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Animal Testing: The Way to the Future of Medicine?

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Introduction

Animal Testing: The Way to the Future of Medicine? In October 2004 an appalling event hit our headlines. The grave of an old woman was dug up, desecrated and the human remains were removed by animal rights extremists. The reason for this atrocity was because the woman was the relative of a guinea pig breeder who was supplying vivisection labs for medical research. This act was so inhuman even mainstream animal rights campaigners joined in the condemnation. Is animal testing really the pathway into the future of medicine? Despite its shortcomings, I firmly believe animal testing is the way forward. I maintain that it should continue and be protected until a better research method is discovered. The basic foundations of Medicine are built upon experimentation. New treatments and drugs are developed everyday to combat the plethora of diseases in existence. Using these discoveries on humans without thoroughly testing them first is just as dangerous as not using them at all. Unfortunately the only alternative to human testing is to test on animals. ...read more.

Middle

Although still rudimentary, it has great potential to eventually replace animal testing. Unfortunately such methods are still not viable enough at the current time for mass utilisation. On the other hand, the pain that is prevented by medicine discovered using animal testing greatly outweighs the pain incurred on the tested animals. A select committee in the House of Lords agreed to this fact by publishing a comprehensive report on the matter[4]. Successes that are a consequence of animal testing includes penicillin, the polio vaccine and organ transplantation[5]. Moreover, a survey recently showed that 74% of all living Nobel Laureates in Medicine agreed that animal testing was essential in their work which culminated in a Nobel Prize[6]. It is of course desirable to keep the pain suffered by tested animals to a minimum but if we test on animals now, we can build comprehensive results which future scientific research can rely upon. The disadvantages of animal testing are obviously negligible compared to the benefit humankind receives in the present and the future. ...read more.

Conclusion

Indeed it is the most effective way to ensure that the medicine produced is going to have a reasonably positive effect on the intended patient. Animal testing is by no means perfect on either scientific or moral grounds but it is the only developed method we have. Other approaches that do not involve testing on animals, stem cell research for example, are still in their infancy and require vast amounts of resources[8]. As we make progress in medicine, we will eventually develop an experimentation method that will supersede animal testing. Great promise has already been shown in the development of medical computer simulations, where the effects of diseases are being predicted virtually[9]. In the mean time, however, our only path forward is to continue to test on animals. Still, we must hope that one day an alternative which convincingly addresses the deficiencies of animal testing will be found. Despite being far from perfect, the lives of countless patients have been saved because of animal testing. Therefore it would be one of humanity's greatest mistakes to abandon it without a reliable and robust replacement. ...read more.

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