23 January 2020
AnimalTesting and Research
Animalsare used as ‘models’ in biomedical research, in the developmentof drugs to cure diseases. It is also notable that animals are usedin behavioral studies in fields such as psychology and agriculture.In the US, the NationalInstitutes of Health(NIH) is charged with the responsibility of undertaking medicalresearch to aid in the development of drugs. With various satellitecenters around the country, NIH employs animals` duringexperimentation in research studies. Animal testing and researchgenerates serious concerns from researchers and activists. Theconcern is mostly on the animal rights and adherence to bioethics inmedical research. The opponents of using animals for testing orexperimentation argue that the animals have rights that ought to berespected. Animal welfare is a serious concern that has ledresearchers into devising new approaches for clinical trials.
Ethicalconsiderations are necessary in medical research. In fact,researchers are required to submit details about their trials orexperiments to the ethics committee. Inbiomedical research and clinical trials, researchers have been blamedfor subjecting animals to harsh conditions that disregard the animalrights. Many biomedical researchers have traditionally used animalsin clinical trials. The matter generates debate regarding the ethicalconsiderations on the part of animals. These unethical actions takeplace despite various campaigns and crusades against animalbrutality. Apparently, it is not possible to fully eliminate the useof animals in clinical trials.It is appropriate for researchers to consider alternative measuresthat use non-human subjects during the scientific experiments.Alternatives to replace or reduce pain on animals during trials andexperimentation will eliminate the unethical treatment of animals.
Intheir 1959 publication, ThePrinciples of Humane Experimental Technique,WilliamRussell and Rex Burch stressed on the importance of reducing andreplacing animal usage during clinical trials and experimentation.The publication sought to encourage researchers to limit their animalusage during experimentation. It also identified the need to minimizethe pain and torture inflicted on animal subjects. The two authorsasserted that there exist non-animal alternatives that have betteradherence to ethical requirements. Nonetheless, animal usage inresearch studies continues to increase hence raising considerableethical and scientific concerns. It is instrumental to identify thecognitive and emotional capacity of animals to warrant expectedresults or harm exposure. The concerns highlighted have augmented theneed to protect animal subjects during research activities throughadherence to principles such as respect, justice, and beneficence(Walker and Nancy 88). Over time, diverse regulations have beenenacted to defend animals used in research laboratories. The Britishparliament approved the Crueltyto Animals Act inthe 19thcentury. Also, the US accepted the LaboratoryAnimal Welfare Act,in 1966, with similar intentions of protecting laboratory animals.Nevertheless, discrepancies are present in both national andinternational laws. The US laws, for instance, exempts purpose-bredanimals from such regulations hence jeopardizing over 90 percent ofanimals used in experimentation (Kuwahara 68). While some peopleargue that pain and suffering is subjective in animals, furtherstudies negate the notion, indicating that animals experience painjust like human beings. Animals portray coordinated response to painand torture since they share genetic and psychological similaritieswith human beings.
Animaltesting and experimentation have been used for a long time in thewake of infectious diseases. Ordinarily, animals used in clinicaltrials were subjected to certain infections and cure. Success orfailure of the drug was used to ascertain its usage in human beings.The thinking was driven the notion that the animal exhibit similarcharacteristics, response, and symptoms when subjected to theinfections and cure as human beings (Kuwahara67).Nonetheless, not all trials have proved successful. During thedevelopment of Flosint, treatment for arthritis, the medication waspositive on monkeys but caused deaths on human beings. Another dietdrug, fen-phen, was recalled for causing heart damage on human beingsalthough it did not on animals. The findings indicate differencesbetween human and non-human subjects hence we cannot fully rely onthe results from the clinical trials (Mantusand Pisano 33).Despite some flawed conclusions, animal experimentation remainsprevalent in the contemporary research studies. It approximated thatover 25 million animals are used in experimentation annually in theUS. Moreover, animal use has been questioned in the field oftoxicology. The field depends on standardized animal experimentsalthough researchers encounter various challenges. Despite the flawedresults, researchers have been skeptical in the adoption of newapproaches (Krauth,Tracey, and Lisa 985).A report by the USNational Research Council(NRC) in 2007 underscored the need to use invitroand computational approaches to help gather more accurate outcomes.The move was driven by the need to use more dependable and accuratemethods to examine the level of toxicity in human beings. The twomethods, according to the council, are predictive and affordablecompared to the traditional approaches.
Onemethod by researchers to minimize the limitations of the animalmodels is to use genetically-modified animals. Using geneticengineering, researchers are developing better and quality animals byadding genes that are similar to human diseases. As such, the newanimals will have features that are similar to those of human beings.The approach has already been used in mice and rats, leading to theproduction of genetically-modified animals (Gluckand Mark 396).Unfortunately, animals are treated differently with littleconsideration of ethical standards. Over time, animals have been usedfor laboratory and clinical trials. Often, they are subjected to poorconditions such as chemicals and less-conducive environment. As aresult, debate has emerged regarding the appropriate strategies touse in order to minimize the poor treatment of animals. Looking atsuch details presents a grave picture about the poor ethicalpractices during clinical trials and animal testing.
Kuwahara(2016) observes that many researchers who use animals during clinicaltrials do not have the InstitutionalAnimal Care and Use Committee(IACUC), as per the requirements. It is also evident that majority ofthe laboratories do not employ individuals with the right skills,regarding the welfare of animals. The author also notes that animalssuch as rats and mice are exempted from the guidelines in the AnimalWelfare Act (Mantusand Pisano 8).Nonetheless, trials using these animals are expected to observe theappropriate guidelines in handling the subjects. In the absence ofthe IACUC guidelines, clinical trials are required to observe thebest practice, particularly in instances where the findings aresubmitted to Foodand Drug Administration (FDA)(Kuwahara 45). Challenges are likely to arise if laboratories decideto use other animals besides mice and rats since the researchersmight be unaware of the regulatory guidelines.
Thedevelopment of drugs to treat or reduce the infectious diseasesencounters enormous challenges. Often, the drugs cannot be tested onhuman beings since they may end up harming human subjects. In the US,FDA has spelt out AnimalRule thatseeks to eliminate the challenge (Mantusand Pisano 20).Researchers use the rule to interpret animal data to medicalcountermeasures devoid of testing on human beings. Nonetheless, therule has considerable effects for increased non-human primatestudies. It is believed that non-human primates have greater level ofmoral standing. Walker and Nancy (2016) observe that animal rulegenerates enormous challenges for ascription of moral perspective tonon-human primates.
FDAhas been on the fore front in examining the safety of drugs. One ofthe recently approved drugs by the agency is the BayerHealthcare`s Avelox (moxifloxacin).Approved on 8thMay 2015, the drug is expected to cure patients who have developedbacterial infection caused by enterobacteria. The bacteria is said tohave contributed many deaths in 1300s. Although it is not common inthe contemporary society, the disease is said to have resulted inabout 783 deaths globally. It is a deadly disease that can be used asbioterrorism agent. The drug’s recent approval is guided by theAnimalRule guidelines.The safety of the drug was garnered after a careful clinical testingand provision of post-marketing information. The approach used by FDAto approve the drug is supposed to generate more benefits. As such,patient safety is the primary goal before any drug is approved.Avelox was approved after a study conducted on the African greenmonkeys. The monkeys were exposed to Yersiniapestiswhere they got an infection. Monkeystreated with the drug survived. FDAuses experimental evidence as one of the criteria to test the safetyof a drug(Mantus and Pisano 12).Experimental evidence collaborates in solving practical problems andgenerating information regarding a drug’s safety levels. The agencyhas appropriate guidelines aimed at providing safe and adequateawareness initiatives that enable consumers acquaint themselves withdrug information. Nonetheless, the clinical trials are sometimesunethical as they cause harm or death to human elements. During thestudy on Avelox,for instance, 10 monkeys died after treatment with placebo. It isnecessary to adopt ethical approaches in testing drugs before theyare approved. Other alternative methods include exclusive reliance onhuman data, cell, and tissue to address major areas in therapeuticresearch. Substitute human immune system can be used to examine anindividual’s resistance to vaccines. The approach utilizesblood-donor base of sampled population. The move has already shownpositive and accurate results compared to the human experiments.Innovations will help reduce usage of animals as well as offeradvances to the medical field. In other instances, human subjects canbe used in areas such as breast cancer where women will be engaged asparticipants for the study (Mantusand Pisano 82).
Accordingto Madar,Hazel, Huang, and Ting (2013), ethical approaches by organizationstend to influence the buying behavior. Ethical consumers seek theinformation about a product to ascertain their adherence to the bestpractices. In their study, the authors examined the issue on animaltesting in shampoo. Apparently, the study indicates the importance ofobserving ethical behaviors during experimentation using animals.Rollin (2006) draws various considerations to educate people on theneed to observe morality in the treatment of laboratory animals (19).In his book, Rollin (2006) observes that human beings inflict painand suffering on animals during and after the scientific experiments.Clinical trials have been blamed for subjecting animals to harshconditions as though they are lifeless. Often, the trials involveexposure to bacteria, viruses or chemicals that end up killing theanimals. After the scientific experiments, majority of the animalsdie or are killed by the researchers. Exposure to chemicals minimizesthe chances of survival for these animals. The immoral treatment ofanimal in laboratories presents a gruesome reality. Considering thathumans benefit from the research findings gathered through evaluationof animals under different conditions in the laboratory, theresearchers have a duty to treat the animals in a just way (Krauth,Tracey and Lisa 985). Without the animals, it would have beendifficult to get medicines to cure certain diseases. To this end,there has been growing activism by philosophers, scholars, ethicistsand activists. These individuals are persuaded that most of theethical struggle in the recent times will be concerning the rights ofanimals. After all, the experiments are conducted to benefit humanbeings on development of medicines. With technology, robots have alsoemerged as better alternatives for clinical research (Aimee 435). Itis expected that robots will take a critical role in enhancing therealization of expected results. Moreover, computer-controlledprograms will help in generating models that can be easilymanipulated to gather relevant information.
Althoughusing animals in research studies can be prohibited entirely, theexercise should be decreased through application other techniques ofperforming clinical trials.The investigators testing on animals can apply substitute schemes intheir laboratory trials. Furthermore, they can make use of suitabledrugs when killing or operating the research animals in thelaboratory. Detailed contemplation of the research ethics isfundamental to lessen incidences of prejudiced results and pointlessdisapproval (Krauth, Tracey, and Lisa 985). It is the responsibilityof researchers to use humane approaches when dealing with animals.Through legislations, it is possible to compel ethical considerationsin the treatment of animals by the human beings. Animal rightsactivists have the responsibility to educate researchers and thepublic on the best practices (Mantusand Pisano 29).Still, some believes that protecting the subjects too much denies newknowledge to the society. As such, it is proposed that the ethicalcommittees need to allow controversial experiments but through propermonitoring from an independent body. Proper monitoring would help informulatingthe best practices and ethical standards while solving the healthchallenges facing human beings.
Researchethics require the researchers to inform the participants about allthe consequences following their participation in an experiment.Since animals cannot be informed about the experiments, it is uponthe researchers to ensure that ethical guidelines are considered atall times. The trials caused emotional stress and pain on theparticipants, something that is disallowed when using human objects.Usage of human elements in experimentation generates ethicalconsiderations (Aimee438).Often, human subjects are subjected to poor conditions such asless-conducive environment as seen in the many experiments. As aresult, debate has emerged regarding the appropriate strategies touse in order to minimize the poor treatment of animals. Looking atsuch details presents a grave picture about the poor ethicalpractices during experimentation.It is possible to use ethical approaches in order to prevent andcontrol animal cruelty including reporting such incidences. Accordingto this point of view, ethical propositions are influenced by themind-independent realism. The perception is obtained from assortedreports, including ethics (Krauth, Tracey, and Lisa 985).
Nevertheless,human beings are willing to exercise ethical considerations duringanimal testing. Much as it is not possible to completely avoid usinganimals in experimentation, it is probable for researchers to employethical practices in the treatment of animals. The investigatorsexperimenting on animals can apply different methods in theirlaboratory tests (Lockwood 1910). Furthermore, they can use properdrugs when killing or operating the test animals in the laboratory.Authorities and animal rights’ bodies should introduce awareness toeducate the public on the importance of upholding ethical approachesduring animal testing. Ethicalconsiderations in medical ethics have numerous benefits. Adherence toethical guidelines is also instrumental to reduce biased results,Adherence to ethical checklist when conducting experiments for thesafety of the researcher and the welfare of the animals (Kuwahara66).The approach will greatly reduce the suffering on the animals as wellas give room for alternative measures to consider when undertakingscientific experiments. Animal rights need to be respected by humanbeings. Morality and ethical considerations will help promote animalrights and welfare.
Fromthe evidence above, it is evident that non-animal alternatives willsupplement the current status in research studies. The move wouldreduce the controversies surrounding the ethical considerationsduring experimentation and clinical trials. Replacement alternativeswill eliminate the conventional model hence reduce the risks andcosts. It is believed that the move will open room for more researchand innovation on better products to treat ailments. It is necessaryfor all stakeholders, both private and public, to generate betterapproaches that will result in new and less-controversial models inanimal testing. Scientific evidence supports the fact that usage ofanimals in experimentation is limited and unnecessary to examinehuman diseases. There exist approaches to promote human and animalhealth without necessarily exposing them to risky and poorconditions. Some of the traditional methods are counterproductive inresearch and education.
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