Animal research is also leading to other new and exciting advancements in medical technology. One of the most public advancements is cloning. Since Dolly the sheep was first cloned, new issues and advancements have surrounded the idea of cloning. In USA TODAY, Elizabeth Weise reported that scientists were close to cloning primates, saying, “Now scientists at the University Of Pittsburgh Medical School have discovered why primates are so difficult to clone and may have provided a road map to get around the problem. Their research appears in the journal Science” (Weise 1). This is a huge advancement that may allow for endless advancements in human and animal medicine. Technologies such as growing stem cells are no longer a theory, but now seem to be a possible reality. Stem cells have the potential to save millions of lives every year. Harlan Spector, of the Plain Dealer, reported, “The picture has changed dramatically in the last five years, as scientists discovered that stem cells, in a variety of adult tissues, in embryos and in umbilical cord blood, have potential to grow into specialized cells that theoretically can repair any part of the human body” (Spector 1) Now, because of animal research, there is a possibility that heart attack victims can regrow and repair their damages heart tissue. These are just some of the awesome advancements that animal research has provided.
Almost all of the animals privately owned in this country are for personal use, or pets. They are a huge part of our lives and often become part of the family. We hand over thousands of dollars a year to pay for surgeries and medicines to help our pets live longer and healthier lives. My father often jokes that our dog is almost as expensive and demanding as his children. People are sad and often cry whenever a pet may die, and rightfully so. However, this medicine and technology for surgeries comes from the same animal research that provides knowledge for advances in human medicine. In an article from The Lantern, “There are 680 animal research projects being worked on now at OSU. Some of these projects are AIDS and malaria research in primates, hearing disorders in cats, muscular diseases in rabbits and cancer and immune system research in rats and mice” (Leonhard 1) Not only is OSU conducting research for human medicines, but they also work to improve the lives of cats. Ohio State is not the only place where this is taking place. It is happening at universities all over the world. If animal research is so cruel, then why would it be working towards the advancement of animals?
Animal rights groups are very opposed to animal research. They often impede this advancement using protests, the media, and even force. One animal activist even went so far as to blow up a research lab and release the test animals from their cages at research labs at the University of Minnesota (Thomas 1). Such acts of violence do not add respect for the misguided cause of animal rights. However it does set back years worth of valuable research that is working toward cures or vaccinations for deadly diseases. When looking at the big picture, one must ask, could these animal rights activists, so passionate about their cause, have cost me my life, because it is possible that we could contract an incurable disease, one that perhaps one of these vandalized research labs was working on. However, they were unable to find a cure because their research was set back twenty years due to terrorist attacks, and that is exactly what it was. Are we willing to give our own lives to save a few lab animals? I know what my answer would be.
PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is perhaps the greatest adversary of animal research. They are known for outrageous acts and stunts that draw mass media coverage and reactions from all who hear about it. They funded the lawyers needed to defend the man responsible for destroying the labs, and justified it. PETA also calls for absolutely no animal testing. That would mean that most of the medicine that has been developed due to animal research would not be possible. John Stossel of ABC news said it best when addressing PETA’s call for no animal testing, “Even though animal testing has lead to penicillin, organ transplants, the cure for polio” (Walters 3) Without these advancements, the quality of human life would be no where near what it is today. Organ transplants save thousands of lives every year and penicillin is one of the most valuable antibiotics that we have today.
Just when it seemed as if PETA’s stance on the issue could not be any more radical, they made quite possibly the most insulting comparison imaginable. Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust by the hands of the Nazis. It is quite possibly the darkest time in the history of the world. PETA had the audacity to compare those concentration camps, where millions fell victim to the genocide, to the turkeys on the turkey farms where they are raised for consumption. How dare PETA insult so many innocent people viciously murdered to a few thousand turkeys raised for food. That is an insult to the Jewish people, and all of those murdered at the concentration camps. When asked to explain that comment, Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, said, “It’s not an insult. It’s a fact that a concentration camp is where living beings are cramped together without any freedom to move or escape. I don’t think nature’s kind, but human beings can be far crueler than nature” (Walters 2). Ingrid Newkirk just proved her own point. That was the cruelest comment I believe any human could have possibly made.
Animal research is one of the most valuable tools in learning more about not only animals, but also the human body and medicine. When hearing all of the misleading information about cruelty to animals and all of the horrible things done to animals in research, stop and think, why. Why would scientists want to ruin their own hard work and research by treating their test subjects cruelly? Why would they want to impair their results and eventual findings by mistreating the animals that will lead them to their answer? It is common sense. Animal research is invaluable to improving human life and it would be a travesty to let that go to waste.