Animal Testing Essay

1688 words - 7 pages

Give a brief account of the ethical issues associated with the use of animals in research (maximum 200 words or 2/3 if images of the correct injection sites are included pages)

“Open the cages and we will know if they wish to participate”-Sapontzis. Public concern over animal rights has led to many ethical controversies when it comes to research using animals. Science today has definitely benefited from experimentation on animals, especially the likes of biomedical sciences. Research on animals has led to many innovations and a finer understanding of mechanisms behind human medicines which may have been synthesized or discovered accidently. But of course, there’s has been a huge ...view middle of the document...

A quick historical overview: Ancient Rome is where the very 1st recorded animal experimentation took place, but it was near renaissance when anatomists like Leonardo da Vinci started analyzing and inspecting bone & muscle structures. Rene Descartes, a philosopher from France put forward his concept of animals unable to feel pain, thus allowing people, the likes of William Harvey, to carry out experiments on live deer for discovering blood circulation without being questioned. Over 100 years later Jeremy Bentham posed the question ‘can they (animals) suffer?’. Yet research carried on without big ethical issues, surgery and drug use was practised on animals by Claude Bernard & François Magendie for simply benefitting humans and advancing scientific knowledge, leading to “1876 Cruelty to Animals Act” in England. Public concerns eventually led to animal protection movement under Singer. And now animal right and welfare are being considered universally.

It is true that millions and millions of animals are sacrificed for scientific research each year with US using the most. Main reason for using animals for research is advancing human disease treatment and synthesising new drugs by understanding mechanisms/systems within animals i.e. research in biomedical. Another minor reason is for educational purposes. Many scientists believe that animals experimentations should be somewhat acceptable if the experiment being carried out investigates a paramount problem that has chances of being dealt with for example trying to discover a cure for HIV, also even though some might say there is nothing humane about killing an animal for human benefit it must be noted that decreasing the suffering of the animal is better than being completely ruthless. I believe there is somewhat ethical justification in ‘for the greater good’.

Because of UFAW, philosopher Russell and microbiologist Burch wrote the 'Three Rs'. Which helped scientific and animal concerned community to acknowledge each others’ concern and reach a somewhat compromise. The three Rs are rules that scientists are asked to abide by when it comes to animal research. These Rs are Reduction, Refinement and Replacement. Reduction involves decreasing the amount of animals required for any study by improving investigation techniques and sharing observed data so as to not have the need to repeat experiments. Refinement incorporates bettering experiments so animals being used suffer the least amount possible by providing anaesthetics and proper medical care, also not using harsh techniques as well as providing animals with good conditions for living. Replacement includes using other techniques if possible in place of animals; like investigating using cell cultures or models invented on computers even using humans who have given their consent. Russell and Burch who worked on these three Rs thought that considering these 3Rs would lead to a humane and ethical animal treatment.

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