Medical Research On Animals Essay

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Every year, millions of animals experience painful, suffering and death due to results of scientific research as the effects of drugs, medical procedures, food additives, cosmetics and other chemical products. Basically, animal experimentation has played a dominant role in leading with new findings and human advantages. Animal research has had a main function in many scientific and medical advances in the past decade and is helping in the understanding of several diseases. While most people believe than animal testing is necessary, others are worried about the excessive suffering of this innocent’s creatures. The balance between the rights of animals and their use in medical research is a delicate issue with huge societal assumptions.…show more content…

Particularly, research animals has been used to test drugs and vaccines, in medical procedures, determine poisonous doses and drugs, indicate which products in animals might cause cancer, cosmetics tests and household cleaners. According to PETA, approximately 1.13 million animals are tested on each year, and 76,000 are subjected to torture without pain relief. (PETA, par. 3). In addition these animals do not receive proper pain relief treatment; animals are locked up in small cages with no space to move around it. This action itself causes many animals to die due to loneliness and lack of intellectual and physical stimulation. Actually many of the human benefits come due to the price of animal’s treatments. For instance, an estimated of 5 million monkeys has dead in the practice of the oral polio vaccine. In the last years there have been a huge percentage of animal’s laboratory cruelties. According to the Animal testing statistics, “Nearly 19.5 million animals were tortured, mutilated and killed in US laboratories in 2009.”(“AWA Association,” table 1) Generally, the most usual animals used for experimentation are rabbits, mice, primates, dogs, cats, and rats. This fact demonstrates that no animal is safe from experimentation. There are so many tests that are inhumane and can have devastating effects. For instance; The Uterotrophic Response test is used to detect Endocrine Disrupting Compounds. This

History of animal research

The use of animals in scientific experiments in the UK can be traced back at least as far as the 17th Century with Harvey’s experiments on numerous animal species aiming to demonstrate blood circulation. Across Europe, the use of animals in scientific research began to expand over the 19th Century, in part supported by the development of anaesthetics which had previously made animal research impossible. In 1876, parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act, the first legislation aimed at regulating animal experiments.

Over the late 19th and the 20th centuries, the expansion of medical science meant that the numbers of animals used in research expanded steadily, accelerated by the Medicines Act, 1968, which provided a clearer guide to the use of animals in safety testing in the wake of the Thalidomide tragedy. The number of animals used rose  to over 5.5 million in 1970 after which point the numbers began to decline rapidly. This large expansion reflected a growing medical field; animals had played a part in most medical advances of the 20th century including insulin, the polio vaccine, penicillin and the elimination of smallpox. In 1986 the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act was passed, which ensured higher animal welfare standards in laboratories across the UK.

In 2010, EU Directive 2010/63 was passed. This regulation harmonises European animal laboratory standards, improving animal welfare across the EU, and is currently being transposed into the laws of the member countries. It passed into UK law on 1st January 2013.


Animal Research in Medicine: 100 Years of Politics, Protests and Progress (John Illman) provides a history of animal research legislation and the context in which they were developed.
- Illman, J., 2008. Aninmal Research in Medicine: 100 years of Politics, Protests and Progress. The Story of the Research Defence Society. London: Research Defence Society.

A Guinea Pig’s History of Biology (Jim Endersby) tells the story of modern biology through the stories of the animals and plants that made it possible.
- Endersby, J., 2007. A Guinea Pig’s History of Biology. Heinemann.

Online resources

Medical Advances and Animal Research (RDS & CMP) is an excellent booklet outlining the role of animals in many of the medical developments we see around us. It provides full references to the scientific literature it mentions throughout.
- Research Defence Society & Coalition for Medical Progress, 2007. Medical Advances and Animal Research: The Contribution of Animal Science to the Medical Revolution: Some Case Histories. London: RDS. [online] Available at:

The Animal Research Timeline ( provides an outline of many of the major medical discoveries since 1881, as well as explaining the role of animals in each of these developments.
- AnimalResearch.Info. Timeline. [online]. Available at:

Animal Research Info: Nobel Prizes ( provides a breakdown of all the Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine since 1901 and includes how animals were involved in the discoveries.
- AnimalResearch.Info. Nobel Prizes. [online]. Available at:

The Animals (UAR) provides information about the number and type of animals used in medical research. Look at how the number of animals in research has risen and fallen over time in the Number of Animals section.
- Understanding Animal Research. The Animals. [online]. Available at:

Pro-Test: Tackling Animal Rights (SR) is an essay following the battle over the building of the Oxford University Biomedical Facility from 2005-2008. It covers the rise of the animal rights group SPEAK, and the student counter-movement, Pro-Test. It also covers some of the issues which helped change public opinion from 2006.
- Speaking of Research, 2008. Pro-Test Tackling Animal Rights in the UK. [online]. Available at:

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Last edited: 17 March 2015 14:32

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