Animal testing has been in practice since decades. Many believe that it is a necessary evil. But one must understand that it is evil, not necessary. Records till date have proven that more than 80% of medicines and drugs that were tried and tested on animals have failed to cure human health problems.
The Tradition of Animal Testing
Kelly Overton, the Director of People Protecting Animals and Their Habitats in Cambridge, had quoted that testing proved penicillin deadly, strychnine safe and aspirin dangerous. Every single day, numerous drugs and chemicals are tested on animals to check their effectiveness.
Most of the time, they fail to give accurate results because animal physiology and human physiology react in drastically different manners. One can never predict how an animal and a human would react to a similar situation. There are a couple of similarities between them, it doesn't mean that a chemical will react in the same manner when tried on both.
Many alternatives were suggested to put this practice to a stop. But it took time and change in the attitudes of people to adopt those measures. Even today, there are few research labs which use the alternative ways. Millions of dollars are spent each year to support animal testing. And millions of animals die each year due to harmful testing done on them.
Scientific Alternatives to Stop Experimenting on Animals
Regardless of one's own individual feelings towards animals, one must notice that every year, millions of dollars are spent on cheap quality products, which are not really helpful but were tried on animals causing them pain and distress. As technology has advanced, new ways to stop animal experimentation have come into the picture.
The 3 R's by Russel and Burch are a lighting source to put an end to this tradition. The 3 R's stand for Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. Russel and Burch suggested these methods in the year 1959, and still there are debates going on whether or not to accept them.
There are some research labs which have adopted these measures after a lot of delay, but have found more accurate and effective results. Replacement use non-animal methods over animal methods, Reduction use less number of animals or testing on fewer number of animals, and Refinement is less pain and distress caused to animals during the entire process.
These days, cultured cells have been used to develop monoclonal antibodies, which are a good replacement to animals. All the experiments can be carried out on these antibodies to gain effective results. On the other hand, many cosmetologists heaved a sigh of relief when their question as to how to stop animal testing for cosmetics was answered.
Cell tissues are used to create a model of human skin, and various cosmetics can be tried and tested on this model. Also, a protein membrane is used as a synthetic replacement to try different products. Human epidermal keratinocytes are cultured to mimic the epidermis, and various skin tests can be conducted on it.
Experiments to test rashes, burns, and inflammations can be carried out smoothly with this procedure. This test came into existence to stop the use of rabbits for similar purposes.
Human cells are used to create a model of a human immune system, and various vaccines are tried and tested to record their effectiveness. Today, even computer models have been put to use to model human metabolism, and hence many heart related risks can be calculated using the same.
A Little Effort from Your Side
On a personal front, you as an individual can surely contribute your bit to stop this cruelty towards animals. You can stop buying products which are manufactured by companies that practice animal testing. As a symbol of your opposition, you can write a protest letter to these companies. You never know, one fine day, they will realize what they are doing.
On the other hand, you can write support letters to those companies who use alternative ways to test their products. That will be a token of appreciation and support towards them. Also, you can become a member of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to support their drive against animal testing.
Once you are a member, you can register to become an undercover investigator, to find and report places and institutions where testing on animals is still being practiced. In this way, you can, with your little efforts, build up a happy place for animals to live in.
Animals are living beings, and we must not forget that they experience the same degree of pain as humans, when tortured or harassed on a daily basis. Animals are speechless creatures and one must not take advantage of this fact. They have equal right to live safe and happily!