Sunday, March 7, 2010

Animal Testing

I have not given much thought to animal research or animal experimentation before. However, my simplest and perhaps ignorant opinion about the righteousness of animal research was that as long as it can benefit large number of human beings, it should be worth it to perform such experimentation. Few days ago, this perhaps time-worn debate about animal research was forming a heated discussion in the science blogosphere. I happened to read couple of them and came to realize that there are several dimensions to this issue. But even after reading those debates, my opinion is that animal experimentation should not be perished just because it is considered to be unethical and brutal. There is a law that prohibits such unnecessary abuse in animal experimentation. And I don’t believe that virtual testing is going to be as convincing as a controlled experiments done on living organism before it actually gets applied for human being’s medical care. There was an argument about the value of life between an ape caged for research experiments versus a criminal receiving a rather humane treatment in prison cell. Although I must agree with the author’s point of view about the unfairness of such innocent animal receiving a heart-breaking treatment compared to a treatment an egregious criminal receives in a cell, I don’t think the comparison serves the purpose of the argument correctly. Strictly speaking, the animal may receive some extent of physical and mental pain, but they serve a greater cause should the experiment be regulated to avoid the most intense pain. Moreover, I don’t think a human life should be compared to that of an animal. I do believe animal experiments should be done under regulation so as to avoid giving the animal unnecessary pain and stress. However, I have to agree that animal experimentation should continue if it serves the purpose of experiment correctly. The experiment should have a valid reason for testing the animals such as testing a drug before applying to human beings. To argue that virtual simulation can substitute all the experiment is rather rash. Even with animal testing, we still cannot be sure that the drug or the surgical procedure is safe enough for human beings. The complex system of living organism is something that scientist must continuously study. And should it ask for the help of animals, we will have to include them as part of the experimentation with respect for they are also “living” lives.

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