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Scienc or savagery? What do you feel is more important - the life of your child or the life of a few rats? These comments are often brought up in animal rights debates.

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Introduction

What do you feel is more important - the life of your child or the life of a few rats? These comments are often brought up in animal rights debates. On the one side the animal rights campaigners, on the other side researchers intent on finding new medicines to improve the quality of human life. Animal activists claim that animal testing, or 'vivisection' is a scientific disaster and that thousands have been injured or killed as a result of it and time and time again researchers have been lead into a blind alley. Vivisection literally means, "cutting while still alive," but these days it refers to any experiments conducted on animals. ...read more.

Middle

The most common tests involve dripping materials into rabbit's eyes or applying substances to the shaved backs of rabbits or guinea pigs and studying the irritation or damage. Animals are also force fed or dosed with substances to assess what affects the substances have. These tests can cause great suffering to the animals. But surely we need animal experiments to discover how safe new drugs are before we give them to humans? Or do we? The combination of Fenfluramine and Dexfenfluramine, touted as the answer to a dieter's prayer a few years ago, was extensively tested on animals and found to be very safe. Unfortunately it caused heart valve abnormalities in humans. ...read more.

Conclusion

Now this is usually presented as a solvable problem by researchers. We can get an idea of the effects that the drug will have from animals, they say, but does it work like that. Animals, that may seem closely related, may function quite differently to humans, and there is no way of predicting what the differences will be. Rats and mice, for instance, have pretty much the same make-up as us, but when it comes to something as basic as whether a chemical is harmful to them or not, how do we know if it will be the same on humans, does someone have to die before the we1 will know? Now, with all the information presented before you, will you think twice about giving your child a drug that has been animal tested? Jonathan Laffey 5T ...read more.

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