Animal testing is a hot topic now days. Though it may not be well known, animal protection did not start until the 1800’s. The United State Department of Agricultural (USDA) issued a law in 1966 to protect certain animals against animal cruelty and neglect. This law does not protect rodents, reptiles, and/or birds. While these animals are being tested on, no matter how painful the procedure is, the scientist does not have to give them pain relief (medication) of any sort. Animals are used for many different things such as; to test make up, medications, and many other human products.
Using an animal as a test subject, and not giving them pain relief, is the same thing as starving or beating an animal. It is illegal to torture animals, punishable by law if caught torturing or purposefully neglecting ANY animal, but it is perfectly legal for scientist to use animals as test subjects and not give them any kind of medications to relieve the pain they have to endure. The law that the USDA passed should declare all animals/species will receive the appropriate form of medication in the instance that the test being preformed is harmful to the animal.
In 1821 a man named Richard Martin introduced a bill that was meant to protect cattle and horses. The bill did not take effect until the following year but it was intended to prevent the cruel and improper treatment of cattle and horses. Martin’s Bill was significant because it was the first bill to regulate how people should be treating animals. Martin’s act was also the first time anyone ever tried to abolish animal cruelty. Not long after the Richard Martin Bill was passed did other states start to catch on, for example according to “Animal Rights” by Jennifer A. Hurley, “in 1829 New
York State went to such measures as to forbid the malicious killing, maiming, or wounding of horses, oxen, cattle, and sheep. ” (10) In 1824 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was founded. The sole purpose of the SPCA was to make animal cruelty punishable by law. The SPCA was intended to inform society on the cruel things animals were forced to endure, such as horses being beaten with pitchforks or a stray dog being hung from a tree and kicked to death. It may be hard to believe but these kinds of incidences happened all the time before the Richard Martin act came to be.
The SPCA received so much attention that royalty was even involved. According to Hurley, “In 1840 Queen Victoria granted the society permission to add the prefix “Royal” to its name, which made the SPCA the RSPCA—a respectable, even fashionable, cause. ” With support from royalty and a determination to stop animal cruelty, the RSPCA worked rigorously to enforce the anticruelty status. The RSPCA employed their own private police force to investigate suspicions of animal cruelty, and collect any evidence for prosecutions.
As a result of the RSPCA, Martins act was eventually expanded to ban all types of animal fighting. Many people don’t realize that there is a significant difference between animal rights and animal welfare. Animal welfare advocates argue for stronger laws preventing animal cruelty whereas animal’s rights advocates oppose ANY and ALL human “use” of animals including rodeos, zoos, hunting, and scientific experimentations. Thought the two are very different, often times they both work together for a common goal, urging reform.
As the RSPCA continued their rigorous efforts to stop animal cruelty, something much more serious was going on. Animals were becoming a popular candidate for medical experiments and research. By the 1860s most of Europe was using animals for experimentation, this practice is also known as vivisection. Amongst the medical field, using animals for experimentations was thought of as a brilliant idea, but to the general public it was thought of as barbaric. Many people spoke out against animal testing, as did the RSPCA and Richard Martin.
Richard Martin announced, “Too revolting to be palliated by any excuse that Science may be enlarged or improved by so detestable a means. ” By the 1800s, however, the RSPCAs stance on vivisection began to shift. The RSPCA depended on the support of its wealthy patrons, many of whom had ties to the medical community. With that being said evidence of vivisections potential benefits was mounting. Certain developments complicated the vivisection debate, because after many people found the vivisection to be useful they were not so opposed.
Furthermore the RSPCA and its sister organization, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), took a neutral position on vivisection, neither condemning nor defending it. In all 50 states and in many other countries there are laws against beating, starving, and or neglecting an animal whether it is a pet or a stray. Like I mentioned earlier the RSPCA created a law enforcement group and since then, that law enforcement has begun to be supported by the state. This law enforcement group (animal cops) basically go out and save animals.
It is unreal some of the conditions the animal cops find animals in, for example; horses with over grown hooves, dogs chained up outside without any food or water and the chains wound so tightly around their neck that it has dug into or even grown into the skin, and they even see houses with multiple cats or dogs living there with no food or water and the bathroom is basically wherever there is room to go. Animal cops typically investigate 400-500 cruelty complaints and are able to rescue several hundred animals.
Before the cops take the animals they are sure to take very thorough pictures, I put emphasis on this because just like with a crime scene for humans, the cops need evidence of the neglect and abuse. Once the animals are removed from the scene they are then taken to the Human Society where they will get the proper medical care and treatment. While the vets are taking care of the animals the animal cops are out getting more evidence and trying to track down the owner of the animal(s).
Depending on the severity of the case, and the compliance of the owner is dependent on how much of a fine the owner must pay or in most cases how much prison time the owner will receive. Meanwhile back at the vet the animal is going through treatment and getting better so he/she can be adopted out. Who pays for the medical care the animal must receive after being rescued? The simple answer to that is the members pay; people who donate money to the Humane Society or people who are volunteers will take the animal home and nurse it back to health.
The point is, all of this time and effort is put into rescuing an animal all for what? According to the ASPCA, “thousands of sheltered animals are actually taken from shelters and used in labs each year. ” There are several programs such as ASPCA, PETA, and USDA that spend thousands of dollars each year to rescue animals from poor living conditions and put them in a positive living environment with food and attention and nurse them back to health but for what? Just for them to be taken to a lab to be experimented on. It is wrong, and it is a pointless process that can be avoided by not using animals as test subjects.
I say this because already the animal has likely been abused and or tortured. Scientifically speaking, using and/or testing on animals have often been found inaccurate when it comes to medications or other products for that matter. According to the FDA, “nine out of ten drugs deemed successful in animal tests fail in human clinical trials. ” This being said basically a medication is being tested on an animal, and depending on the reactions of animal is dependent on whether or not the medication moves on through the process of being approved to be used on humans.
In the early 1960s the drug Thalidamide was tested on animals and the ending result was that nothing appeared to be wrong with the animal(s) it was being tested on. What scientist and the rest of the mothers who took this medication were not expecting was birth defects. The drug was supposed to be used to reduce morning sickness for pregnant women, and though it did just that, it also caused birth defects in children being born. The ending result was that the infants failed to develop limbs and according to the Animal Friends Croati they were referred to as, “flipper babies.
The Thalidamide was and is not the only drug that has been tested on an animal and was approved to work on humans because the drug showed no serious effect on the animal. Another example of how ineffective animal testing is that on September 30, 2004, the drug company Merck recalled its popular pain reliever Vioxx from the market because it was found to increase the risk of blood clots in patients. Evidence suggests that human observational data predicted these effects as early as 1996, and human clinical data confirmed the danger in 2001.
However, animal tests supported the release and continued use of the dangerous drug, so Merck chose not to conduct human trials on Vioxx’s relationship to blood clotting. Because Vioxx remained on the market, the FDA has estimated that as many as 27,000 patients may have died. Alise Reicin, vice president of clinical research at Merck Research Laboratories, has defended Merck’s conduct by stating that animal studies suggested that Vioxx might actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Vioxx debacle is not an isolated incident or the result of a failure of individuals. The American public was failed by the FDA’s drug approval procedures. It is hard to deny that using animals as test subjects has been entirely ineffective but it is also very obvious that using animals as test subjects has been more ineffective than it has been effective. With today’s technology the process that most laboratory’s use is more considerate for the animals than it has been in the past.
Meaning researchers man an effort to test potential drugs in computer systems and on tissue cultures before going straight to the animal. Then only the best performing drugs will be tested on animals. Individual animals are tested on and analyzed over time, and depending on their suitability is whether or not they are used for the type of drug being tested. The result is animal testing should be abolished; it is cruel to put animals through such torture especially if it is for a human being.
It does not matter if the animal is a rat, rabbit, or a dog. Every animal should be shown the same amount of compassion as the other. I firmly believe that if humans need a product that is going to benefit them, that product should be tested on them, not an innocent animal that has undying faith to humans. Scientifically speaking and morally speaking animal testing should be abolished because it has proven to be more ineffective than effective.