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Should Scientific Experiments On Animals Be Allowed?

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Introduction

PATRICK CHRISTIE FOUNDATION ARTS OCTOBER ASSIGNMENT 2001 SHOULD SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS ON ANIMALS BE ALLOWED? Anti-vivisectionists would have us believe that medical research laboratories resemble the freak factory depicted in H.G. Wells' Island of Doctor Moreau, yet scientists would have us believe that they are humanities' last, best hope for medical salvation. Who do we believe and more importantly who should we believe? It is an area of debate fraught with claim and counter claim. Some of the many claims of abolitionist groups are that animal biology and disease bear no relation to their human counterparts, animal research and testing has not resulted in any medical advances, the experiments are cruel to the animals and that there are no regulations to safeguard the animal's welfare. Most people are of the view that animals hold no place in the search for medical cures for humans, as animals are quite plainly different. ...read more.

Middle

Smallpox and Polio, perhaps two of the most dreaded illnesses of the last two centuries are now mostly unheard of in the developed world. A smallpox vaccination developed by animal researchers and used in a vaccination programme instigated in 1967 has not only eradicated the disease but, according to J Grant is estimated to have made health care savings of $1 billion "three times the cost of eradicating the disease". Presumably, a similar financial by-product, as well as the prevention of paralysis of 200,000 children a year by the year 2002 will be made possible by the polio vaccine developed using animal experimentation. Anti-vivisectionist maintain that the results of these vaccines are merely coincidental, citing better standards of sanitation, water and diet as the reasons for the dramatic fall in infectious diseases. Again the facts contradict this claim. When the H.I.B. vaccine for meningitis was found to protect mice and rabbits from the disease, a vaccination programme was introduced into the United Kingdom in late 1992. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to the Research Defence Society (www.rds-online.co.uk) scientists work to the "three rs"; that is anything, which reduces use of animals, refines the use of animals to minimise suffering, or is a replacement for animals is a direct alternative. This has resulted in only around 10 pence in every pound of research funds being spent on animal studies. From the discovery of insulin onwards scientists have been finding cures or treatments for diseases with growing frequency. Many of these would not have been possible without animal testing. The list of diseases includes organ transplants, mental illness, leukaemia, asthma and AIDS. With continued research, it maybe that new treatments or even cures for illnesses such as cancer or variant CJD will be found. Unfortunate as it may be it is difficult to see how this can happen without the use of animal research. Perhaps in the future we will be able to dispense with a practice that many people see as abhorrent, but until that time comes animal research is probably the best method of discovering, testing and researching new medicines. ...read more.

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