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The medical research is a branch of the research aimed at discovering new ways of treatment and the usage of this treatment it could have on human beings. Although the medical research employs the high degree risks - without it the progress of medical science will be in great danger. Over the years, animals have been extensively used in the medical research. This has resulted into the ethical argument on whether animals should be used or not in medical experiments. This paper seeks to highlight ethical issues in the use of animals in the medical research. It will start with a brief background for the animal experiments and will reveal the reasons supporting them and those purposes for opposing this use of animals in the medical study before giving any recommendations from the ethical view.
Background information. The animal research is using animals in various scientific experiments carried out on farms, medical schools, Universities, and pharmaceutical companies. In order to advance the human knowledge; such animals, as: rats, pigs, monkeys, and birds have been continuously applied in the medical research. The nature or the research ranges from some behavioral studies, cosmetic testing to xenotransplantation, toxicology tests, developmental biology, and biomedical research. On the other hand, animals can also be used for breeding, defense, and the educational research. Different countries employ special regulatory measures; it is concerned if animals are used in the research.
The earliest uses of the animal research can be traced back to Aristotle and Erasistratus that performed some experiments on living animals. Before the 20th century, the laws regulating drugs usage were rather relaxed. This is only after 1937 and the 1960s tragedies related to legislations on the safety testing of drugs on animals the toxicology testing has occurred. If animal experiments would have been banned, it would make the world vulnerable to the emergence of future versions of such deadly viruses, as Ebola or AIDS ones. This would deny hope for people or kill any future discoveries. The majority of people, who have received the Nobel Prizes in Medicine since the year of 1901, show how critical the animal experimentation is, especially in understanding some genetic diseases, biological functions, pathogens, and their ways of treatment.
Arguments for Use of Animals in Medical Research The use of animals in medical experiments has ensured the pivotal role in studying human ailments and body functioning; the animal rights’ activists are continuously threatening this breakthrough by acting for tough restrictions in the use of animals during these experiments. Over the years, it has become necessary to support applying animals in the medical research. With the diverse modifications, practicing the animal research should be carried on. With the modern technological advancements, the studies have been conducted with minimal pain given, and the animals ‘rights have been kept (Guither 83).
Human beings are justified to use animals as a means for the medical research. Honestly speaking, nobody, even animals, can refrain against violating each other. Animals are often observed violating the human rights with attacking people or their property. There is the need to advance human interests with the help of using animals in the research in the attempt to survive from possible illnesses.
Even with introducing non-animal technologies to the medical research, it has become extremely difficult to replace the animal’s biological system. This obstacle has proved the necessity in using the complete biological system of animals in the medical study. Animals have to be used to achieve the accurate and useful results that can be applied for people’s treatment further (Greek, and Greek 208).
Just as AVMA affirms, using animals during the research for the purposes of improving the welfare of human beings and animals as well is being very crucial. As a result, there is the need to advocate for using animals in the medical study to enhance health advancements. Moreover, there is no course for warning because the research process subjects animals to human care. Random animals can be obtained from shelters and ponds; they often cost less, are used in the medical research, and don’t need the medical background, uniform genetics or sizes. For the period when such animals will be under the special control, they can be used in the medical research because this contributes to the improved welfare of both animals and human beings, and this means being pocket friendly as well (Guither 84).
Based on the fact that the research conducted on animals has more benefits for human beings in comparison with the costs spent for animals, it is imperative that such practice should be protected. The benefits achieved from animal experiments directly impact people related to treatment and other benefits. For example, toxicology tests made on animals have been able to prevent possible human deaths. Without these tests, hundreds of human beings that have swallowed some harmful drugs would be sentenced to death.
A closer look at the animal research will reveal that this is the greater pay-off. The period starting from 1901 to1999 signified the ninety Nobel Prizes have been given for the animal experiments. In addition, 72% of prizes were given for the discoveries made with involving animals. Therefore, there is the evident need to promote the animal research because it is a lucrative venture that has been recognized in the whole world.
Arguments against the use of animals in the medical research. Although the moderate animals’ rights activists argue that the use of animals in the past was inevitable, they affirm that it is no longer justified considering the existence of other equally active experimental modalities.
However, the extensive use of animals has proved to be rather harmful to the outer environment. Most of the time, the attempts to breed animals in captivity are often futile forcing researchers to capture these animals from the wild nature. This destabilizes the natural balance consequently causing awful problems to human beings. In the complex ecological cycle, some of these animals act as predators and prey directly affecting the food web. Moreover, the animal dissection is responsible for certain health problems. The substance formaldehyde, used for the preservation, has been linked to lung, throat, and nasal passage cancer. Apart from this, it is possible for the formaldehyde to trigger bronchitis, asthma attacks, damage eyes or even worse it may still cause birth defects for researchers’ and scientists’ future generations.
Guither reveals that the animal oriented scholars believe that, from a moral perspective, there is no clear line between animals and human beings, thus, the former also have some moral rights similar to those of the people (83). Just as the research on human beings is considered to be immoral, the research on animals may also be accepted as the extremely immoral due to the pain caused and infringed for those animals.
Investing in non-animal alternatives for the research purposes is a much viable option that will ensure the tax payments or school money are well spent. With these alternatives already available to students, schools, and teachers due to the free loan mechanism, there is no need to use animals in the medical research. This initiative also proves to be less expensive than using animals. Following the revelations that, ‘human observation is the best teacher; the world needs to adopt the mechanism employed by some of the best medical schools using the non-medical curriculum. This will ensure that no animals are used in the medical researches because the majority of their researches will involve human beings. Students would at the most learn due to observation and if there is the need to perform an operation, this may be done with the help of the physician’s guidance.
The introduction of realistic simulators is another reason that prohibits the use of animals for researches. Simulators have helped to replace animals in the medical research because of their ability to improve trainees’ skills, as well as the provision of superior learning know-how.
Conclusion and Recommendations. In conclusion, this is necessary to be said that animals should be used in the medical research because they have proved to be very helpful in improving human health. Animals used for researches have the similar body systems to those of human beings; this makes easier to derive some really practical conclusions. For instance, if a vaccine works for the baboon or rat, it is most likely to act at human beings. However, when conducting animal experiments it is important to observe the three R’s. They act as the guiding samples in the use of animals for the research. To start with, replacement should be carried out by using non-animal methods in achieving similar scientific goals. Then, there is the need to ensure reduction using fewer animals in the medical research. Lastly, refinement will ensure minimal pain and suffering experienced during the medical research (Guither 73).
Despite the fact that animals are being used in the medical research, there is the need to observe proper ethical and moral conditions for handling them during experiments and learning. First of all, animals should be subjected to minimal pain with using anesthesia before any operations made on them. In addition, animals used in the research should be handled in humanistic and appropriate manners.
Non-animal researching methods can also be employed where possible. The study has shown that animals used in the medical research are being a very expensive venture that necessitates the need to cut costs and transfer to the observation method and some realistic simulators. Two of them are being equally good in ensuring better experience and exposure in the medical research. There is an urgent need to control the amount of animals used in the medical research for avoiding destabilization of the nature system.