Animal Testing

Medicines, household products, food, and basically everything involved in the life of an average person has to under go a form of testing before it is
legal to be placed on a shelf and if available to the public. The same tests are performed on every medical procedure that is introduced to
surgeons. Since the only way to directly mimic the human body is to use it
itself, scientists were forced to find the closest and best alternative.
That is where animals were introduced to the medical profession.
Experimentation on animals date back to as early as 500 BC, making this form
of medical validation one of the oldest known to humans. It is not only one
of the oldest but one of the most informative. Scientists use animals in
medical research to study how the body works and how to diagnose, cure, and
prevent disease. Researchers also use animals for tests to try to protect
the public from dangerous chemicals, (Day, 13) such as those included in
detergents, bleach, and other household products. When live animals are
used in experimentation, this practice is called vivisection. Animals are
used in many instances because their bodies often react in a similar way to
that of a humans.
Although animals have been used in medical research for numerous years it
was not until the early 1920s that it became more prominent. It was at
this point that the introduction of using live, un-anesthetized, animals to
study toxic effects on an increasing array of drugs, pesticides and food
additives was introduced. After this great advance in medical research the
results of using animals grew with leaps and bounds. In 1970 this process
peaked with the use of millions of animals. Since then, according to the
USDAs Animals Welfare Enforcement, 1,267,828 animals were used for medical
purposes in 1998, which is more than a 50 percent decrease since 1970.
Although this is a drastic drop in animals used there have been many medical
advances; virtually every medical break through this century has come about
as the result of research with animals. (Office of Technology)
Of the many animals used for experiments, about 90 percent of the animals
used are rats, mice and other rodents. Animals such as these are used for
two reasons, one because they are readily available upon request, and two
because they are cheap which helps aid the large cost of animals
experimentation. Although it has been proven, that in many cases, rats and
mice are not an accurate subject to test medicines on; their popularity has
only grown larger. Mechanize (a travel sickness drug) caused severe
deformities in rats, but not in humans, whereas Thalidomide (a sedative
drug) caused no reaction in rats but cause deformities in humans. This is
only one of the many cases where mice and rats have been found as faulty
test subjects.
With the wide range of animals that are available, the tests the are used on
them are even vaster. The tests are broken down into many different
categories, which allows scientists to zero in on certain areas of testing
and to specify results. The largest and most useful area of testing is
called Toxicity Testing. In toxicity tests, animals are generally exposed to
chemicals in ways that are meant to mimic human exposure, by ingestion,
inhalation, skin contact and contact with the eyes. The type of animals
used in this field include rodents, dogs, cats, fish, birds (chickens, hens,
pigeons) rabbits, frogs, pigs, sheep, and primates. Toxicity testing is
aimed at providing information, which can be used to attempt to protect
society and the environment against the harmful effects of chemicals. (Boyd,
Eye irritancy tests, the largest and most controversial area in toxcity
testing, began in 1920. It was introduced because soldiers were exposed to
mustard gas in World War I, their eyes began to burn and some lost sight.
To understand what the effects of the mustard gas more clearly scientist
used rabbits as their test subjects. They would force they eyes of the
rabbit open and let mustard gas fester for days, they would then compare
their findings to the effects on humans. After this first introduction to
the benefits of


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