Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Animal Experimentation - Overview

Key Points

  • More than 2.7 million live animal experiments were authorised in Great Britain in 2002. This number has halved in the last 30 years
  • Around the world, animals are used to test products ranging from shampoo to new cancer drugs
  • British law requires that any new drug must be tested on at least two different species of live mammal. One must be a large non-rodent
  • UK regulations are considered some of the most rigorous in the world - the Animals Act of 1986 insists that no animal experiments be conducted if there is a realistic alternative
  • Almost every medical treatment you use has been tested on animals. Animals were also used to develop anesthetics to prevent human pain and suffering during surgery

Does animal testing work?

Yes: Animal testing has helped to develop vaccines against diseases like rabies, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and TB

No: Animal experiments can be misleading. An animal's response to a drug can be different to a human's

Yes: Antibiotics, HIV drugs, insulin and cancer treatments rely on animal tests. Other testing methods aren't advanced enough

No: Successful alternatives include test tube studies on human tissue cultures, statistics and computer models

Yes: Scientists claim there are no differences in lab animals and humans that cannot be factored into tests

No: The stress that animals endure in labs can affect experiments, making the results meaningless

Yes: Operations on animals helped to develop organ transplant and open-heart surgery techniques

No: Animals are still used to test items like cleaning products, which benefit mankind less than medicines or surgery

What are the alternatives to animal testing? (clink on the underlines phrase)

Is animal testing morally right?
Yes: Human life has greater intrinsic value than animal life
No: Animals have as much right to life as human beings
Yes: Legislation protects all lab animals from cruelty or mistreatment
No: Strict controls have not prevented researchers from abusing animals - although such instances are rare
Yes: Millions of animals are killed for food every year - if anything, medical research is a more worthy death
No: Deaths through research are absolutely unnecessary and are morally no different from murder
Yes: Few animals feel any pain as they are killed before they have the chance to suffer
No: When locked up they suffer tremendous stress. Can we know they don't feel pain?


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