Tatum Szymczak

Tatum Szymczak :

It is a dark stormy night when suddenly the phone rings. I casually answer the telephone. It is my older sister informing me that our mother is in the hospital. She is going to need an emergency brain transplant. It takes me just a moment to drop everything I am doing and rush to the hospital. When I arrive I see my father and sister in the waiting room casually enjoying their conversation. I am amazed they could have such high spirits at such a time. As I begin to confront them on this, they inform me that this is merely a routine brain transplant. They reinforce that very few die from the actual transplant. I become immediately relieved as a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Animal testing is an issue in today's society that, whether anyone realizes it, does affect each of us…Such as transplants, vaccines and medicine. Nearly each and every one of us today has received vaccine shots. We have all used medications. We have all heard of transplant technology. This above example I have used is farfetched. Brain transplants are not an everyday occurrence. They are not yet, at least. However, kidney and heart transplants are beginning to become a more and more common every day. Who knows what is possible with the proper research.

Today there are great deals of people who oppose animal testing in laboratory research. This is limiting our medical capabilities. Could we be holding ourselves back from medical breakthroughs such as a cure for cancer or AIDS? Animal testing is already controlled to a great extent. Many cats and dogs are killed annually by shelters and pounds. Animal testing is not as cruel as it is portrayed and is an essential to reaching medical breakthroughs.

Special controls on laboratory animals have been in place since 1876. These have been revised in 1986. These laws are now more commonly known as the revised Animals Act of 1986. This law allows for scientist to perform testing while also safe guarding the animals. Prior to any testing a cost benefit analysis must be applied. In this analysis they review the potential research benefits with the potential for animal suffering. All registered facilities are also required to establish an Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that reviews and approves procedures involving animals before they take place. This organization also inspects facilities semiannually for compliance with the AWA. At least one member of the committee must be a veterinarian. At least one member must be a public member, not affiliated with the institution, who represents the general community interest in the care and treatment of the animals. Research facilities must undergo many regulations to ensure animal safety. These regulations are being met on a monthly basis.

There are approximately 56-100 million cats and 54 million dogs in the United States. It is estimated that 2,000 cats and 3,500 dogs are born every hour. There are an estimated 15 million dogs and cats that are put to death in pounds and shelters each year. These cats and dogs are put to their death for the lone reason that the pounds and shelters are overcrowded. Approximately 17-22 million animals are used in research laboratory's each year. That is just about 5 million more animals put to death in labs than are put to death in shelters. Maybe these animal rights activist should be protesting the pounds. Tested animals are at least being put to death for a reasonable purpose. A purpose which serves animals and humans both better than making room for the others. The replacing animals will eventually end up on the other side of the fence anyway. It seems like an endless circle of death. Some of the lab cats and dogs are from pounds and shelters anyway. But this amount is far too few. Many people who are against animal testing do not realize that only 17-22 million animals are used for lab research annually. But there are approximately 5 billion animals consumed for food annually. Maybe these are the same people who wear leather and fur coats. Animal testing has contributed a great deal to both animals and humans. Albert Sabin, the developer of oral polio vaccine stated: "Without the use of animals and human beings, it would have been impossible to acquire the important knowledge needed to prevent much suffering and premature death not only among humans, but also among animals."

Experimentation on animals was essential to the development of Dr. Sabin's oral polio vaccine which has virtually eradicated poliomyelitis in the Western Hemisphere, saved over 500,000 lives, and millions from the debilitating effects of polio. The transplantation of major organs, and many other surgical techniques, depends on the ability to join blood vessels. An effective method was developed by Alexis Carrel using cats and dogs and for this he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1912. Today transplants are far more common than in his day. Even on the back of one's driver’s license there is an organ donor program portion to fill out. Which means one can give their organs to a hospital for transplant. Animal testing is a highly debatable issue in today's society. There are many people who are against animal testing, but actually have no knowledge of the subject. I was against animal testing prior to researching this subject. Hopefully with a bit of knowledge on the subject one can decide for themselves. Who knows, maybe someday with the help of animals we can eradicate all disease. Which would give us no further reason to perform this animal testing? We have held ourselves back for long enough. It is now time to move forward.

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