Animals And Their Rights!! Essay, Research Paper
What is animal experimentation?
Scientific researchers use animal experimentation for biomedical and veterinary research to enhance human health and possibly the welfare of other animals. They claim that successful medical treatments including antibiotics, vaccines and other drugs have been developed with the aid of animal experiments, and such research a crucial means of investigation of and the development of treatments for serious diseases. Some organisations are completely opposed to all animal experimentation, arguing that medical advances do not justify it. It is important that the effects of drugs can assessed before clinical trials on humans begins. Provided that it is carefully controlled, I do think animal experiments for medical research are justified, as long as it is really necessary and no other type of research is possible.
An area that I do strongly disagree with is the use of animals for testing toxicity of substances, such as cosmetics and shampoo. Public opinion is against this type of testing as it is seen as cruel and unnecessary, and many products are now sold as ?not tested on animals?. The Body Shop, a retailer of beauty products, pioneered this approach in the Eighties and many retailers followed suit.
In Britain there is an organisation dedicated to the welfare of animals, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). There are many others, frequently supported by charitable donations, for example donkey sanctuaries and hedgehog hospitals. Some animal rights activists favour direct action, such as protests and demonstrations. Animal rights extremists have been in involved in illegal action such as arson attacks on laboratories or on the researchers themselves.
What is genetic modification?
Genetic engineering is the method of changing the inherited characteristics of an organism in a predetermined way by altering its genetic material, or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Genetically modified foods are those where this technique has been used on the plants or animals that enter the food chain. For example, genetic modification has been used to improve the texture of a tomato and to make it last longer. What concerns many people is that the long term effects of consuming such foods cannot be predicted, and consumers have rejected ?GM? ingredients in the foods they buy.
The process of genetic engineering has great potential. For example, the gene for insulin, needed for treating diabetics, is normally found only in higher animals. With genetic engineering it can now be introduced into a bacterial cell. The bacteria can then be grown in large quantities, giving an abundant source of so-called ?recombinant? insulin at a relatively low cost. Another important use of genetic engineering is in the manufacture of recombinant factor VIII, the blood-clotting agent missing in patients with haemophilia. Virtually all haemophiliacs who received factor VIII before the mid-1980s have contracted acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or hepatitis from viral contaminants in the blood used to make the product. The possibility of viral contamination is eliminated completely with the use of recombinant factor VIII. Other uses of genetic engineering include increasing the disease resistance of crops, producing pharmaceutical compounds in the milk of animals, generating vaccines, and altering livestock traits.
While the potential benefits of genetic engineering are considerable, so may be the potential dangers. For example, the introduction of cancer-causing genes into a common infectious organism, such as the influenza virus, could be hazardous. Consequently, in most nations, experiments with recombinant DNA are closely regulated, and those involving infectious agents are permitted only under the strictest conditions of containment. Another concern is that, despite stringent controls, some unforeseen effect might occur as the result of genetic manipulation.