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No More Monkey Business

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No More Monkey Business

Over four million animals, including frogs, cats, dogs, mice, and pigs, are dissected yearly just by junior high and secondary school students (Levine 32). Another 50 to 100 million are estimated to be experimented on annually with medical, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products. These animals suffer through painful, and often unnecessary, tests. The reactions that the animals have and the effects that the experiments have on them are usually misleading and unlike the results when tested on a human. Very few breakthroughs have occurred because of the experiments done on animals. Many people mistakenly believe that medical advances are a direct result of animal experimentation. Theses tests are not essential in order to progress in the scientific community as well as in other situations. There are alternatives to the testing of medicine, drugs, and other products on animals, that can be used with the intention of finding out the same results.

Animal testing can be dated back to the Greeks in the third and fourth centuries BC with Aristotle and Erasistratus. A few centuries later, records have led us to associate Galen as the "father of vivisection," or the dissection or surgery upon living animals. He mostly experimented with pigs and goats and was able to see how the inside of the body came together. William Harvey experimented upon animals and was able to conclude how the movement of blood worked. In the 1700s, using a guinea pig, Antoine Lavoisier demonstrated that respiration was a form of combustion. Many of these experiments were practical and the results from it helped explain new ideas and answer questions. Currently, though, numerous tests on various animals prove little nor help our society. "A reason for stopping animal research is that many uses of animal research just duplicated results that have already been found in earlier experiments" (Levine 31). There is no reason for people to continue doing repetitive tests on animals when in prior experiments, the results were already discovered. The cosmetic industry is just one business that has been routinely testing products and ingredients on animals even though it mostly a recurring experiment.

Cosmetic testing has been banned in several countries including the Netherlands, UK, and Belgium. Yet the testing of cosmetic products on animals still continues on in other countries in as well as in the United States. All cosmetic products must be acceptable and accountable not to harm the health of a person when used normally. In order to make sure that the products are safe and satisfactory for a human to use, animals are tested. But there is no law requiring a company to test its product on animals before selling it. Cosmetic testing includes using a finished product or individual ingredients of a product on an animal. Furthermore, some companies pay businesses, in countries where experimenting with animals is legal, to test their products. Thereafter, they claim that they have not tested their cosmetics on animals, although some of the ingredients were ("Animal Experimentation 6"). There are many different experiments to test personal care products in order to determine the potential effects of the product. Makeup, shampoo, hairspray, and such are tested in eye irritancy tests, skin irritancy tests, and ingestion tests. After undergoing these tests, animals may experience pain or even death.

Two commonly known personal care products are the Draize test and the LD50, Lethal Dose 50 Percent, test. The Draize test was developed in the 1940s to test for eye irritancy. Typically, albino rabbits are immobilized in devices where only their head is capable of being reached. The product then is dropped into the rabbit's eyes which are held open with metal clips. The product is placed in the eye several times to see if the product causes inflammation or irritation. Albino rabbits are used because they have large, unpigmented eyes (Ojeda 4). The LD50 test was developed in the 1920s in order to determine the lethal dose of a product if ingested. In the past, one hundred animals were given the product in increasing increments until half of the animals, 50 percent, were dead. The standard technique now is that sixty to two hundred animals, more often than not mice, are tested. In 1978, Henry Spira, an animal rights activist, tried to get the cosmetic company, Revlon, to stop using theses tests. After being ignored, 'Spira took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, which posed the incendiary question, "How many rabbits has Revlon blinded for beauty's sake?"' (Currie-McGhee 60). With its damaged public image, Revlon donated $ 750,000 to Rockefeller University to encourage research of an alternative to the Draize test, as well as animal testing. Spira persuaded other cosmetic companies to do as Revlon did. Avon began giving money to the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at John Hopkins University. CAAT was created with the help of one million dollars donated from a group of cosmetic companies.

Recently, with the help from the cosmetic industry, there have been alternative methods created for cosmetic testing. These companies no longer use the Draize test and there have been several replacement tests. For example, the MatTek EpiOcular test uses vitro tissue, which is in a test tube, to model the human corneal epithelium, or the covering of the cornea (Currie-McGhee 60). The LD50 test has been changed as well. One way that they now test the lethal ingestion dose of products is called the up and down procedure (UDP). It uses less than ten animals on average. The animal is given the product and the dosage is adjusted up or down based on its reaction. Then, a computer is used to calculate an estimated lethal dose. However, this alternative is still an animal test and animals are still being harmed or killed. More tests need to be developed in order to not hurt more animals. These are just a few alternatives but as long as there are new cosmetic products being created in our world different options than animal testing need to be tried.

One of the main purposes for animal experimentation is to test new medical drugs and techniques. Most people believe that animals cannot feel any pain while they are being tested. "In this publication [The Descent of Man] Darwin stated that humans and animals were linked in the evolutionary chain and thus shared similar biology. Based on this, Darwin concluded that animals, like humans, were sensory. Sensory beings are able to experience physical feelings, including pain" (Currie-McGhee 19). Animals are able to feel the pain just as humans are. It is inhumane and cruel to be treating any creature, human or not, in this way. Biomedical research



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