Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Animal Torture

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“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally” (Day 60). Abraham Lincoln stated this in view of slavery, but it can also apply to animal experimentation. Millions of animals each year are used in research. They are treated cruelly because humans believe that animals are inferior to us. Animal experimentation should be prohibited because of the excessive amount money and animals are used in unethical and inhumane testing.

Animals have been used in testing for over 500 years. Alcamaeon of Croton (born about 500 BC) was a Greek doctor. He tested on the animals he owned by cutting a nerve behind the eye in order to study vision. Through many years, animals have been used to find out information about the heart, brain, stomachs, nerves, and vaccines. Today animals are also used for many household products such as makeup, cleaners, shampoo, and other items. The Food and Drug Administration requires animal tests for medicines and eye-care products. Though other objects such as toothpaste and soap do not require testing, many products still do. Animals are introduced to many chemicals through inhalation, ingestion, eye contact, or skin contact, which causes disturbing problems and pains to the animals (Day 7).

Exorbitant amount of money is spent on animal experimentation. The National Institutes of Health distributes five billion dollars of tax money to animal experimentation. The Department of Defense spent about $180 million on experiments using 55,000 animals in 1. The military offered no explanations in its own reports or at Congressional hearings. Examples of torturous taxpayer-funded experiments at military facilities include wound experiments, radiation experiments, studies on the effects of chemical warfare, and other deadly and maiming procedures (Animal).

Today 18- million animals a year are reported to be experimented on in American Research laboratories (Woods 8-11). These millions do not include the most common lab animals rats and mice. They do not have to be reported. They account 0% of all the animals that are used. Science used another 1 to 18 million rats and mice (Day 1).

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Advocates question whether scientists make a conscientious effort to avoid using and harming of animals. US secondary schools used at least million animals in 170. Many of them were not used for experimentation but for demonstration. Today 6 million animals are used in schools. Large biological supply companies make up to $0 million annually.

Psychology research is another concern of many activists. Animals play a prevalent role in their research.

Countless animals have been surgically dismembered, drugged, starved, fatigued, frozen, electrically shocked, infected, crossbred, maddened, and killed in the belief that this will benefit mankind (Bender 57).

Animal testing is unethical by many accounts. The animal tests that are practiced today were developed decades ago. No animal tests have been formally validated to say that it will give conclusive evidence. There is also no actual proof that animal experiments have proven themselves over time (Fact).

To prevent something named the Lashed Lure, which causes irritated eyes, blindness, and death, scientists developed a test called the Draize Eye Test. The compound is dripped in rabbits’ eyes to see if an infection will appear (Woods 0-1). Many disagreements arise between rabbits and humans. Disc rabbits have a third eyelid. Rabbits produce less tear fluid to wash away irritants, they have higher pH in their eyes, and they have a thinner cornea (Fact).

An alternative to Draize Eye Test is the Eyetex. Instead of using a real rabbit eye, it uses a protein mixture, similar to clear jelly. By placing the product in the mixture, it would become cloudy by how irritating it is. The cloudier it is, the more irritating the product. This test takes less time and less money (Fact).

Many more alternatives exist and replace animal testing. Clinical surveys, human volunteers, case studies, autopsy reports, and statistical analyses are far more accurate in the factors of the human disease. They can use cell cultures to substitute the use of animals in cosmetics. Epidermiology is another way to reduce the use of animals. They collect of the habits of humans through surveys or from medical records. They have discovered that human research is also very valuable. They use word tests, CAT scans, and MRI’s. They also use psychology experiments or use humans be the final testers in drugs of treatments that have been proven to be safe (Woods 6-7). Many strides are being made in human cloning of cells. There are one million live human skin cells in each pack, which multiply to 10 million after 10 days. The human cells will give a more accurate evidence for skin reactions and others (Fact). This will cut down on the animals used in research and experiments.

It is also unethical because there are many problems between transferring the data from the animals’ reactions, to how humans will react. Dr. Kenneth Melmon, a drug researcher at the University of California, notes, “In most cases, the animal test cannot predict what will happen when the drug is given to man” (Woods 51). In addition, the animals are forced to live in unnatural conditions and will react to things differently because of their unnatural stress levels. Likewise, there are many discrepancies between the same test on two different animals. When testing carcinogens on rats and mice, rats agree with it, while mice only agree with it / of time. Consequently, the scientist would spend more money and time to achieve the same results again (Overview).

Critics of animal research say that the testing does not cure diseases and such, but just gives the mechanisms of the disease. Michael W. Fox, author of Inhumane Society The American Way of Exploiting Animals stated that

Rather than capitalizing on human sickness and selling even more costly ‘cures,’ planners and scientists should advocate disease prevention and health maintenance programs (Day 64).

They claim that scientists do not focus on the real problems such as prevention rather than the disease mechanisms and treatments. (Day 6-65)

The Healthcare system is money based. It survives by diagnosing and treating patients instead of preventive medicine. The two leading causes of death are heart disease, and cancer and strokes. These diseases could be prevented. “If people practiced preventive medicine, had good dietary habits, exercised, and controlled their levels of stress, they would not be as likely to become ill” (Day 65).

Finally, animal experiments are misleading. Neal Bernard, M.D. stated “Animal tests have caused a very substantial loss, in terms of loss of money, in terms of the loss of good minds being devoted to a very, very limited methodology, and in terms of indicating that certain things are true which weren’t true” (Day 67). In the 160’s, scientists researched the cause of cancer from cigarette smoking. The scientists forced the animals to inhale tobacco smoke chronically. The animals did not develop lung cancer. Consequently, the scientists believed that cigarette smoking does not cause lung cancer.

Science critics of animal experimentation say that research is operated by tradition. Dr. Elliot Katz, founder and president of In Defense of Animals, stated, “The people in power who decided where the research dollars are going are from the ‘old school’ and don’t know any other way to conduct research except with animals” (Woods 51). In Vitro experiments (experiments done without animals) are becoming more popular with the science community. There are many experiments that have used animals that could have easily used other means. Katz criticized, “ Now they have scanning techniques to study the human brain. You don’t need to insert anything into an animal or a human to see how our brains work.” The in vitro results come more quickly than those of animal tests. (Woods 5-54).

Animal testing is extremely inhumane. In the eye irritancy tests, the substances are dropped in the eyes of a group of albino rabbits. They are tied to the table so they cannot move. They usually receive no anesthesia during the tests. After the material is dropped in their eyes, the technicians record the damage to the eye tissue at specific intervals over an average period of 7 hours, with tests sometimes lasting 7 to 18 days. Reactions to the substances include swollen eyelids, inflamed irises, ulceration, bleeding, massive deterioration, and blindness. During the tests, the rabbits eyelids are held open with clips for the long period of time. Many animals break their necks as they try to escape. The results of the tests are disputable. They vary from laboratory to laboratory, and even from rabbit to rabbit (Eye).

In a police raid in 181 of Dr. Edward Taub’s Institute for Behavioral Research, an animal rights activists posed a lab volunteer and shot a video of the lab. The lab was completely unsanitary. The monkeys wounds were left unbandaged, and showed signs of abuse (Day 68). The monkeys had nerves cut in their arms. One monkey even chewed off parts of every finger on one hand (Woods 16).

Animal experimentation is completely and totally wrong on many accounts. The death of millions of animals annually is not right. The pain and suffering they experience is tragic. Many alternatives are present and give the same results for less money and time. Tradition and laziness by the scientist forces these inhumane acts to go on. Conclusively, animal experimentation should be prohibited.

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