital admissions are due to adverse drug reactions. Two percent of the patients admitted die. The total of mortalities due to this translates to 10,000 people a year. This is three times the number killed in road accidents in the UK. The reason this happens is because the human species is genetically different from every other animal species. Because of this many drugs that give positive results on animals will yield negative results on humans. Thus making these test wrong because the results that benefit humans are not as high as they should be.

To conclude, while the governments have many regulations in order to protect animals from being abused, many of the laboratories do not respect them and no investigations are done, which make this unethical to a greater degree. Furthermore, the results are more negative than positive for human kind. Many of these drugs give adverse reactions.

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