Animal Research: is it worth it?
Today’s society is in a constant race to discover how disease affects the body and how to reverse those ill effects associated with disease. To begin we must understand the etiology of the disease, then its effects, and lastly how to treat the condition. At each of these steps, an animal model is often used, stirring the controversy involving the benefits from animal research and is it necessary to save human lives? The answers to these questions are often highly variable leaving those on one side asking “is it worth it”? While the other side pushes for more research and more answers.
The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 currently strives to establish acceptable standards for the treatment of animals, including those used in research. However, the animals exempt from this act include laboratory bred mice, rats, birds, cold-blooded animals, and farm animals. Therefore, of the estimated 20-25 million animals used each year in research, only a small percentage of laboratory animals are actually protected under this act. It is important to note, however, that regardless of not being protected under this act does not mean that all of these animals are being ill-treated. On the contrary, many research institutions, in particular universities, are often strictly self-regulated.
The Humane Society of America opposes the use of all animals in research and takes a strong position especially on the use of non-human primates. They argue that despite the reduction in the use of dogs and cats in research, the numbers of rodents used are still staggering. Also despite stricter regulation policies, by amending the Animal Welfare Act, as well as the addition of other new laws, as recently as May of 2007, a medical doctor induced a brain aneurysm in an anesthetized dog to show how a medical device could be used by a group of salespeople. The salespeople, who had no knowledge of medical training, were allowed to attempt the...
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