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The use of animals in laboratory experiments

The use of animals in laboratory experiments is a controversial topic. Many people are opposed to vivisection, or medical experiments using living animals. These people feel that the suffering of lab animals is a moral issue similar to black slavery or the repression of women. Controversy exists, however, because there are also many people who feel that animal experiments are necessary for the prolonging of human life. This point of view has been expressed, for example, by the former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. According to Koop, animal research has been responsible for increasing life expectancy in the United States from 52 years in the early 1900's to 72 years today (Pardes, West & Pincus, 1991, p. 1642). On this basis, many doctors and scientists are in favor of maintaining animal experimentation. This paper will argue against this view, and will take the perspective that the benefits of medical research are no longer dependent upon the suffering of innocent animals. With modern technology, there are alternatives to the use of animals which are cheaper as well as more humane, such as the use of cell cultures and computer models (Cowley, 1988, p. 54). Thus, from a moral viewpoint, it is obvious that the use of animals in scientific studies must be stopped.

According to estimates by the federal government, 17 to 22 million animals are used in scientific research each year (Pardes, West & Pincus, 1991, p. 1641). The vast majority of these lab animals are rats and other rodents. However, large numbers of dogs, cats, rabbits and primates are also used. Scientists often use these animals to study diseases and to thereby seek cures which will help save human lives. In addition, new drugs and vaccines are generally tested on animals. The idea behind this type of experimentation is to make sure that humans will not be harmed in using new medical cures. However, many animals must suffer and die in the course of such...

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The use of animals in laboratory experiments. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:19, August 14, 2020, from