A key focus of my blog is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In the biological sciences, animal models are frequently used to answer human health-related questions in numerous areas. Examples are Pharmacology, Toxicology and Virology. Some sectors are working to eliminate this usage altogether with in vitro and in silico methods, but until then, they are our most reliable scientific models. The following contributed post is entitled, The Real Reasons Animals Are Used For Testing.
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Animal testing is something which is a controversial subject. It has been long used to help companies test things such as medicine and cosmetics as well as food stuffs, and many of the animals who are tested on will go on to lead a healthy life.
Of course, there is a double edge to this sword, and when testing failed treatments and cosmetics on animals it can have detrimental consequences to all. Whether you are for or against animal testing in our world, we have to take a look at the uses it has in the world we live in.
If you have been often unsure about animal testing and what it is used for, these are some of the top reason why animals have been used to test products.
To advance understanding
Science provides the building blocks of the world and when we aim to discover and understand the world, science is key. It is a fact that experimentation allows us to understand science and the world, and in biology, animal testing is something that has allowed us to understand a myriad of things in the past. For example, with genetic testing using samples from different creatures, we have been able to discover the genomes of all living things, and create a roadmap of evolution. We have been able to use Jellyfish DNA to explore the secret of life, as well as using other clever biological mechanisms to heal and innovate. The reason we often test on animals such as mice and rabbits is that they have similar genomes to us, and their body anatomy is similar enough for us to utilise to learn from. Transgenic mice and other specially bred animals are at the forefront of scientific research.
To study disease
Disease is a scary thing, and all living creatures can fall privy to microorganisms and their dangers. Humans and animals share a lot of common illnesses, and as such it is common for animals to be used to study a disease and its symptoms, as well as to discover and test treatments to combat it. For example, rabbits suffer from atherosclerosis as we do, and testing of the disease has allowed humans to make huge advances in treatment. Using an infected animal as a model, we can test and study how a disease takes hold, and what mechanisms happen in the body. This allows us to develop treatments to save animals and humans alike.
To develop and test treatment
As we said above, one of the most prevalent uses for animals in the lab is to allow us to test treatments. By inducing an animal with a specific illness, we can begin to develop and test treatments to see if they have a positive effect. This is something which has always been incredibly important for medicine and it has had a huge impact on the ability we have to treat minor and major illness. Without the efforts of scientists in this way, we would not have treatments for Parkinson’s, Cancer, or Emphysema.