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Introduction

Millions of
animals are utilized for commercial and scientific experiments across the world
each year. Specifically, animals are exploited to create new medical therapies,
recognize the toxicity of drugs, and verify the wellbeing of health care products
that are meant to only benefit us humans. Research on animals is still on the
rise to keep up with rapid pace of medical and technological advancement despite
the ongoing debates that have been raised concerning the ethical uses of
animals in experiments (Marshall and
Rowan, 2017, p. 12). The majority of animals used in biomedical studies act as
models for human illnesses although they have been utilized in addiction and
behavioural testing. Additionally, animals are used in product
development, agricultural, space, military, and science education. The
proponents of animal research state that such experiments have enabled the
discovery of several life-saving medications for both animals and humans; hence,
there can be no other alternative technique for studying a complete living
thing (Davies 2015, p.

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19). On the other
hand, the arguments against animal experimentation use is that it is inhumane
and cruel thus alternatives methods that do not hurt the animal subjects have
been proposed.

 

The major reason why
animals are so important in experimentation includes advancing scientific
understanding, protecting the safety of the environment, people and animals,
testing and developing remedies as well as models for studying ailments. The
majority of countries and international organizations have set up regulations which
control the way in which animals are used in experiments. For instance, animal welfare act (AWA) was enacted to control
the usage of animals in the USA by defining the living things that can be
utilized for studies (Scanarotti
et al., 2017, p. 9). Although the laws
regulate the transportation and housing of animals for testing, they do not
standardize the experiments leading to the misuse and killing of the animals. To
avoid mistreatment of animal subjects, scientists have validated and developed
alternative techniques that have shown to be more effective and safer for the
animals used in experiments while still getting the needed results.

 

Benefits of Non-animal Testing

The use of
non-animal testing demonstrates some of the advantages when compared to the
previous methods of using creatures in experiments. Initially, the alternative
scientific assessments are more reliable than animal research.For instance, the
study on hamsters, monkeys, baboons, guinea pigs and rats did not show any
connection between cancer and glass fibres although human studies illustrated
the correlation. Also, the EpiDerm obtained from individual membrane cells was precise
in recognizing skin irritation than  the
use of creatures in similar study (Bailey et al.,
2014, p. 21). Secondly, the
use of human tissues to test is more effective than animal experiments. The
study of poisonous gas (lethal 50) make animals to eat lethal and poisonous
substance to the extent where half of the creatures die and those that are left
are killed (Garattini and
Grignaschi, 2017, p. 13). However, similar
research using donated human tissue has shown to be accurate since the
experiment is able to target the effect of the toxin on particular organs.

 

Thirdly, the use
of substitute methods is cost-effective, expedient and practical when compared
to animal tests. The use of synthetic skin is able to offer the chemical
corrosivity determination in less than three minutes although creature testing
would take about four weeks. Also, the DakDak technique used to measure the accuracy
of sunscreens generate report in days but it takes months for animal models(Foley, 2014, p.

27). Moreover, the
traditional examination of chemicals using animals may last for five years per
substance, and cost million dollars although alternative methods can analyse
hundreds of chemicals within a week for the same cost. Lastly, cruelty-free
substances are environmentally friendly.In toxicity studies, scientist breed,
dispose and test millions of creatures as dangerous or pathogenic garbage. Therefore,
cruelty-free studyingproducefewer wastes, and is less damaging to the
surrounding.

 

Alternatives to Animal Testing

Some of the
current alternative methods include stem cell and genetic assessment, in vitro
and human cell models, computer simulations and models, microdosing and
non-invasive imaging.

 

In Vitro Testing

In vitro study is
a method of carrying out a particular procedure in a managed environment but
outside the living organism. Several experiments are conducted on cells of an
organism through the artificial culture media. Havard’s Wyss institution has
established the organs-on-chips that have human cells developed in the
state-of-the-art system to represent the function and structure of organ
systems and tissues(Goh et al., 2015,
p. 9). The cells can be
utilized as a substitute of animals in medicine testing, sickness study, and
toxicity examination. Moreover, the discovery has proved to replicate diseases,
medicine reaction, and human physiology more accurately than basic animal
experiments. Some of the organizations including the HuRel company have turned
them into goods that can be used as a substitute for animals (Hartung, 2016, p.

17).

 

Furthermore, an
assortment of tissue models and cell-based tests can be utilized to evaluate
chemical, consumer products, cosmetics and safety of drugs. Cee Tox invented
the scheme to examine how a substance can cause membrane sensitivity in human
beings which entails the MatTek’s EpiDerm tissue replica. The model is
3-dimensional and human being cell-derived that duplicates major traits of the
standard human skin(Bergeson, 2016,
p. 10).The product can
replace the use of mice or guinea pigs that have been injected or applied a
substance to their skin with the aim of determining the allergic reaction. The
MatTek’s EpiDerm is used to substitute rabbits in a prolonged and painful
experiments used to assess the ability of a chemical to irritate or corrode the
skin. Furthermore, the EU reference library researchers have created five
distinct studies that utilize human serum to notice pollutants in drugs with
the potential dangerous fever outcome when in the body(Ohl and Meijboom,
2015, p. 17).

 

Computer Modelling(In
silico)

The in silico
technique refers to the testing that entails a computer or use of desktop
simulation in the research. Various methods of computer modelling include
molecular reproduction, complete cell simulations, and bacterial sequencing
techniques. Scientists have created a broad range of complicated CPU model that
activate human being biology and sequence of illnesses(Taylor et al.,
2014, p. 11).The computers are
used to predict and visualize human reaction to a particular substance or drug.

The common way the in silico techniques are involved in the research include
prediction models, modelling tools, power analysis and planning experiments as
well expert systems. Further, the methods are used to evaluate skin metabolism
and reaction to specific chemical using the skin proteins. The skin interaction
with chemical is activated to determining the association between the
structure, toxicity and metabolism (Seidle T, 2013,
p. 8).The in silico
research offers enormous advantages for refining, replacing and reducing animal
testing together with translating the outcomes of animal research into people.

 

The computer
models are able to indicate the feedback to new medicines in the human body
hence replacing the exploitation of creatures in drug tests and an investigative
study. The quantitative structure-activity relationships are compute founded
methods that substitute animal making creating sophisticated estimates of
substance’s toxicity based on its resemblance to the present chemical and human
biology knowledge(Nicolas et al.,
2015, p. 14).By coupling modelling
to sensing and imaging, one animal can be followed hence reducing the killed
figures of creatures used research. There are computer models of lungs, skin,
kidneys, heart, musculoskeletal and digestive system which are utilized to
carry out virtual studies based on the mathematical data and existing
information.

 

Human Volunteer
and Microdosing

Rapid inventions
in technology have permitted the development of complex recording and scanning
techniques which can be utilized without harm by human volunteers. Microdosing
refers to the method used in assessing the trait of medicines in people via the
administration of low doses that cannot cause a lethal effect but is capable of
triggering a cellular reaction(Ramirez et al.,
2015, p. 13).The human
volunteer is an alternative that entails the use of people in scientific
studies but they have to sign up without being forced. Microdosing can offer fundamental
facts on the wellbeing of investigational substances. Volunteers are given
small and instant drug dose while classy imaging methods are utilized to
monitor how the medicine behaves in the body. The application of microdosing
replaces particular examination on creatures as well as screening out drug
compounds that cannot function in humans(Franklin, 2016,
p. 22).

 

Highly developed
mental recording and imaging methods including functional magnetic resonance
imaging with human volunteers are used to substitute archaic studies where
monkeys, cats, and rats have their brains destroyed. The current technique
permits the human brain to be studied safely while researchers can reversibly
and temporarily induce brain malady using the transcranial magnetic stimulation(Waxenecker and
Binder, 2017, p. 11).Human tissues aregatheredvia
surgery such as transplant, aesthetic operation and biopsies for investigation.

Furthermore, human cells and organs can be utilized after a person dies.The
post-mortem brain parts have offered significant facts of understanding brain
regeneration as well as the impact of Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis
ailments(Flory et al.,
2015, p. 12). Less high-tech
experiments for pain, drug addiction and nutrition can be conducted on
consenting people in the interests of developing medical science rather than
using animal tests. Human tissues are can be used in various ways within a
medical lab thus making it relevant than animal models. The advantage of
microdosing is that it allows the observation of how substance or medicine
works with fewer chances of side effects.Also, the technique lowers the
discrepancy between humans and animal reaction to a specific drug.

 

Human-patient Simulators

Human patient simulators
refer to infant and life-size manikins that replicate aspects of human
physiology including pulse, heartbeat, and respiration. Also, simulators are
computer and mechanical simulators that mimic human outlook and depict disease
and symptom processes as they manifest in the actual patient.(Schultz et al.,
2016, p. 9)The simulators are
integrated with computer software that enables to illustrate abnormal and
normal bodily reactions to therapeutic interventions and conditions. The blood
vessels, gastrointestinal tract, heart and lungs are made to respond to all
human interventions. The major purpose of the human patient simulators is
replacing animals in teaching pharmacology and physiology. The most high-tech
simulators imitate injuries and illnesses, and offer appropriate biological
reaction to drug administration and medical interventions. More than 90% of
medical schools in the United States have replaced the use of animals in the
lab during medical training with the simulators since they are much better than
killing creatures(Moran et al.,
2016, p. 13).

To facilitate
effective learning, the simulators are developed based on particular clinical
setting or organ system. Some examples of the human patient simulator include
Harvey, emergency care, Pelvic ExamSim, Megacod Kelly, VitalSim and adult
SimMan(Rychert and
Wilkins, 2015, p. 16).Additionally, the
models offer more experiential learning chances than animal tests.For instance,
the emergency room simulator give right anatomical features that  permit bodily illustration of different medical
signs such as blinking eyes, seizures, breathing and bleeding. The human
physiology at the simulator offers accurate reaction to fluid administration,
defibrillation, oxygen management and drug administration. For advanced medical
learning, TraumaMan simulator that replicate bleeding, breathing and realistic
layers of internal organs, ribs and skin is utilized to teach surgical
procedures better than the use of live dogs, goats, and pigs(Klein and Seeley,
2015, p. 19).

 

Stem Cell and
Genetic Testing

The embryonic stem
cells can grow and divide within a petri dish into different cells that create
human organs. The in vitro version of human tissues is superior to dishes of a
single cell type to evaluate the toxicological impact of the drug as well as
providing the human impact profile. Moreover, the stem cells are used in drug
discovery since the ailment genes are inserted into the stem cells which are
then activated to differentiate into human tissues that can be utilized to
screen a medicine(Balls, 2014, p.

12).Presently, the
effective development of stem cell an outside model for testing toxicity is in
human heart tissue. Several medicines have been banned from the market due
effects of cardiac toxicity. One of the examples is terfenadine that caused 100
deaths in America due to adverse cardiac effects(Huffington, 2016,
p. 17). Stem cells from
different organs are developed to help experiments target a specific part of
the body which is not possible in animal testing. Additionally, genetic testing
entails the identification of changes in protein, genes or chromosomes with the
aim of confirming or ruling out a condition. Through hereditary testing, human
volunteers can be used to confirm any heritable disorder instead of using
animals.

 

Non-invasive
Imaging Techniques

The non-invasive
methods create body images for clinical use or medical science. Some of the
medical procedures include an examination of the disease, diagnosis or
approaches seeking to reveal a condition. The invention includes ultrasound,
nuclear imaging, MRI and CT scans as well as other techniques that are able to
show the image of inner organs or parts that cannot be seen by the naked eyes(Kojima, 2015, p.

8). The imaging has been used in
neuroscience and is effective because of its precision. Currently, the
technique is replacing animal models particularly in nursing and medical
education.

 

Issues Associated with Animal Testing

The use of animal testing
is associated with various social, legal and ethical issues. Animal studies
prolong the suffering of the population since it takes a long time for helpful
cures to be determined. Most of the resources are wasted including time and
money because some of the experiments fail to be successful. More than four
million animal studies are done annually in United Kingdom for biomedical
research which leads to the violation of animal rights making the possible
benefits irrelevant(Bonamin et al.,
2015, p. 11).

 

Animal testing is
inhumane and cruel since the majority of creatures in a research are subjected
to forced inhalation, feeding, extended physical restraint, water and food
deprivation, burns and other wounds. The Draize eye study utilized by cosmetic
corporations to assess pain due to soap and other goods entails incapacitation
of rabbits with eyes open for several days for the substance exposure (Vinardell, 2015,
p. 8). The cellular,
metabolic and anatomic dissimilarities between human beings and animals making them
poor models for people (Brooker, 2014, p.

15).

 

Some of the
medicines that pass animal experiments are not necessarily safe for people to
use. The 1950s thalidomide which is a sleeping pill caused severe deformities
among 10000 babies despite being analyzed on animals before commercial release(Ostroumov, 2016,
p. 11). The later tests
on pregnant guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, rats, and mice did not cause birth
defect unless it was given in high doses. Also, the animal test on the
arthritis medicine Vioxx demonstrated to have a protective impact on the mice’s
heart although it causes 2700 cardiac deaths and heart attacks before being
banned from the market(Millot et al.,
2014, p. 17).

 

Besides, animal
tests can mislead scientist into ignoring potential treatments and cures. Some
of the harmful or ineffective chemicals to animals are valuable when utilized
by people. For instance, aspirin is dangerous to some species although it is
beneficial to humans. Moreover, the intravenous administration of vitamin C
helps in curing sepsis in persons but has no effect on mice(Agell et al.,
2015, p. 12).Other example is
tacrolimus which is used to decrease the chances of organ transplant rejection
but it was almost cancelled due to animal test results. Therefore, animal
experiments might have misled the identification of important drugs since anything
that cause harm to some species is considered hazardous.

 

Further, more than
95 percent of animals involved in research are not secured by the animal
welfare act. The law does not cover birds, fish, mice and rats which accounts
95 % of all creatures used in scientific studies. The AWA protected only 820812
animals utilized for the experiment in 2016 thus leaving more than 25 million
others uncovered(Foley, 2014, p.

19). The unprotected animals
are abused and misused without the intervention of the AWA. Additionally,
research has found serious flaws in most of animal experiments using primates
and rodents that are publicly financed by the UK and US. About 87 percent of
the studies did not randomize the assortment of animals while only 59% stated
the objective and hypothesis. Socially, religious traditions require people to
be merciful to all creatures thus experimenting on them causes harm. For
instance, the Bible, Buddhism and Hinduism doctrines teach individuals not to
harm living things(Seidle, 2013, p.

16).

 

Example of Research

One of the researches
that would limit the utility of the scientific result without the animal models
is the discovery new drugs. For instance, insulin would not have been
recognized if the dog pancreases were not removed. In 1921, Frederick Banting
together with medical scholar Charles Best discovered hormone insulin from the
pancreatic extracts of the dogs(Bergeson, 2016,
p. 23).The researchers
injected insulin into one of the dogs and noticed that it decreased blood sugar
levels to ordinary. To perfect the study, the grinded and filtered dogs surgically
tied pancreas and isolated isletin. The pair developed insulin for treating
diabetes which helped to save millions of lives.

 

Conclusion

Conclusively,
animal testing has played part in the discovery of several life-saving
treatments and cures. The major reason for using animals in scientific
experiments is to advance knowledge as well as determining new drugs and
effects of products before releasing to the market. The use of animal testing
has been existing since the ancient times although industrialization and
technology have increased the number of creatures killed or utilized every
year. As a result of technology advancements, alternatives for animal studies
have been introduced which include non-invasive imaging, computer simulators,
in vitro, stem cells, microdosing and virtual trials techniques. The major
advantages of substitute methods include cost-effectiveness, reliability,
accuracy and environmental friendly. Animal testing is accompanied by different
social, ethical and legal issues since creatures are misused and killed. Also,
some of the animal research can mislead scientists because people are different
from animals. Therefore, future experiments should focus on using modern
methods rather than relying on animal testing.

 

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