Animals Usage in Medical Research

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Animals should be utilized in research. Research on animals features a history that’s marred with controversy and debate, which may be a response to increasing awareness round the use of animals for research purposes. consistent with a scientific researcher’s point of view, animal research has had a crucial role in many scientific studies and biomedical practices. These practices started 100 years ago and still provide learning and understanding of varied animal and human diseases. People across the whole planet are living while enjoying some good comfortable life free from illnesses. This has been possible because of the advances made in animal research in order to develop medicine and treat diseases (Festing & Wilkinson, 2007). However, the use of animals in scientific and medical research has been a subject of heated deliberation for many years in the contemporary context.Medical researchers and scientists mostly believe that research conducted on animals is necessary because animals have been found to make good research subjects due to their biological similarity to humans (USDA, 2012). For example, chimpanzees and mice share more than 99% and 98% of DNA with humans (Understanding Animal Research, 2017). Due to their biological similarity to humans, animals are susceptible to many of the same health problems as humans. The other aspect that makes medical researchers and scientists to prefer animals in their research is their short life cycle as compared to humans and as a result, this allows them to be studied during their entire life and sometimes across several generations (Murnaghan, 2017). Their easily controlled environment on aspects such as lighting, diet, and temperatures provide an advantage to scientists as it is difficult to do with humans. However, with the advancement in technology, scientist and medical research can resort to the alternative methods of conducting research by using computer models and artificial intelligence in place of animals.

Through performing research on animals, the number of human volunteers is reduced immensely and the research produces life-changing results for humans, for instance, the development of new medicines, which require testing for identification and measurement. This allows research to understand the extend of both profitable and harmful effects of a substance inside and outside an organism (Knight, 2011). The initial steps newly developed medicines passes through is testing which takes place in vitro using tissues and isolated organs, then later further tests are conducted on a suitable animal model before clinical trials in humans. This procedure should be strictly followed as mandated by legal and ethical policies in order to correctly obtain data on efficacy and safety (Ringach, 2011). The data helps identify the safety concerns, in addition to determining the doses. The doses determined are then given to volunteers and patients during the first human trials.All the stakeholders are all protected from the harmful effects of chemicals by undertaking initial testing on animals. Prior testing of all medicines should be done before exposing them for commercial, consumers, and their effects on patients and animals should be understood.Biological research advances scientific knowledge and help researchers explore on the activities of living things, allowing the application of the understanding to benefit all living things especially humans and animals (APA, 2012). Scientific research has found that many basic cell processes, such as cell division, are the same in all animals. Both animals and humans bodies perform vital similar body processes such as digestion, reproduction, and movement. Doctors and scientists must then understand how bodies of animals and humans work when healthy so that when they fall ill, they are able to understand thus right medication measures can be put in place for the right treatment procedure. Animal research has enabled the tracing of the body’s anatomy and functions through scientific findings (Knight, 2011). The study of simple organisms by scientific researchers has been possible and has provided crucial basic information. The information gotten from studying simple animals can then be translated to study and treatment of higher organisms.

Animal research has created animal models that have helped for the study of human illness. This has been possible because humans and animals share hundreds of illnesses. For example, the beavers are believed to carry a parasitic tapeworm called Echinococcosis multilocularis. The fatal tapeworm can easily be spread to dogs and human causing diseases (Animal Research, 2017). Rabbits have been found to suffer from emphysema as well as atherosclerosis. Dogs suffer from ulcers, cataracts, cancer, bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, and cancer (Animal Research, 2017). These animals are then utilized during research on such disorders on humans. Visual impairment in humans has been successfully treated due to the research performed on cats that also suffer from the same condition. Such animal models make scientists to learn and understand effects of diseases to the body, the immune system response to the disease and the kind of people that are vulnerable. Animal models have enabled scientific researchers to explore therapies that could potentially treat human diseases but cannot be carried out in humans (Ringach, 2011). This has been possible through contributing to scientific understanding of diseases.

Direct development of new technologies and medicines has been facilitated by studying disease mechanisms in animal models. This has benefited both humans and animals. Induced models of diseases have been created by alteration of animals. For example, the study of rats with damaged spinal cords has led to discovery of the same symptoms in humans with a damaged spinal cord (Animal Research, 2017). New therapies have been developed after researchers were able to understand the after effects of spinal damage. The advancement in genetic technology has led to breakthrough in the development of transgenic animals whose genes have been inserted. These animals allow studies of drug resistant diseases therefore curbing microbial mutation. However, technological advancement has led to the creation of computer models, tissues, and cell cultures (Knight, 2011). Non-animals related research biomedical methods have also been used to screen and determine the toxic level of a substance in the beginning of an experiment. Computer models have been used to research on tissues and cell cultures of animals.Researchers conduct extensive study about a particular disease. They therefore are able to develop and test these potential therapies as part of the applied research process by using animals. For example, development of medicines for Parkinson’s disease has been possible using animal models with induced Parkinson’s-like symptoms (Festing & Wilkinson, 2007). Animals’ model are essential in terms of biological research application to solve real medical problem. This allows identification of new targets for disease intervention. Before performing surgical procedures and undertaking therapeutic technique, on human patients data from animal studies has been found to be essential (APA, 2012). Scanners have been used as diagnostic tools and heart pacemakers as implant. These scientific achievements have been safe and effective only because they were first developed and tested in animals.

It has been reported that the discovery of insulin resulted from the removal of pancreas for research from a dog, which have been critical for the treatment of diabetes. There have been an observation in the tremendous reduction of the cases of polio from 35000 cases in 1998 to 223 in 2012 due to the development of a vaccine that was first tested on animals (Understanding Animal Research, 2017). Animal research has also contributed to major advances in understanding and treatment of breast cancer, brain injuries, child leukemia, and tuberculosis among others. However, according to the Human society International, the animals used for the experiment are subjected to very cruel conditions such as forced feeding forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolong periods of physical restraints and infliction of pain to study its remedies. The use of animals such as chimpanzees has led to the discovery of a vaccine for hepatitis B and further research of the same is believed to result in the discovery of Hepatitis C and cure for other diseases such as cancer (Festing & Wilkinson, 2007). The discovery that has been successful using animals for research will encourage for more research in order to develop other drugs.

However, the use of animals for research has been found to be very expensive compared to the alternative methods such as in vitrio and thus cost the government several dollars. The Human Society International made some observable comparison between animal research and their in vitrio counterpart and found out that animal research was very expensive (USDA, 2012). Most experiments involving animals are flawed, wasting the live of the animal subject. All sufferings are undesirable, whether in humans or in animals and therefore subjecting animals to suffer in the name of scientific research is just speciesism and discriminating animals because they lack the cognitive ability and language to question that act is just like discriminating a mentally ill human being (Ringach, 2011). Animals’ research conducted instead of human research counterpart is therefore not justifiable in whatever context. It is perceived that medical breakthroughs involving animals research may still have been made without the use of animals if more resources were set aside to animal-free research alternatives.

In conclusion, scientific and biomedical researchers should speak out in public about their job and eliminate the public on how animals’ research has really helped in developing drugs and preventing deadly diseases. In addition, medical research on animals should be conducted because animals have been found to have biological similarity to humans. This makes them susceptible to the same health problems as humans. They also good in research because they have a shorter life cycle than humans do and as a result, they can be studied throughout their entire life and across their several generations. Additionally, scientists can easily control their environment such as lighting, temperature, and diet, which would be difficult to do with humans

References

Animal Research. (2017, October 27). Animal Research Info. Retrieved from http://www.animalresearch.info: http://www.animalresearch.info/en/designing-research/why-animals-are-used/

APA. (2012). Research with Animals. New York: American PSychological Association.

Festing, S., & Wilkinson, R. (2007). The ethics of animal research. Talking Point on the use of animals in scientific research. Embo reports.

Knight, A. (2011). Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Animal Experiments. Altex Proceedings, (pp. 289-294).

Murnaghan, I. (2017, October 2). Background and History of Animal Testing. Retrieved from http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk: http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk/background-history-animal-testing.html

Ringach, D. L. (2011). The Use of Nonhuman Animals in Biomedical Research. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 342(4), 305-313.

Understanding Animal Research. (2017, October 27). Forty reasons why we need animals in research. Retrieved from http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk: http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/about-us/science-action-network/forty-reasons-why-we-need-animals-in-research/

USDA. (2012). Why Are Animals Necessary in Biomedical Research? California biomedical research Association.

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