Fluffy trapped in a bone-crushing cage. Rex glowing green. Fido sacrificing his life for that of evil, manipulative mankind. As humans, as compassionate beings, we are reluctant to hear about these things and condone animal testing. But not only are many of these supposed conditions fictitious, the evidence supporting government-sponsored animal testing is staring us in the face. We see it each time we visit the doctor, pharmacy, grocery store. Animals are the only other living beings with organ systems that in many ways mimic our own, so the administering of prospective medicines on them is a vital step in the development of a drug.
Thanks to the contribution of animal kind, many huge strides have been made in the fields of medicine for both animals and humans. In 1889, German physiologist Oskar Minkowski and physician Joseph von Mering showed that if the pancreas was removed from a dog, the animal contracted diabetes. This experiment led to the discovery of insulin, which actively sustains the 347 million people worldwide afflicted with the debilitating disease. It has also aided countless dogs who also have the disease. Rabbits, monkeys, pigs, rats, and mice have also aided research in the field of medicine. By experimentation on these animals, we now have millions of medicines, as well as vaccines, skin graft technology, and the ability to feel confident about transplantation. There was no other way to have made these strides, and there is no other way to continue making them: we need to experiment on vertebrates with full organ systems in order to see the effects of a specific drug on the whole body.
Progress has been made in the creation of artificial substances to test on, and these are being utilized to their full capacity, but they can not replace the necessary contribution that animals make to the field of health research, in which scientists can observe the varied results on different aspects of the internal system.
And centers go to great lengths to make sure that they have the best conditions available. Under federal law, all animals must be treated humanely and undergo the least distress possible. Studies need to protect the animals’ welfare. Groups wanting to test on animals go to great lengths to make this a reality. They ask the questions: how big should the cages be, and how warm or cool do the animals need to be to stay healthy? What kind of food is best, and how much noise do the animals like to have? Do the animals like bright or dim light, and do they need other animals or toys to play with?
It shouldn’t be sugarcoated. The basic fact is that animals are experimented on using drugs that yield unknown consequences and regularly, they die. The reality of the situation is if it wasn’t them, it would be us. It seems selfish, heartless, but in many ways it isn’t. The advances made in medicine because of animal research are beneficial to all species, and the animals researched on are not mistreated in any way.