European regulations and legislations.

A closer look at the regulations applied in the EU countries will show that there has been a lot of thought put into the subject. However, one might find it a bit strange that those regulations are only a recent history. The Council Directive has only been published in November 1986.

The Council Directive 86/609/EEC is the general European guideline regarding the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes.

The aim of this Directive is to have a framework to protect animals used for experimental or scientific purposes by ensuring that they are adequately cared for and that no unnecessary pain or suffering is inflicted.
Some of the aspects that are discussed in this directive are:
• Prohibiting the use of endangered species for experimental purposes.
o Unless the research is about preserving the species
o Or if there is no other adequate possiblity.
• Guidelines for the care and accommodation of animals.
• Designating the authorities responsible for verifying that this Directive is implemented.
• Obliging each Member State to collect and periodically make publicly available statistical information on the use of animals for experimental purposes.

An interesting paragraph states that “Experiments must only take place if there is no alternative method that does not entail the use of animals. Animals involved must be those with the lowest degree of neuro-physiological sensitivity”.
Several other paragraphs discuss exclusively and repeatedly the importance of imposing the least amount of pain possible while performing tests on animals.
Another interesting paragraph is the one concerned with the prevention of duplication in experiments by “obliging” the different member states to mutually recognize their scientific results:
“In order to avoid any risk of duplication in experiments, Member States must accept to mutually recognize their scientific results”.
The whole text of the Council Directive can be found on the following link:
http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/environment/nature_and_biodiversity/l28104_en.htm
Those discussed regulations and other found in the original text allow us to see that testing on animals, at least in the EU, is not a monkey business. It’s rather a well regulated and controlled part of scientific research that is implemented with full respect and care to the animal in question, when no other possibility is available.

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Poll

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Even though there are a lot of people that believe that animal testing is cruel and unethical, I believe these strong opinions are the result of lacking research and incorrect information regarding the testing of animals. Most people are ill informed and base their judgement on general blatant outbursts of people that usually don’t know what they are talking about.

It is first necessary to find out what the animals are actually being tested for. This is in fact quite important because that narrows down the type of tests and also the ultimate effect on the animal. There is, for example, a huge difference in testing animals for cosmetic products and testing animals for AIDS research. The cosmetic product testing is done by companies that in the end want to make a product that will sell, so they test their new product on an animal and observe the results. Based on those results, the company gets permission to either sell the product or terminate its production. In the end, the animal is used for one reason, to make money. This doesn’t better humanity in one way, except giving it another perfume or shampoo (maybe not good examples…).

On the other hand, testing animals in order to further research for cures or diseases is a other whole thing. The test animals are utilized to better humanity, and they fulfill a noble purpose. This type of animal testing should be allowed, especially if it makes a difference in the life of sick people.

As a result, people should research what they actually mean when they say, “animal testing should be banned”. If a couple of animals are sacrificed to save a sick child, in my opinion, I wouldn’t mind being a little unethical.

More posts to follow…

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The pro’s and cons

Animal testing is also known as the use of animals for scientific experiments. Most animal testing is done by universities, pharmaceutical companies, and medical schools. Most animals used for research are breed for the specific purpose of testing and few animals used for testing are captured from the wild.

They use animals for basic research such as behavior studies and genetics while other animal testing is done for the benefit of humans. This research includes drug testing, surgical procedures, medical equipment, and somewhat inconsequential applications like; cosmetics, and other household products.

Here are some pro’s and cons that are mostly mentioned about animal testing:

Pro’s

o Finding drugs and treatments to improve health and medicine. There are already some lifesaving medical breakthroughs that are the result of animal testing, like open heart surgery, organ transplants, effective insulin, vaccines for deadly diseases, …

o It is the most accurate way to learn the effects of substances in a living body

o Ensuring the safety of drugs and other substances

o Human harm is reduced and human lives are saved but also animal lives are saved because of animal testing.

o Many of the medications and procedures that we currently use today wouldn’t exist and the development of future treatments would be extremely limited.

o Many argue that the lives of animals may be worthy of some respect, but the value we give on their lives does not count as much as the value we give to human life.

o Using cell cultures can only reveal side effects on a molecular level and cannot unfortunately, reveal side effects like organ failure, rashes, tumors, or cardiac arrest like animal testing can.

o Using computer models cannot always predict unknown variables that can be discovered with animal testing.

o Animals may not have the exact same philology as humans but animal testing is accurate enough to test whether a substance is even safe enough for human trials.

Cons

– The costs-
The housing of the animals, feeding, carrying, treatments, controlling the environment, is very expensive
Animals used for testing are usually obtained from specific breeding facilities and come with a high price tag.

– Morality –
Animals have the right to live their own life; and we are not allowed to meddle with them just because we can.
It is not worth euthanizing animals for the benefit of mankind.
The animals are mostly euthanized after research or others are wounded and live their life in captivity

– Necessity/validity –
The drugs tested on the animals will never actually seem to have approval and have benefit to humans.
Sometimes it is not important enough to sacrifice an animal, like testing the effect of cosmetics and household products.

– Usefulness –
Animals kept in unnatural conditions ( a lab and not their natural habitat), or animals in pain or distress, are not giving rise to accurate or consistent results. The reaction of the drug in the animal’s body versus the human body is different. Humans are quite different from other animals, so the consequences of animal testing may not be applicable to humans.

Source:
[http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk/using-animals-testing-pros-versus-cons.html]
[http://www.soulcast.com/post/show/83190/Animal-Testing—the-pros-and-cons]
[http://www.edubook.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing/11965/]

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In vivo vs. in vitro

Many people think it is not allowed to sacrifice animals for scientific and medical purposes because they suffer, get hurt and finally are slain. But they may not take into account that many animals are also slaughtered for food industry, which is often considered normal compared to animal testing.
Animals are needed to realize breakthroughs e.g. in the medical field. But nowadays if other viable alternative methods exist, animal testing does not occur.
For instance, stem cells (SC) are a relative new way to perform testing. This will decrease the use of animals in the testing process. Furthermore, SC can show a specific organ’s reaction to a substance. Nevertheless, in vitro techniques won’t show how the entire human system would respond. Therefore, investigations with animals are still needed because animal models are being considered the most similar model to represent the human body. Hence, these in vivo experiments will increase our knowledge and contribute to a better human but also a better animal understanding. Due to this we can discover new medicines and therapies for both.

Source:
[http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk/replacing-animal-tests-with-stem-cells.html]

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