# Animal Testing - Right or Wrong?

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I wonder if any of the people advocating "animal rights" allows mice and rats to live in and freely roam in their houses or whether they set out traps and poisons to kill them. If animals have "rights" in regard to research and can't be killed in the course of research, then how can animal rights advocates allow the killing of mice and rats that set up housekeeping in the homes of people?

To add on to this, one also has to wonder whether or not they pay any attention to all the organisms they squash underfoot, or have no problem using pesticides to kill off insects?

Or if any of them have any pets, as much of their food is derived from animals.

Or if any of them would decide to go without soap (or wear makeup, etc.), as animal fats are often a common product in those items...

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The list goes on and on, and after a while I have deducted that the only criterion for whether or not an animal has any "rights" is:

1) They're mammals

2) They happen to be "cute".

It's kinda hypocritical when you think about it, and is probably the reason why animal rights movements doesn't really gather much support in general.

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im new here and this is my first reply and im think a compromise can be made between the right and wrong of animal testing. I belive only naughty animals should be tested on. Like the dogs that bite and instead of being put to sleepy byes for ever should be tested on to teach them a real lessonxx P.S guys im singlexxx

You can define "naughty" only in regard to pets. And then only in regard to behavior that people define as objectionable. By its own standards, is a dog or a lab rat being "naughty" when it bites someone? No. Often it is only defending itself to a perceived threat or acting like a meat-eater -- which dogs are.

So I appreciate the effort at compromise, but it won't work.

As the regulations stand now, it is illegal to use dogs or cats obtained from a shelter for research. ALL research animals must be purchased from a licensed vendor. So unwanted dogs and cats cannot be used for research, but instead are put to death in a hypobaric chamber -- which means they suffocate to death.

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Hey, they suffocate humanely

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Came back as just occurred to me, and not as proof, but am currently reading The Feeling of What Happens, early into it yet. One of the patients Damasio describes had damage to a facial nerve. As treatment, they lesioned a specific region, don't see it better defined than "a specific sector of the frontal lobe," and the patient afterwards reported that the pain was still there but did not show distress and said he felt fine. Do not know specifically what could or could not be done with that for cross-species interpretations of subjective awareness of pain, but provides an avenue for investigation should think

I should also add I do not draw a line specifically at aware or not but use a loose sliding scale. I will not kill the wasps randomly, and certainly would not for general amusement, but I will kill off the ones in the front when my mother visits as she is allergic. The greater the degree of nervous development the greater the need must be before causing harm as I see it (degree of harm would also, of course, be a factor.) When it comes to pigs and primates, to use the example, I think the similarities sufficient that any experiment which would be considered unethical to perform on humans should be equally considered unethical to carry out on them

obviously right......doing the test for correct purpose is appreciable one..but for unwanted thing is punishable

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Hey, they suffocate humanely

Actually, no. Remember, this is a loss of air pressure -- being put in a vacuum. The animals go thru the torture of decompression, with bursting blood vessels, bulging eyes, etc. All very painful.

Humane suffocation is carbon dioxide inhalation. Put an animal (usually a rat or mouse) in a chamber and then flood it with CO2. The animal peacefully goes to sleep and then stops breathing. And this is one of the approved methods of euthanasia for animal research.

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I think Animal testing is dreadfull! and WELL WRONG! when it comes to testing things for humans!

WHY should they have to suffer? half the tests done arent acurate anyway as their physiology is different!

we have a load of aholes on death row that have been proven guilty and yet they get to die with no data gained, its a total complete and utter waste of potential, I say we use these rapists and child molesters and murderers/terrorists etc... and exploit their physiology, ok, maybe theyre a little less humane than animals with the behaviour that got them there, but the results should be alot more compatible, and who cares if they die??? theyre gunna get fried anyway!?

NO! to animal testing!

Remember the experiments the Nazis did on Jews that were "gunna get fried anyway"? That's where this logic ultimately leads. It also leads to the result Larry Niven discussed in several of his short stories: if medical benefits come from prisoners condemned for death, there won't be enough of these and it becomes very easy to extend the death penalty to more and more crimes to make sure there are enough prisoners for testing. Remember, right now rapists and child molesters cannot get the death penalty. So you are already advocating extending the death penalty to these crimes.

We all have heard, especially in rape cases, where DNA evidence has overturned the conviction of several "rapists". You would have those individuals executed when, in fact, they were innocent. Do you really want that on your conscience?

I think we are all agreed that using animals for painful tests -- such as the Draize test -- for cosmetics is wrong. But medical testing is different. Even if you are using prisoners, most prisoners do not have melanoma, or tuberculosis, or cardiac arrythmias, etc. Would you inject prisoners with melanoma cells? Deliberately infect them with tuberculosis bacteria? If that is the case, how are you different from the Nazis?

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When it comes to pigs and primates, to use the example, I think the similarities sufficient that any experiment which would be considered unethical to perform on humans should be equally considered unethical to carry out on them

Basically, that is the rule applied to all animal research, with a few minor exceptions. If you would give a human a pain reliever, then you must do the same for an animal. If you would perform sterile surgery with anesthesia on a human, then you must perform essentially the same surgery and anesthesia on the animal.

The exceptions come when such pain relief would compromise the data. Remember, the ultimate purpose of the animal research is to obtain data that will ultimately lead to a better understanding of disease or physiology in humans. So, altho we might feel constrained to give a human pain relief (never mind the data), if such pain relief would make it impossible to get the data from the animal, we are using animal as a route to get data we can't get from humans.

One example is neurological data from the brains of rats. The normal methods of euthanasia are either 1) carbon dioxide inhalation or 2) pentobarbital injection. Both are painless but both take a long time and result in the destruction of short term neurotransmitters in the brain. So if you are studying models of Parkinson's or other brain disorders in rats, you are allowed to guillotine the rat. That death is so quick that it preserves the neurotransmitters you need to study.

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Humane suffocation is carbon dioxide inhalation. Put an animal (usually a rat or mouse) in a chamber and then flood it with CO2. The animal peacefully goes to sleep and then stops breathing. And this is one of the approved methods of euthanasia for animal research.

Minor technical note - there is some dispute about whether this process is humane for ectotherms, which can hold their breath for long periods (24+ hours in some turtles) and for which CO2 buildup is a more pressing physiological issue than O2 loss. However, their differing physiology also makes alternative means of anaesthesia and euthanasia possible, some of which are even simpler and more effective (especially those absorbed via the gills and permeable skin of fish and amphibians).

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Actually, no. Remember, this is a loss of air pressure -- being put in a vacuum. The animals go thru the torture of decompression, with bursting blood vessels, bulging eyes, etc. All very painful.

Humane suffocation is carbon dioxide inhalation. Put an animal (usually a rat or mouse) in a chamber and then flood it with CO2. The animal peacefully goes to sleep and then stops breathing. And this is one of the approved methods of euthanasia for animal research.

I thought that CO2 was the indicator that tells us when we're out of breath, and also that excess CO2 can acidify the blood. Why not use something like nitrogen?

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I would agree with Mr. Skeptic, saying that CO2 poisoning is a peaceful death is a bit of a stretch. Although it is more humane than many other possible methods it's definitely not "peaceful".

When I was a young child the age of four I accidentally locked myself in a large ice-chest in my parents garage. It was one of the most horrifying moments of my life and I remember it vividly. After a few seconds I could feel a strong burning sensation in my chest. It is a very unique feeling because you continue to breath but you get no oxygen. I started to scream and luckily my dad was going in and out of the garage and he let me out. I suppose I was only in there about half a minute to a minute, but I would not describe it as a peaceful.

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Toasty, lack of oxygen =/= high CO2. The former is much, much more distressing than the latter.

Mr. Skeptic - nitrogen would be the same as depriving of O2, resulting in the same suffocation sensation. Excess CO2 is somewhat milder. Is it perfect, no, but when you can't use more potent chemicals like anaesthetics, it works quite well.

Personally, I'm a fan of cervical dislocation, but that takes practice and is a lot more time-intensive.

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Toasty, lack of oxygen =/= high CO2. The former is much, much more distressing than the latter.

Mr. Skeptic - nitrogen would be the same as depriving of O2, resulting in the same suffocation sensation. Excess CO2 is somewhat milder. Is it perfect, no, but when you can't use more potent chemicals like anaesthetics, it works quite well.

Personally, I'm a fan of cervical dislocation, but that takes practice and is a lot more time-intensive.

Actually since I was in an air-tight cooler I was breathing the oxygen and exhaling CO2. That leads to high CO2 inside the confined area, does it not?

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Hm, it seems that I overestimated the effects of CO2 acidosis.

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Actually since I was in an air-tight cooler I was breathing the oxygen and exhaling CO2. That leads to high CO2 inside the confined area, does it not?

Yes, but because we're mammals, low oxygen is much more of an immediate problem for us, and much more distressing. We run out of O2 long before we encounter excess CO2.

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I understand now.

So Mokele correct me if I am wrong: I would die from the lack of o2 before I died from the CO2 poisoning? And that if it was CO2 poisoning I would of just passed out. I can understand that. Thank you for clearing that up . In that case, excess CO2 does not seem all that bad for animal testing.

Back to the original post, I think to ask if animal testing is wrong or right is the wrong question. One has to ask, Is animal testing necessary? I believe it is to preserve human life, although it is at the expense of an animal. But we ourselves are humans, so we have somewhat of a bias toward human life you might say.

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I thought that CO2 was the indicator that tells us when we're out of breath, and also that excess CO2 can acidify the blood. Why not use something like nitrogen?

As Mokele pointed out, nitrogen triggers lack of oxygen and suffocation. CO2 instead simply shuts down the breathing. When suffocating, an animal is very agitated, often trying to push against the lid of the container, or bashing against the walls. In CO2 inhalation the animal checks out the container in a normal non-agitated manner, then quietly lays down, appears to lose consciousness, and then stops breathing.

Because of the size of container needed, and thus the amount of CO2 needed, it isn't used on any mammals other than mice and rats. Larger animals typically are injected with pentobarbital.

Mokele, I have never seen cervical dislocation used on any animal other than mice. The technique on a larger animal is difficult, resulting in many failures to dislocate. It is not approved on any animals larger than mice. The technique I have seen most often on mice is to gently hold their tails, place the blunt edge of a scissors behind the neck, press down, and then sharply yank the tail.

Also, ectotherms do not fall under Animal Welfare Act or any of the regulations -- either by FDA or USDA. Nor have I seen any "animal rights" people argue for better treatment of zebrafish, for example.

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So Mokele correct me if I am wrong: I would die from the lack of o2 before I died from the CO2 poisoning?

Absolutely. In the technique we actually flood the chamber with CO2 from a compressed gas cylinder. We replace the air with CO2. You can't do that by breathing in a controlled place.

And it is one approved method for euthanasia.

And that if it was CO2 poisoning I would of just passed out. I can understand that. Thank you for clearing that up . In that case, excess CO2 does not seem all that bad for animal testing.

Back to the original post, I think to ask if animal testing is wrong or right is the wrong question. One has to ask, Is animal testing necessary? I believe it is to preserve human life, although it is at the expense of an animal. But we ourselves are humans, so we have somewhat of a bias toward human life you might say.

I would say it is the "right" question. Something can be necessary but not ethical. Being necessary does not make something "right". The point I have always made is that all animal life preserves itself at the expense of other life. There is no "right" or "wrong" in exploiting and using another species. Ethics that apply within your species do not automatically apply between species.

Notice however that we have chosen to apply some human ethics -- "humane treatment" -- to other species. There are laws on the books against torturing or animals or having animal fights, as Michael Vick found out. We have chosen to treat the experimental animals as humanely as possible while using them for our benefit.

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Mokele, I have never seen cervical dislocation used on any animal other than mice. The technique on a larger animal is difficult, resulting in many failures to dislocate. It is not approved on any animals larger than mice. The technique I have seen most often on mice is to gently hold their tails, place the blunt edge of a scissors behind the neck, press down, and then sharply yank the tail.

I've used it on rats (up to 1 lb in weight) and I've seen it used in rabbits with 100% success, but not in a laboratory (for snake food). The method is pretty much the same for rats (but with a larger blunt object), though rabbits require a much more difficult method (pulling back on the rear legs while holding the neck tightly).

Also, ectotherms do not fall under Animal Welfare Act or any of the regulations -- either by FDA or USDA. Nor have I seen any "animal rights" people argue for better treatment of zebrafish, for example.

IIRC, they fall under the scope of one of the dozen or so oversight agencies that go through IACUC, but I forget which one. At the end of the day, I know you have to fill out IACUC paperwork for every procedure and species.

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I've used it on rats (up to 1 lb in weight) and I've seen it used in rabbits with 100% success, but not in a laboratory (for snake food). The method is pretty much the same for rats (but with a larger blunt object), though rabbits require a much more difficult method (pulling back on the rear legs while holding the neck tightly).

Cervical dislocation is only approved for rodents less than 200 gm. It is not a matter of "success" necessarily, but of "humane".

IIRC, they fall under the scope of one of the dozen or so oversight agencies that go through IACUC, but I forget which one. At the end of the day, I know you have to fill out IACUC paperwork for every procedure and species.

When I served on an IACUC, if you were collecting amphibians and reptiles from the wild then, yes, you had to have IACUC approval. But if you were working with non-endangered amphibian or reptile species purchased from a legal vendor, then no. The situation may have changed over the past 13 years. The USDA has a website on care of fish, amphibians, and reptiles in research -- http://awic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=3&tax_level=3&tax_subject=169&topic_id=1078&level3_id=5346&level4_id=0&level5_id=0 -- but it is unclear whether there are any regulations involved.

Also remember that every institution gets to set many of its own IACUC policies. Therefore it may be your institution that requires that any research on any species must go thru the IACUC. That would be your local IACUC policy, but not something mandated by the Animal Welfare Act or specific agencies.

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Cervical dislocation is only approved for rodents less than 200 gm. It is not a matter of "success" necessarily, but of "humane".

If CD is humane for any rodent, why wouldn't it be for all of them unless it were an issue of being able to do it properly (and possibly without injury to the human handler)? I'd suspect difficulty simply from personal experience.

Anyhow, as I said, this wasn't in a laboratory setting, and CD is pretty humane compared to python constriction (and *very* humane compared to what large monitor lizards do to their prey).

When I served on an IACUC, if you were collecting amphibians and reptiles from the wild then, yes, you had to have IACUC approval. But if you were working with non-endangered amphibian or reptile species purchased from a legal vendor, then no. The situation may have changed over the past 13 years. The USDA has a website on care of fish, amphibians, and reptiles in research -- http://awic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display...=0&level5_id=0 -- but it is unclear whether there are any regulations involved.

I'm pretty sure it's the USDA that regulates them, though I don't know when it started - I've only had to deal with them for 6 years or so. I poked around the website and couldn't find much. I do know that they're now regulated - I've got to go to training, we've got IACUC numbers on all the cages (even captive-bred herps and fish). I even remember my MS adviser complaining because he had to fill out paperwork in order to feed goldfish to the lungfish.

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If CD is humane for any rodent,

It is not human for "any rodent". Only for rodents under 200 gm.

why wouldn't it be for all of them unless it were an issue of being able to do it properly (and possibly without injury to the human handler)? I'd suspect difficulty simply from personal experience.

I suspect that, as size increases, it becomes difficult to break the neck "instantly".

Anyhow, as I said, this wasn't in a laboratory setting, and CD is pretty humane compared to python constriction (and *very* humane compared to what large monitor lizards do to their prey).

No argument there. It is even more humane than hypobaric chambers used to kill unclaimed dogs and cats.

I'm pretty sure it's the USDA that regulates them, though I don't know when it started - I've only had to deal with them for 6 years or so. I poked around the website and couldn't find much. I do know that they're now regulated - I've got to go to training, we've got IACUC numbers on all the cages (even captive-bred herps and fish).

I found sites where herpetologists were recommending such training and supervision. But I have yet to find where USDA actually regulates captive-bred herps and fish. They do regulate catching them in the wild.

I have no doubt that your IACUC requires this. However, it may well be that there is no "regulation" as such, but a general acceptance among IACUCs that it is a good idea to supervise ectoderms and bring them under the IACUC umbrella. As I say, scientific societies that deal with ectoderms have websites that recommend this.

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Personally, I do not believe that animal testing is so awful. Alright, it sucks to be the animal, but it's far better that a rat dies than a human. After all, wouldn't you rather use something knowing that it's been tested, and that it's been proven, though trial and error, to be more safe?

I say that animal testing is the lesser of two evils.

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animals provide important in vivo models. cannot just test drugs with cancer cell lines...well, i guess you can, but usually that is not too compelling on its own.

Not that animal models dont have their own problems. Sometimes LD50 in mice does not always translate to drug cytotoxicity in humans and genetic differences among individuals accounting for differences in how a drug is metabolized compound this problem.

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Safer and more accurate alternatives to animal testing have been developed, but are not being used. It is not scientifically feasible to assume that animals will have the same reactions to drugs and cosmetics as humans. In addition, animal testing is unethical. Reading descriptions of what takes place during animal testing (for example: reading about how chemicals are dripped into rabbit’s eyes) is horrifying. That is why it is necessary to start putting these alternatives into action. Having “organs on chips,” a method developed at Harvard University, is one of the primary alternatives to animal testing. These chips contain human cells and show the development of reactions to drugs and cosmetics as they pertain to humans. This method will give much more accurate results and is more ethical than animal testing. Another method that has been developed is using human blood cells. This method is specifically for testing whether or not drugs will cause humans to develop a fever. Although this method does not give as wide of range of results as the “organs on a chip” method, it is extremely accurate in testing a major side effect. Finally, computer simulations are also a safe alternative. This method not only shows the side effects of drugs, but it also breaks down how the human develops the side effect, allowing the scientists to see the cause of the reaction and easily make an adjustment. These are three of the many alternatives to animal testing that need to be implemented into drug and cosmetic testing.

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Could you perhaps elaborate on that first sentence? We certainly have some methods of in vitro testing that have replaced assays that may have otherwise been performed in vivo, but AFAIK we currently have nothing that can replace animal models entirely. Computer modeling can only go so far and it is not a viable replacement on the whole. Organs on chips is a technology still in development and while that is still the case, it cannot replace animal testing either.

Edit: actually, this is not the thread I thought it was. I know for sure the ethics argument has been talked about in this thread: http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/82211-experiments-on-animals-for-medical-research/

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Safer and more accurate alternatives to animal testing have been developed, but are not being used. It is not scientifically feasible to assume that animals will have the same reactions to drugs and cosmetics as humans. In addition, animal testing is unethical. Reading descriptions of what takes place during animal testing (for example: reading about how chemicals are dripped into rabbit’s eyes) is horrifying. That is why it is necessary to start putting these alternatives into action. Having “organs on chips,” a method developed at Harvard University, is one of the primary alternatives to animal testing. These chips contain human cells and show the development of reactions to drugs and cosmetics as they pertain to humans. This method will give much more accurate results and is more ethical than animal testing. Another method that has been developed is using human blood cells. This method is specifically for testing whether or not drugs will cause humans to develop a fever. Although this method does not give as wide of range of results as the “organs on a chip” method, it is extremely accurate in testing a major side effect. Finally, computer simulations are also a safe alternative. This method not only shows the side effects of drugs, but it also breaks down how the human develops the side effect, allowing the scientists to see the cause of the reaction and easily make an adjustment. These are three of the many alternatives to animal testing that need to be implemented into drug and cosmetic testing.

I agree. And why bother using animals to test COSMETICS? If it was a drug that could save lives then it might be accepted. And the "organs on chips" are most likely better than testing on an animal because the chips replicate a human's organs and the effects of the drug than what might happen with a rabbit. The rabbit may die, but it turns out that drug could have saved human lives.

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I agree. And why bother using animals to test COSMETICS? If it was a drug that could save lives then it might be accepted. And the "organs on chips" are most likely better than testing on an animal because the chips replicate a human's organs and the effects of the drug than what might happen with a rabbit. The rabbit may die, but it turns out that drug could have saved human lives.

Cosmetics - I kinda agree but I know people will wear them and thus they need to be tested properly. But your assertion that organs on chips are better than in vivo testing is just plain wrong. And medical researchers don't just give the local bunnies a prescription and tell them to pop into the pharmacist on the way home - they test in very specific models that are known to reproduce (to a known extent) effects in animals that are desirable in humans.

The argument against animal testing would advance at a much greater rate if those proposing it actually knew the science. But if they know the science then they tend to realise that animal testing is essential and don't make the argument in the first place

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But if they know the science then they tend to realise that animal testing is essential and don't make the argument in the first place

Animal testing is done because humans see themselves as more important than other species. Everything we use non-human animal species for we only do because we see ourselves as more important than them. It's nothing but egotistical garbage. And yes, I'm a hypocrite, I realize that all too well

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