Animal testing is necessary in some situations

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 22, 2007 Ed Cartoon

Recently, a Brock University professor called for a moratorium to stop animal testing on the school’s campus.

Testing and research on animals is a polarizing issue. It’s generally kept quiet as its details may be unsettling. Nonetheless, it’s a necessary reality and a necessary evil for advancing medicine and research.

It’s only natural for different species to do everything possible to ensure their survival; we must combat disease to stay alive, and doing so may require research using animals.

Some anti-animal testing activists like the Brock professor suggest alternatives, like computer simulations of cadavers and synthetic reproductions of skin, in place of live animals in testing and training of physicians.

But live human patients aren’t computer simulations, and when it comes to the life or death of a human patient on the operating table, there’s no replacement for practical experience on real test subjects " even if they have to be animals. Virtually no one would be comfortable going under the knife if they knew their surgeon had only ever worked on computer simulations.

These alternatives should certainly be pursued to supplement tangible, hands-on practice. Using synthetic or computerized elements in early stages of study would limit the number of animals dying for the sake of human progress. But there’s still no excuse for physicians and researchers not to train with real dissections. Suggesting alternatives as a total solution is oversimplifying a complicated issue.

Researchers implementing animal testing aren’t sadistic; they have a vested interest in finding cures for massive killers among the human populace. Ultimately, progress is made, and has been made, on rampant diseases like heart disease, cancer and AIDS because of testing conducted on animals.

Certainly, there should be animal testing standards. For instance, thinking about animals being deformed or badly injured because cosmetic products have been tested on them is disturbing. Animals should only be used to achieve important health-related goals. Also, perhaps we could ensure animals have a better quality of life before being tested. Regardless, medical pursuits are a justifiable reason to incorporate animals in the developing stages of progress.

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