Animals in Biomedical Researches

This paper provides generalized overview of the use of animals for biomedical researches. Both advantages and disadvantages of experiments on animals will be considered in this work. Numerous articles from different newspapers and magazines were used in order to make the investigation accurate. Information collected from different sources provides an independent vision and sufficient understanding of the concerned issue. Both beneficial and negative impacts of animals’ use for biomedical experiments were thoroughly examined. Some attention will be paid to description of alternative non-animal methods of biomedical researches.  

Biomedical Experiments on Animals

Society used animals for consumption for thousands of years. People make clothes out of animal skin, eat meat and eggs, drink milk etc. The use of animals in biomedical experiments represents one more kind of service of these creatures to society. It provides not only material welfare or food, but an ability to save human and animal lives by investigation and development of effective ways of treatment of different illnesses and health disorders. Nowadays, animals are widely used in experiments aimed at development of various treatment methodologies, creation and testing of medicine and pharmaceuticals; investigation of the nature of feelings; and research of biological processes in our body systems. Biomedical researches rely on so-called animal models. Scientists started to perform biomedical tests on animals in the 19th century. Claude Bernard in his work Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine described the insertion of disease into animal’s body. The scientists stated that animal experiments are much more important and humane than experiments on alive people. Nowadays, the use of animals for laboratory experiments in classrooms, university labs, and scientific institutions became a common practice. Genetic engineering is widely used for causing human reaction in animals. Scientists perform their examination by alteration the function of human genes. Testing with application of genetic engineering helps to investigate the progress of a disease and its symptoms, as well as effect of lifestyle and environment on particular illnesses. Biomedical researchers use so-called animal models in order to perform particular tests and to be able to observe results of their examinations. This allows to receive precise and accurate results and to eliminate any possible harm to human beings. Animal examination is also widely used for investigation of systems of the body and their interaction, as well as response of organism to outer factors and exogenous irritants. Rats and mice are the most ‘popular’ animals, which are used during experiments. Rodents are widely used for the following researches: testing of cosmetics, medication and household products with toxic substances; fighting against new diseases; agricultural investigations; space experiments; military research; addiction and psychological tests, etc. Such experiments are extremely important for understanding and development of new methodologies of treatment and innovative medication both for people and for animals. On the one hand, current society faced many cases of inhumane animal examinations for scientific investigations. On the other hand, these investigations can save millions of human and animal lives. Scientists can develop new drugs, innovative ways of treatment of diseases and disorders; explore opportunities of our body and mind; create new living forms and even clone animals. However, experiments on animals cause sufferings, pain and death of living creatures. Thus, different perspectives concerning animal experimentation will be described below to determine whether extinguished lives of living creatures can be justified for the sake of future scientific discoveries. 

 

Issue of Animal Experiments

Nowadays, the number of animals which are tested during various researches is increasing. According to the official statistics, about 100 million rodents are used in experiments at present time. This is connected with the increase of amount of performed investigations. People try to investigate different processes inside our bodies for better understanding of the nature of diseases, disorders and illnesses. It is notable that hundreds of animals can die during investigation of one particular matter. For example, more than 120 dogs were tested by Korean scientists for obtaining only one cloned Afghan puppy. This example shows the horrible situation when people use animals as resources and can sacrifice hundreds of creatures’ lives for inaccurate and even sometimes illusive benefits and goals.

The main drawback of these experiments is an unalterable harm caused to animals. During these experiments, animals feel distress and pain, have numerous health consequences and even die. What is important, these feelings occur far before the beginning of actual testing. Animals do not only fear, but they feel forlorn. During experimentation, they feel agony and pain. There are no any doubts that animals, even animalcule creatures, are very vulnerable. Further, this research paper will provide an example of investigation of fear in snails. 

On the one hand, some people argue that animal testing is unfeasible for such examinations as testing cosmetics; on the other hand, such experimentation is totally feasible for other kinds of examinations, such as cancer researches. This point of view is based on the understanding of necessity and importance of those tests. However, animal testing cannot be considered acceptable in any way because animals are not human resources. People have no ethical right to hurt animals for their personal needs in cosmetics, testing medication, biomedical investigations or just for earning money. Animals are alive creatures and can be as morally relevant as people are. This understanding should be reflected not only in request to use bigger and cleaner cages or intentions to stop multiple surgeries. People should change their attitude to animals, ceasing to use them as resources.

The Benefits of Using Animals for Experiments

Animal testing provides numerous benefits for different investigations in biomedicine. Among the most significant benefits are the following: investigation of recovering process of central nervous system; investigation of positive and negative influence of psychotropic drugs; examination of biological background and centers of reactions to stress, fear and anxiety; examination and better understanding of memory processes; investigation of the nature of motivation. Drug testing on animals provides people with an ability to find effective ways of treatment of such diseases as cancer, AIDS, Siberian plague, Huntington's disease, etc. Laura Blue in her article “How Much Does Animal Testing Tell Us?” stated that people use animals for medical experiments as surrogates. The use of these surrogates helps to reduce safety and efficiency of treatment methodologies, medication, cosmetics, etc. It should be noted that experiments on animals help to determine the effect of medicine not only on particular parts of the body, but on the whole living organism. For example, hypertension medication treatment has a considerable effect on all organs. The majority of biomedical experiments are performed on such animals as mice and rats. These animals are chosen because of such characteristics as short life span. Short life expectancy of rodents provides an ability to observe the effect of medication on living organism during the whole life of this creature. Moreover, scientists can determine the effect of medication on several generations of rodents. However, rodents cannot be used for all of experiments because not all of their organism systems are close to human. For example, mimic of cats is more similar to human facial gestures. Thus, these animals are more often used for neurological testing. Dogs and pigs are often used for cardiovascular examinations. Horses are examined in studies of osteoarthritis. Scientists use even snails for investigation of elementary nervous system. 

Dr. Ricardo Mozzachiodi performed a unique research of nature of fear in snails (Aplysia californica) in 2014. His work has the goal to determine the alteration of brain activity when a creature feels fear. This can provide more accurate understanding of different conditions, such as a post-traumatic stress disorder. This type of snails has elementary nervous system similar to human nervous system. However, it works at a single-cell level. Scientists were able to detect and observe any changes, which take place at a cellular level in the neural circuits. Particularly, these parts of brain are responsible for fear formation. The effect of numerous neurotransmitters on brain circuits altered by fear is investigated by using both pharmacological and cellular methods. Usually, an organism which feels fear changes its behavior. These changes are manifested in decreasing feeding (for 24 hours and more) and increasing defense. Such alterations occur in both animal and human organisms. Researches of Ricardo Mozzachiodi will help to determine and find explanation of interrelation between changes in behavior and role of neurotransmitters of more complex creatures and people. These investigations can lead to better understanding and more effective treatment of different forms of mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as mood and eating disorders.

It should be mentioned that animal testing helps to perform efficient treatment of both human and animal illnesses. Tools, which are widely used for human treatment, can be applied for investigation of animal illnesses and their management. In 2014, a group of scientists and students from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi supported by skilled staff of Dolphinaris investigated a respiratory system of dolphins. The primary goal of this research was investigation of mammal health problems, particularly lung diseases. It should be noted that lung illnesses are the primary reasons of dolphins’ death. That is why precise investigation of these diseases is very important for prolongation of mammals’ life. Researchers applied a lung function testing. This medical tool is used to make diagnosis for people. It helps to oversee the work of lungs and to detect early stages of illnesses. These investigations are applicable not only to animal treatment. They can be also used to increase effectiveness and veracity of experiments on dolphins for the sake of human care.

Animals are used for investigation of organism systems, development and experimentation of new treatment methodologies and medication, but for testing safety and efficiency of new products and their ingredients. These tests are extremely important for substantiation of new cosmetics and products prior to their marketing to people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) usually requires such confirmation from manufacturers. At the same time, the administration requires to minimize the number of tested animals and to increase the information obtained from one particular tested animal unit. This initiative confirms intentions of the FDA to apply maximal standards of human care to tested animals. Moreover, the administration supports application of humane methods of testing and the replacement of animal experimentation by different alternatives. However, not all the human medication and methodologies of treatment can be tested on animals because of their different nature. There are considerable discrepancies in metabolism, psychology and anatomy. For example, Lemuel Shattuck and Edwin Chadwich based their successful studies and reforms on non-animal researches. The scientists stated that dirty overcrowded environment, absence of sufficient nutrition and no adherence to sanitary norms lead to increased possibility of outbreaks of different infectious diseases, such as typhoid, diphtheria and even tuberculosis. New sanitary waste removal system was developed and implemented on the basis of these investigations. Over the 19th century, the life expectancy increased owing to these investigations. Therefore, some experiments can be performed without the use of animals since some results of animal testing cannot be applied to people. It should be also mentioned that majority of tested animals are kept in unusual and stressful atmosphere during experiments. This could lead to uncharacteristic behavioral and psychological responses. Moreover, animal examination requires considerable time and money.

Nowadays, scientists are looking for various non-animal models for examination and studies. There are several reasons to search for these alternatives. The first one is necessity to stop animal suffering. The second one is that medication tests on animals cannot grant an absolute credibility and probability that the drug will have the same effect on people because there are considerable differences between animal and human bodies. The usage of non-animal models for medical studies can provide such additional benefits as speeding the process of examination of medication, obtaining more precise results, and decreasing the number of tested animals. People can use several types of alternatives in order to replace animal examination. These types are based on the following strategies: replacement of the use of animals, decrease of the amount of animal tests, and improvement of examination by making it less painful to animals. The first one is based on methods, which do not use animals at all. Experiments are performed by means of computers, tissue cultures, epidemiological researches, etc. At the present day, these methods are widely used because they have numerous benefits. Scientific researchers also perform in vitro examinations and experiments. Both abovementioned types of examination allow save money and time, obtaining precise results and protecting hundreds of animals.

Conclusion

Today, animals are widely used for numerous biomedical researches. These researches make thousands of animals feel distress and pain, and sometimes even cause death. Modern scientists are searching for alternatives, which will enable performing non-animal experiments. However, these alternatives do not provide total replacement of animal experiments. Animals are considered as sources, which serve human needs. At the same time, these experiments allow people to determine interrelations between different parts of body system, develop efficient ways of treatment of numerous health disorders, as well as create and test medication. This research paper investigated one of the burning issues of the modern science: whether lives of living creatures can be extinguished with the purpose of achieving new scientific discoveries, which can save thousands of human and animal lives in the future. Now, humanity cannot renounce the use of animal experiments because there are no sufficient alternatives, which can totally replace these experiments. However, people should understand that animals are not only resources. They have their own feelings and can suffer from pain and loneliness. Scientists and society should pay more attention to animal welfare, spending more time and money for development of favorable alternatives, which will allow to stop suffering of animals.

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Oct 23, 2019 in Research
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