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Animal Testing

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Introduction

Is Animal Testing/Research Necessary for Advancing in Medicine? Introduction: Animal testing involves using non-human animals for scientific procedures. Animal research can be used for a number of things such as developing new drugs to improve health, learning about animals and the human body, aiding scientific advances and ensuring other products do not harm humans. Vaccinations against diseases like polio, rabies, measles, mumps and rubella were developed because they were tested on animals. Also the development of open-heart surgery and organ transplants depended on operations done on animals. In 2006 approximately two million animals were used in procedures. Animals that are normally used in tests and experiments include: rats, mice, rabbits, monkeys, guinea-pigs, cats, dogs, fish, birds, pigs, horse, sheep and hamsters. This pie chart shows the types of animals used in procedures. A large proportion of experiments are conducted on mice. (1) Those who are extremely against animal testing (animal rights activists) would refer to it as 'vivisection'. This means the 'cutting up of animals'. They refer to animal testing being morally wrong and cruel. However this is just one view, others are not so against animal testing. Others may believe that animal testing is necessary for some purposes for example medicinal purposes yet not for beauty products. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore xenotransplantation is illegal. Although there are advantages to testing on animals for medical advancement a professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University said, "... health advances have resulted from improvements of living conditions and changes in personal hygiene and lifestyle, none of which has anything to do with animal experimentation." So some people still believe that animal testing is wrong even though it may help save humans. This is because sometimes the benefits of testing on animals are misleading for example in the 1950s when the drug Thalidomide, developed for pregnant women to stop morning sickness, was shown to have very few side effects. Babies were starting to be born with deformities. Scientists who tested the drug on monkeys showed there were few side effects however the tests were not conducted on pregnant monkeys. When the experiment was redone on pregnant monkeys, they gave birth to deformed offspring also. This shows that testing on animals does not always benefit humans because by the 1960s over 10,000 babies with deformities had been born also, even though millions if dollars have been spent on HIV/AIDS testing on animals, a cure has still not been found. ...read more.

Conclusion

(8) Another method which could replace animal testing in the future is using computer models. Using computer models can decrease the numbers of animal models significantly as they can stimulate a response to research, although the entire organism cannot be replaced yet. Different cells and tissues can be presented on the computer and can be used to test the effect of certain chemicals. The models may look life like however Professor Noble of Oxford University feels there is still some way to go before computer modelling is perfected as they have "modelled only about 2% of the genes and proteins involved." (2) Although the computer models can be used to test the human reaction to chemicals, scientists still feel the need to test the on animals to ensure the computer models are working correctly. So, as technology improves testing on animals may no longer be necessary but before a computer model it made tests will have to be carried out on animals. In the long run the use of animals for testing substances may decrease. (10) In addition computers can be used to dissect animals in school environments instead of dissecting a real animal. As technology is getting better dissecting on a computer becomes more realistic. ...read more.

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**** A good GCSE report, which presents some of the arguments used by those in favour and those anti animal testing. To improve:
1)Consider using sub-headings to improve the structure of the report
2)Include relevant examples of research studies that use animals
3)Explore the ethical arguments for and against animal testing more thoroughly
4)Highlight the difference between using animals for experiments and using animal products such as organs for medical purposes

Marked by teacher Kerry jackson 29/02/2012

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