Becky C

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Why is there animal testing?

Animal testing is unreliable as human's reacts differently some ways than it does to certain animals. Scientists have found there are safe and reliable methods of testing products, that saves animals lives while assuring the safety and well-being of the public. So why torture a animal when you can simply turn on technology? I know there are medicines that work and have been tested on one animal and saved lots of people but you have to consider the other facts. We have different systems to animals and we could kill the public and not harm animals or vies versa.

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    May 9 2012: Alternatives should be used where possible, but unlike your very one-sided rendition of the facts would have us believe, an alternative doesn't always exist or exists but is quite clearly inadequate. Furthermore, animal testing is not so unreliable as to make it nonsensical. Many things need to be carefully considered such as what kind of testing provides real benefits (scientific research) as opposed to mere entertainment (cosmetics) as well as what level of sentience does an animal posess (is it ever ethical to use a chimpanzee for experimentation? Should we really put that concern on an equal footing with lab rats?). A reasoned debate can be had if all parties are willing to discuss the details rather than present an oversimplification of reality.
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    May 15 2012: The depressing part is that the more genetically similar the test subject the more accurate the results. Genetic similarity between humans and chimpanzees is in the high 90s as a percentage. Unfortunately this means the only testing method that is superior to using a chimp is to run human trials. You would be surprised how often researchers end up testing on themselves.
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    May 11 2012: Alternatives are not always available or reliable for research.

    The most heard of alternative is tissue culture. Cells are taken from animals or humans and cultivated in vitro, outside the body of an organism. These cells are then subjected to experimentation and observed. This sounds really good and it is being used a lot, but there are different reasons why it's not as ideal as many people would have you believe.

    There is the issue of cultivated cells not acting like they would inside the body, 'in vivo'. Over time these cultivated cells become less and less differentiated. This means an ovarium cell loses it's special 'ovarium cell functions' and starts to look a kind of 'neutral' cell, not fit for research on ovarium cells. They also aquire mutations pretty fast and tend to turn into cancer-like cells over time.

    Another limitation is the fact that a tissue culture doesn't simulate living organism, as is evident by the cells not being able to stay normal cells outside the body. It's a tissue, it's not even an organ. An organism is a complex system with a lot of different organs and cells, while a tissue culture is just one type of cell.

    Finally there is the problem of contamination. All the work has to be done in a completely sterile environment. Even the slightest contamination ruins your experiment and with a bit of bad luck all running experiments in that laboratory. Contamination means you'll have to decontaminate the laboratory and start over.

    So although alternatives are there and are being investigated, they are not always available for the type of research you want to do. They are, like animal testing, not perfect. The rules for testing on animals are strict though, atleast here in the Netherlands, and alternatives are encouraged.
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    May 10 2012: Matthieu Miossec that is a very well argued point and I would like it but I can't some reason. I know this is a very one sided view and I do know this. I also think that you are correct that we should consider carefully what kind of testing provides real benefits and that personally I think testing on animals for cosmetics is not right as body shop and other brands do fine without testing. I could except certain testing on animals for medicine if it really saved lots of lives but to torture a animal for no reason is cruel.
    • May 10 2012: Unlike the 1950s and 1960s, there are ethics in using animals for scientific research. In America at least, there are no approved, modern scientific experiments that test animals for fun. In fact, if a scientific experiment goes bad for the animal, the experimenters are held responsible for the animals' well-being. Cosmetics is a joke, and is not even consider scientific for most people. If you want to complain about the cosmetic industry, go right ahead. Pharmacology trials are better fit for animals then humans mainly because human subjects can do multiple drug trials without the investigators' knowledge. If you still think animal testing is wrong, please list the alternatives.
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      May 10 2012: Torturing animals for no reason is cruel indeed and should be stamped out. Animal testing has a purpose, so it's not torture without reason. Any cruelty without reason in research is abuse and is condemned as such.
      • May 10 2012: I agree entirely, and even if the experiment has justification, there is still a limit such as the Learned Helplessness experiment. However, the consequences associated with that were not intentional; therefore, the experiment was not inhumane.
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    May 9 2012: First give me the links, because last time I checked the alternatives were even more controversial than animal testing itself.

    Those alternatives are not models. It is still living tissue, and most drugs have to be tested in the body as a whole. So that means instead of complete animals you're going to use specific parts of the animals, grow them in isolation. This includes brain tissue, but I guess that is okay.