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When testing medicines for potential toxicity, the lives of human volunteers should not be put in danger unnecessarily.It would be unethical to perform invasive experimental procedures on human beings before the methods have been tested on animals, and some experiments involve genetic manipulation that would be unacceptable to impose on human subjects before animal testing.If vaccines were not tested on animals, millions of animals would have died from rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, infectious hepatitis virus, tetanus, anthrax, and canine parvo virus.
Studying cell cultures in a petri dish, while sometimes useful, does not provide the opportunity to study interrelated processes occurring in the central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system.
All mammals, including humans, are descended from common ancestors, and all have the same set of organs (heart, kidneys, lungs, etc.) that function in essentially the same way with the help of a bloodstream and central nervous system.
Opponents of animal testing say that it is cruel and inhumane to experiment on animals, that alternative methods available to researchers can replace animal testing, and that animals are so different from human beings that research on animals often yields irrelevant results. Anderson Cancer Center's animal research facility, states that "we wouldn't have a vaccine for hepatitis B without chimpanzees," and says that the use of chimps is "our best hope" for finding a vaccine for Hepatitis C, a disease that kills thousands of Americans annually.
Animal research has also contributed to major advances in understanding and treating conditions such as breast cancer, brain injury, childhood leukemia, cystic fibrosis, malaria, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, and many others, and was instrumental in the development of pacemakers, cardiac valve substitutes, and anesthetics. Living systems like human beings and animals are extremely complex.
As well as stipulating minimum housing standards for research animals (enclosure size, temperature, access to clean food and water, and others), the AWA also requires regular inspections by veterinarians.
The Outsiders Critical Thinking Questions - Should Animals Be Used In Experiments Essay
All proposals to use animals for research must be approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) set up by each research facility.
Koalas, ravaged by an epidemic of sexually transmitted chlamydia and now classified as endangered in some regions of Australia, are being tested with new chlamydia vaccines that slows the rate of infection and treats early stages of the disease.
In addition to local and state laws and guidelines, animal research has been regulated by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) since 1966.
Humane treatment is enforced by each facility's IACUC, and most major research institutions' programs are voluntarily reviewed for humane practices by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
Laboratory mice, for example, live for only two to three years, so researchers can study the effects of treatments or genetic manipulation over a whole lifespan, or across several generations, which would be infeasible using human subjects.