There are many animal activist groups as well as scientist that believe that animals should not be used for scientific research. However, there are major reasons why they should. They are simpler models, the environment and research can be controlled easier, ethically its more feasible to experiment on animal than humans, they are readily available at minimal costs, and the studies performed provide us with faster research into disease and psychological disorders that would not otherwise be discovered.
Many scientist and researchers feel that other ways should be found to do research. They continually deal with the ethical side of using animals. The EU Legislation has invoked a very high standard when it comes to the utilizing animals for research. Their policy is to use animals only as a last resort and with doing the least harm possible. What they have found is that although they are making strides; animals are still our greatest tool in research and development of disease fighting drugs.
Animals are the simpler models of humans. Animals like the slug only have twenty thousand nerve cells; while human body has over 200 billion nerve cells. Scientist seeking to understand the neurological process that underlies learning and memory can benefit from the simple organism such as the slug. This makes the process of studying the nervous system pretty simple. The human body is so complex that it would take years to do most test that require the mapping of different areas of the body. Using something as simple as one celled amoeba could give researchers a firsthand look at respiration, metabolism and other cell processes, compared to other more complex, multi-cell organisms. By using these simpler models the time to make discoveries are cut down immensely. This in turns helps the scientist to move on to human testing more expeditiously to come up with cures for numerous diseases.
The environment can be controlled a lot easier. There is some research that must be done over weeks, month, and even years. Most humans would not be able to devote that type of time to assist in such experiments. With the animals the scientist can utilize them for whatever the timeline as long as they are still viable. Animals also give them more control over the environment as they can do research in labs under many different conditions to see how the animal reacts. With humans there would not be any way to control them outside of the lab but, with animals they can be controlled twenty four hours a day. This type of control means they can be carefully monitored for different reactions or responses to experimental research.
The Ethical Reasoning
Ethically it’s more feasible to use animals than human for research. Some types of research require very invasive procedures. Human rights activists as well as the majority of humans would be opposed to these types of research no matter what outcome was expected. The pain and suffering that some animals experience in research would be unmanageable for most humans. This fact alone would make this position not only an ethical issue but also a moral issue for most. Many animals must be killed either during the experiments or shortly thereafter. This is due to the effects of the research or because of exposure during research. It would be deemed unethical for human beings to be killed off as a minority for the greater good of the majority. Ethics do come into play for animals as well. Many animal activists groups have advocated for protection and respect for the welfare of animals.
The cost of using animals for certain experiments are low and the animals are plentiful. Take into account experiments using lab rats. Rats are a cheap commodity in the animal world and serve various significant purposes in research. When looking at research budgets the scientist must find about a way obtain specimens at the lowest price point possible. Also because some experiments require frequent testing of subjects; rats are ideal.
Animal research is not only valuable but also a necessary tool in the advancement of research. By providing researchers with simpler models, the ability to control the environment and behavior, cost management and for ethical and moral reasons; animals should be used for research. The bigger issue is the foresight of researchers to take care of pain control and treatment of the animals that cause the least pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm but still provide satisfactory results.