Alternatives to Animal Testing
As per Animal Welfare Act, the research scientists involved in animal testing are required to consider the alternative to testing on animals before beginning a research project. They must search the available literature for any alternatives, and submit their findings and search history to their concerned department.
Many people argue that as animals are less intellectually advanced (which is a false statement, to begin with anyway), and hence can be used to find cures for HIV, cancer or other life-threatening diseases. However, it is inhumane to take the animals out of their natural habitat and use them for any kind of research. In the US alone, more than 70m animals are blinded, maimed, hurt, killed, scalded, genetically manipulated or force-fed chemicals in the name of household products, science, educational institutes and government agencies. The animal testing is not required by the law but is done by the companies to protect themselves from consumer lawsuits.
Testing on animals costs billions of dollars annually. To measure the severe burn on live tissue, and the animal is burned alive till the flesh is charred and can be easily removed in the large pieces, while the animal is still alive. Animal’s eyelids are sewn shut, and the protein levels are measured to demonstrate that there is no difference in the levels of protein in the eyes of sight deprived. Studies on head trauma include strapping down the head of the animal, and giving high impact blows to it, resulting in severe brain damage.
Animals and humans are different, and many drugs that have been based on the animal testing had to be taken off the market due to the side-effects, that were not shown during animal studies but proved fatal for a human. There are many drugs that have passed the animal testing, but end up harming or killing the humans. Rats do not have gall bladder, dogs have different circulation system as they walk on all fours, and cats do not have enzymes that can metabolize ibuprofen.
More than half of the animal tests conducted by the cosmetic companies and most of these studies are flawed, resulting in incorrect scientific investigations that waste money, resources and time. More than 25 billion animals are unnecessarily killed in the labs each year. In one study, the baby monkeys were taken away from mothers and were abused. The conclusions were drawn that neglect and abuse lead to social maladjustment and psychological damage. Such animal testing does not justify the suffering of millions of animals and wasting billions of dollars. It is a cruel act of violence forced upon those that cannot speak up or protect themselves from the slavery that some humans seem to believe is still okay in our modern world.
There is, however, a possibility of using the more reliable and less expensive alternatives to animal testing. For Draize eye test, sophisticated computer models or corneas from eye banks can be used instead of using the live rabbits. Other more suitable tests include tissue culture system, chemical assay tests, human skin patches, organ and cell cultures, cloned human skin cells and computer and mathematical models.
Researchers argue that when the human life is in danger, it is better to experiment on the guinea pigs than to let people suffer or die. However, it must be kept in mind that animal testing is unjust and unethical, and there must be law enforcement to use the alternative methods.