Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ethical Issues of Animal Experimentation

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Business ethics in the United States has grown over the past 50 years. In the play, All My Sons, written by Arthur Miller, business ethics play a major role. The play asks the readers to understand that there are ethics in business practices in the post-war world. You must first try to consider the definition of ethics before you break down what is ethical and what is not. Ethics is the study of moral standards and how they affect conduct. If something is ethical it is consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct. One may view animal research as an unethical procedure for humans to practice. Who is the human to think that he can determine the life expectancy of an animal by chemically poisoning it?


In the last ten years, many scientists have begun to prove to the world that the use of animals in the labs help to cure diseases that friends and family may have. When animals are used to help humans find new technology and medicines to cure human deficiencies and diseases it should be accepted. It is true that most animals are put to death in the process but the use of them is worth it in the long run because it is helping cure diseases that have been studied by other means first. I’m not trying to say that using animals brutally and causing animals to suffer is okay but when used for medical uses it should be accepted because of the fact that they are helping to better develop medical research. Pharmacies would not be able to sell their medicines if they did not know they were going to work thus causing their business ethics to be unethical. Medical research on animals in laboratories is perceived as ethical in the United States. However, for the purposes of cosmetics and other non biomedical testing, such as frivolous psychological experiments or used in biology or anatomy classrooms, it is unethical.


Last Chance for Animals reported that “every second of every day of every year, an animal dies in an experimentation in the United States”; however, they may want to think of how many humans are cured of diseases due to the use of these experiments (Miller, 001, p. 15). French chemist Louis Pasteur and his colleagues used biomedical testing to examine infectious diseases in animals. Pasteur knew that wine and beer spoiled due to contaminants and soon realized that microorganisms must also be responsible for diseases such as chicken cholera and anthrax (Botting & Morrison, 17). To test his theory he conducted experiments on cholera infected chicken’s guts. He discovered an organism in the culture that he believed to be the disease and placed it in other healthy animals (Botting & Morrison, 17). The healthy animals were then infected by cholera (Botting & Morrison, 17). He then made a weakened culture of this that he could induce in to human patients that will make their immune system fight it off if they ever get the disease (Botting & Morrison, 17). This is just one example of how animal testing has helped society. One must think of all the other diseases that scientists have found organisms that caused the disease for. There are thousands out there that have vaccinations for them now. Animal rights activists must remember these occurrences rather than believe that all animal testing is completely wrong. Many of these activists have probably taken antibiotics or antibacterial drugs and not even realized that they too were tested on animals. Using animals for research has shown to be useful in many other areas of medicine such as Open-heart surgery, cancer, polio, kidney failure, and diabetes (Miller, 001, p.15). Currently Chimpanzees are the only non-human species in which HIV is detected and appropriately studied (Kimmel, 16, p. 6).


Researchers believe it to be very hard to envision any better vaccines or medicines to use against diseases without involving animals into their experimental process. They must ask themselves “Which would you rather have die a rat or your mother?” This is a very common argument used when defending the medical research on animals. The other claim is the debate against animal experimentation and that even though these experiments have played a role in finding out how medicine and diseases work. It does not mean that they were essential. The answer to that theory is that there was a “black hole” in the progress of treatments which did not fill until biomedical science was used (Botting & Morrison, 17).


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The American Psychological Association (APA) came up with guidelines for ethical conduct in the care and use of animals. One of the guidelines they wrote was that the research to be done on the animals was to be well-defined before the experiment even began on the animal (“Guidelines…”, 001). There should be a reasonable amount of evidence that explains what is to be accomplished and that it is for increasing knowledge and that will provide a result that would benefit the health and/or welfare of humans or other animals (“Guidelines…”, 001) . This was a well thought guideline to have because it makes the scientists research and discover what it is they want to find before they can cut in to or test an animal.


Many activists try to raise the issue that humans have a choice as to whether or not they would like to be used for research purposes, animals do not. As Kimmel states, “To claim that animals have the same rights as people is an elitist stance” (16, p.55). If these people are going to take it from that prospective than how can they justify owning a pet, eating meat, or wearing leather (Grooves, 17, p. )? These animals did not choose to be owned, eaten, or worn.


Some of the ways that the scientists experiment with these animals is very harsh and deadly; examples are that the animals are sometimes burned to study burnt flesh, inflicting hard blows to the head, deep cuts, and other serious injuries to see how their bodies react. This is what I disagree with. An animal should not be put through frivolous experiments to determine psychological medicines. I don’t believe that it is possible to find results from such behavior. Some of this behavior is done by researchers out of ignorance rather than intent (Grooves, 17, p.116). They are unknowledgeable of the fact that there are rules and guidelines to animal testing. Another form of frivolous experimentation would be the use in science classrooms all over the world. A student in high school does not need to examine animals in all aspects of a frog, cat or any other type of animal that is dissected in the classrooms.


Scientists are now trying to decrease the pain and suffering that happens to the animals in housing and the research process. An estimated 7 percent of animal testing is used to further the medical advancements (Siegel-Maier, 001, 50). However, the latter 7 percent is used on frivolous testing (Siegel-Maier, 001, 50). Developing these techniques will help to eliminate the uneasiness about the suffering of these animals being used in science (Rowan, 17, p. 7). This will hence allow the general public to accept the use of animals in experimentations more now than before.


The study of animals by experimentation is a useful source to have when discovering new medicines for the world. If not for these tests science would not be as developed as it is now. If only people around the world would realize this fact it would help to enhance research development in the medical fields. As long as the researchers are not using the animals for frivolous practices and not cause animals to suffer by brutally hurting them while they are still alive or use the animals in classrooms, I think that medical testing of animals in experiments is an ethical stance. If the principles of moral conduct of animal experimentation are agreed upon then they are ethical.


Botting, J. H., Morrison, A.R. (17, February). Animal research is vital to medicine. Scientific American. [On-line] Available www.sciam.com/07issue/botting. html


Groove, J. M. (17). Hearts and minds The controversy over laboratory animals. Philadelphia Temple Philadelphia Press.


Guidelines for ethical conduct in the care and use of animals. (001). APA Science. [Online] Available http//www.apa.org/science/anguide.html


Kimmel, A. J. (16). Ethical issues in behavioral research A survey. Cambridge, MA Blackwell Publishers.


Miller, S. R. A. (001, September). Animal research. The Humanist 61 (5), 15.


Rowan, A. N. (17, February). The benefits and ethics of animal research. Scientific American 76 () 7.


Siegel-Maier, K. (001, April). Guilt-free beauty. Better Nutrition 6 (4), 50.


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