The suffering of the animals in the medical research is not a contested topic, even though the scale of it tends to be (Badyal & Desai, 2014). However, the views diverge intensely on whether experimentation of the animals contributes to the good science and the results in the medical discovery for the mankind, or maybe whether this kind of progress could have been obtained by other means (Badyal & Desai, 2014). Without the capability to use animals in their research, the scientist’s endeavors could be hampered massively, not only in the direct development of the modern treatments, but also to essential research which underpins all the biomedical knowledge (Badyal & Desai, 2014). For example, it was the work of Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley’s nerves of the squid which elucidated the foundation of the nervous transmission; it may also be pointed out it had been the work of John C Eccles’ work on the cats spinal cords which at first incontrovertibly outlined the nature of the synapse which in turn attained him the Nobel in Physiology (Collett, 2015). Without their work on the animals, people would certainly understand less regarding the functioning of their nervous systems and how they might treat them (Collett, 2015). This paper will examine debate on the significance of animal testing in medical research nowadays. This position will be supported by examining 10 scholarly articles that examine the usage of animal testing in biomedical research in the world today.
Discussion and Analysis
Akhtar (2015), in his article has examined this debate on the animal testing in medical research, by making argument that experimentation on the animals is reliable, and that the animals do provide sufficient good model when it comes to the human biology and diseases in yielding relevant information from the research (Akhtar, 2015). Moreover, it use offers major human health benefits. Therefore, from this author’s research it could be said that developing body of the scientific literature accesses the authenticity to the animal experimentation in general and this raises important concerns with regards to the dependability and predictive value. This is in relation to the human outcomes and for comprehending the human physiology (Merkow et al 2018). Nevertheless, it is important to note from the views of the author that unreliability in regards to the human outcomes across various range of areas usually undermines on the scientific arguments in favor to the medical research practice.
Ferdowsian & Beck (2011) in their article examines the debate that surrounds the use of animal testing in biomedical test. This article offers insightful and detailed arguments on the fact that animal testing have continued to play leading role in medical research despite the laws established to reduce this practice. The article emphasize that whilst developments have made towards the fortification of both human beings along with animal study participants, the nature of the laws are designed to protect the concerns of humans. At the moment the mainstream of procedures work on the assumption that animal research must continue founded on extensive, apparent gains of human beings (Ferdowsian & Beck, 2011). This implies that main concern of the animal testing is founded on the benefits of the research on human beings while the interests of the animals are not the main concern. The strength of this article is founded on the argument of both ethical in addition to scientific issues that surrounds the utilization of animal testing in medical research. However, the article leaves a room for further debate as there is no concrete conclusion.
According to Nuno (2013), historical perspective on the exploitation of the animals in health study can provide the basis to understand the importance of the practice in medical field around the world to arrive at the current paradigm (Nuno, 2013). The author asserts that the medical research using the animals has offered significant inputs to the medical advancement in the modern world. However, the author points out that despite these contributions there has been heated public, scientific, as well as philosophical debate on this issue (Collett, 2015). The author believes that going by the historical perspective on the animal use for medical research, humans will benefit a lot from these endeavors. The perspective offered by the author is effective because they are presented in a chronological order that makes the developments in the use of animals in medical research easy to follow (Nuno, 2013). The strength of the article is the recommendation that there is the need to focus on improving the wellbeing of lab animals and promote development of replacement alternatives for animals’ experiments (Merkow et al 2018). The limitation of the article is its entire focus on historical perspective and not the contemporary perspective on the debate.
According to Garattini & Giuliano (2017), the use of animal testing in research to cure and help human beings should continue despite the criticisms from the animal right activists. Animal models have resulted in the manufacturing of drugs and treatments, which have impacted the epidemiology of pathology in humans; thus, prolong life. The authors claim that the exploitation of animals in medical study has significance in medical advancements and current methods could be enhanced to generate more useful clinical results. The authors provides compelling examples on the success of the animal testing that have been undertaken in the field of biomedical research. Vaccines against meningitis, poliomyelitis, as well as rotaviruses are best cases of where animal testing, as well as the translation from animals have confirmed successful as highlighted in the article (Hansen, 2013). There are also diverse antibiotics in addition to the latest agents against Hepatitis C viruses that are attributed to the animal testing. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see the authors acknowledge the fact that other excessive; there have been ineffective correlations between outcomes in animals and humans in many illnesses, like stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease (Garattini & Giuliano, 2017). The authors offer different ways that it can be used to improve animal experiments to improve their likelihood of predicting important clinical outcomes. These suggestions include rules in improving clinical trials and using the 3Rs principle. The strength of the article lies on the conclusion that there is the need to continue using animal models rather waiting for other alternatives (Collett, 2015). However, the arguments in the article are primarily from the two authors that might in some cases appear biased as there was the need to incorporate views of authors to supplement their arguments. Generally, the article is effective in addressing the issue (Collett, 2015).
In many instances, the perceptions of the public concerning the exploitation of the animals in biomedical experiments have been ignored. The public perceptions play a momentous role in offering the direction regarding the question of exploitation of the animals in scientific study. These are the sentiments shared by Ormandy and Schuppli (2014) in their article. The authors claim that public commitment on matters connected to animal study comprising exploration of the attitudes of public is important in offering socially satisfactory scientific practice besides oversight via the comprehending of the societal issues along with values. The investigation of public attitudes toward animals’ experiment is vital coupled with the latest advancements in animal research and the shifting association between science and society (Ormandy & Schuppli, 2014). The authors argue that the preponderance of the public encourage the use of the diverse animals in experiment because of the increasing knowledge in science issues that make them to support. The public will ignore the negative impacts to the animals involved and promote the greater good of the society (Nuno, 2013). Therefore, this article is very powerful because it incorporates the attitudes of the public on this contentious question of use of animals in medical experiment.
According to Hansen (2013), claims that in reaction to the public concerns originating from the exposure of animals abuse in research labs, there have been the need to form committees to manage animal use in institutions getting federal grants. These institutions are designed to broaden the ethical perspectives in promoting the skewed concern in addressing the ethics that govern use of animals in laboratories for research goals (Pound & Bracken, 2014). This article confirms that the US institutions like the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees) had skewed view when it comes to ethics governing animal use in the US (Hansen, 2013). Then article provides an insightful aspect that will address the growing use of animals in biomedical experiment not only in the US, but the whole world (Hansen, 2013). Creating effective institutions will promote the ethics towards the use animals for biomedical research. This implies that there is growing use of animals in research that should be addressed through ethics.
Goodman, Chandna & Roe (2015) explores the trends around the world on the animal use in scientific research. The authors assert that many governments and organizations have embraced strategies and laws that are crafted to decrease the figure of animals used in medical experiment, especially in the United States. The governments, scientists, and advocates consider that minimizing the use of animals is an ethical pillar of research (Merkow et al 2018). However, despite these efforts, increasing evidence show that animal studies have been continued to be used around the world. The US has been found to the largest users of animals in experiments despite having some laws that govern this practice. In fact, statistics show that there is 72.7 percent rise in the use of animals in the US (Merkow et al 2018). The authors recommend that there is the need for greater efforts to minimize the exploitations of different animals in experiments and promote their welfare. The article offers insightful statistics to confirm the continued use of animals in medical study through the use of US as a case study.
According to Satz (2017), one of the most difficult issues when it comes to dealing with society at present has been precisely how individuals treat animals to their care. Numerous advancements to the human and the non-human medicine, psychology besides other areas of the study would not have been achievable without using the animals as subjects particularly to the medical investigation (Pound & Bracken, 2014). In this study , the author have demonstrated that individuals tend to be more mindful and concerned with living conditions and treatment of the animals in the study , they usually tend to be more angered and distressed in the event they are maltreated or maybe even used to (Satz , 2017). The justifications made by the author is the fact that animals should be offered much better conditions to live and the author has also uttered argument for both for and against animal experimentation with in depth knowledge of the issue, practice or subject (Sackmann, Fulton & Beebe, 2014).
According to Monamy (2017), his article has presented new paradigm, premised on the similar protection, especially for the legal regulation to the human relations with the animals. The author has rationalized that the animals should be given equal protection against suffering (Garattini & Giuliano 2017). Therefore, the author does not advocate animals use in the experimentation particularly in the medical research. There should be animal welfare and anti cruelty laws, which should be in place to protect the animals more adequately (Garattini & Giuliano 2017). This article has identified ontology of the concerns as interest convergence. The privileged in this instance the human protect the disadvantaged which are animals only if their interest aligns. From the views highlighted in this research, the author has fully articulated all the issues in relation to protecting the animals.
Badyal & Desai (2014) offers a comprehensive understanding of the animal use in medical research. He highlighted that the usage of the animals in the research dates back to the time whenever the humans started to look for way to prevent and also cure ailments. In his perspective he believes that the current drug discoveries have been possible because of the usage of the animals in the medical research (Badyal & Desai, 2014). However, believes that the dilemma continue to exists in regards to animal experiments and this has led to varied and confusion guidelines on how the issue would be approached (Garattini & Giuliano 2017). Nonetheless, the animal use and their handling do vary in every single laboratory institution. In certain, the animals are being confronted with painful procedures especially in training unnecessarily. The author is concerned about the animal use in toxicity studies and testing and believes such should not be tolerated (Merkow et al 2018). The author has both perspectives, he has seen the good side of animal use acknowledged the same, but the animals should not be used in toxicity studies and testing (Merkow et al 2018).
There is the need for future research into the alternatives to use in the place of animals to reduce the distress and pain that animals undergo. In addition, there is the need to collect considerable data to provide scientists, researchers, policymakers, the general public as well as other stakeholders with vital data regarding federally financed animal testing and assist identify prospects for advancements in endeavors to lower and substitute animal use. Whilst animal tests have played a leading role in systematic, as well as biomedical research development, and problem to persist in the prospect, it is crucial to focus on the incessant improvement of welfare of lab animals and develop alternatives for animal testing.
The exploitation of different animals for scientific and medical research will continue to be a debatable concern that should be addressed. Despite the many regulations and other strategies by governments and activists the exploitations of animals for research has continued to increase around the world. The articles articulate the fact that there are growing trends in the animals use in research where ethics is seen in the perspective of benefiting the humans in providing the needed drugs and treatments. Many authors advocate the use of various animals in study and they suggest that there is the need to develop alternatives in the future to reduce the use of animals because this undermines the welfare of animals. Some authors stress the need to abolish the exploitation of different animals in biomedical experiment, but these are few in numbers.
Akhtar, A. (2015). The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 24(4), 407-419.
Badyal, D. K., & Desai, C. (2014). Animal use in pharmacology education and research: The changing scenario. Indian journal of pharmacology, 46(3), 257.
Collett, D. (2015). Modelling survival data in medical research. Chapman and Hall/CRC.
Ferdowsian HR, & Beck N (2011). Ethical and Scientific Considerations Regarding Animal Testing and Research. PLoS ONE. 6(9): e24059.
Garattini, S. & Giuliano G. (2017). Animal testing is still the best way to find new treatments for patients. European Journal of Internal Medicine. 39: 32.
Goodman, J., Chandna, A. & Roe, K. (2015). Trends in animal use at US research facilities. J Med Ethics, 41:567–569.
Hansen L. A. (2013). Institution animal care and use committees need greater ethical diversity. J Med Ethics. 39(3):188–90.
Merkow, J. S., Hoerauf, J. M., Moss, A. F., Brainard, J., Mayes, L. M., Fernandez-Bustamante, A., ... & Bartels, K. (2018). Animal experimental research design in critical care. BMC medical research methodology, 18(1), 71.
Monamy, V. (2017). Animal experimentation: A guide to the issues. Cambridge University Press.
Nuno, H.F. (2013). Animal Experiments in Biomedical Research: A Historical Perspective. Animals (Basel, 3(1): 238–273.
Ormandy, E.H. & Schuppli, A.C. (2014). Public Attitudes toward Animal Research: A Review. Animals. 4, 391-408.
Pound, P., & Bracken, M. B. (2014). Is animal research sufficiently evidence based to be a cornerstone of biomedical research?. Bmj, 348, g3387.
Sackmann, E. K., Fulton, A. L., & Beebe, D. J. (2014). The present and future role of microfluidics in biomedical research. Nature, 507(7491), 181.
Satz, A. B. (2017). Animals as vulnerable subjects: Beyond interest-convergence, hierarchy, and property. In Nussbaum and Law (pp. 129-186). Routledge.