The 20th century has had more medical breakthroughs than any other hundred years in history. But there is a price. No significant discovery in this time has occurred without the use of animals in biological research experiments. Heart surgery, polio, osteoporosis, diabetes, AIDS, and cancer have all had significant breakthroughs thanks to these experiments(McCarty 15).
The use of animals in today’s world is highly controversial. Our society eats animals and their products, wears them, uses them for entertainment, and kills some species, such as rats and mice for being a nuisance. In a society which uses animals in all these different ways, it is ethical to use animals in medical research. Many medical advances rely heavily upon animal work such as the development of insulin for people with diabetes, transplants, blood transfusions, anesthetics and vaccines.
Although all modern medicine rests in part on animal studies, its major work is on cell and tissue culture, computer models, studies of healthy human volunteers, hospital patients in clinical trials, and the analysis of large populations. Only 2-3% of medical charity research funds are spent on animals, their food, care and welfare, and the vets and technicians to look after them(McCarty 17). Even though the direct cost of the animals is small, around 20% of all projects will involve an element of animal studies in amongst the other research techniques. When animals are used in research there are strict regulations to ensure a minimum of pain and suffering for the subjects(UNMC). Ultimately our overall understanding of diseases rests heavily upon studies of living systems, including animals. In the fight to save human lives, animals are vital.
The Hot Zone reveals that animal research inadvertently led to...