The conversation of animal testing has never been anything less than controversial. Although animal testing is not new, the topic still faces severe criticism by several animal activists’ groups. Humans have used animals as a means to learn about various subjects for a while now.
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It dates back to uses from Greek-physician scientists “”such as Aristotle, 384 “ 322 BC and Erasistratus, 304 “ 258 BC (Hajar 1). During these experiments’ scientists would use live animals as their test subjects. In the twelfth century, for example, there was a physician named Ibn Zihr who was from Seville, Spain. He was first to introduce the concept of testing surgical procedures on animals (Franco 1). He tested the procedures on animals before practicing these methods on his human patients to ensure their safety. Around this time animal testing was not done in the most humane way possible. But now in today’s society animal testing is now federally mandated with laws in place to make sure these tests are done in the best way possible. Also, specific laws have been placed to make sure these tests are done in the most humane way possible. Animal experimentation was done back then to understand several functions of the body such as sensory nerves, motor nerves, and tendons. Currently, numerous tests are done on now on animals for several reasons other than understanding functions on the human body. There is the Eye Irritancy test, which is also known as the Draize eye test. This test was developed in the year 1944 by John H. Draize, Ph.d., who worked for the United States Food and Drug Administration, which is also known as the FDA. The test is used to weigh eye irritation that is caused by different types of chemicals. During these tests a substance is placed in one, while the other eye is the control.
There is also the Acute Toxicity test which determines the danger of exposure to a chemical by mouth, skin, or inhalation. Repeated Dose Toxicity regulates how much of a substance is needed to create toxic effects in one dosage. Skin Corrosivity/Irritation test for two separate issues with substances and our skin. The Skin Irritation tests the level of damage caused to the skin from specific substances. While the Skin Corrosion test gauges the potential of a substance to cause irreversible damage to the skin. The Skin Sensitization test checks to see if a chemical will cause an allergic reaction. Pharmacokinetics/Toxicokinetic and Metabolism test helps measure the rates of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of a toxic substance (Animals in Science 1). Dermal Penetration, also known as skin absorption test analyzes the movement of a chemical through the skin and then into the bloodstream. Mutagenicity test, referred to as the Ames test, is uses bacteria to test whether a given chemical can cause mutations in the DNA of the test organism. Neurotoxicity test find out if substances cause any alterations to the nervous system. Ecotoxicity is a test that determines the negative effects of chemicals that are entering the environment. Lastly, there is the pyrogenicity test which checks to see if there are any fever-causing contaminants in items, these items could be vaccines and injectable drugs. However, you can argue that all these tests are a necessity to make sure everything we use is safe. Animal testing is having saved millions of lives due to the benefits it has contributed to medical break throughs. It has not only beneficial to humans but has also benefited to animals themselves. Performing these types of tests on our everyday products ensures everyone’s safety. Also, the number of animals that are used in animal research compared to the number of animals that are eaten daily is a small amount.
Animal testing has been contributed to many several life-saving and life-improving medical breakthroughs for millions of people. A benefit achieved by one of these tests was reported by the Foundations for Biomedical Research, Research with cows helped create the world’s first vaccine, which in turn helped end smallpox (Animal Testing and Research Achievements 1). Before this vaccine was created a third of the people who got infected with smallpox died from it. There was an attempt to get rid of smallpox, but it was not effective, so people would continue to die and pass it on. The real breakthrough came in 1796, when a English physician and scientists by the name of Edward Jenner conducted the first successful smallpox vaccine. He used his knowledge about cows and the disease cowpox to contribute to the vaccine. In the experiment he used his research with cows to create this vaccine. Another instance of animal testing being beneficial to people would be contributions that these tests had on kidney disease. Fifty years ago, kidney disease was considered fatal and took the lives of 20,000 Americans annually, making it the fourth leading cause of death among young adults (Animal Testing and Research Achievements 1). Fast forward to today now kidney disease can be treated and many people go on to live happy lives.
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