Why We Need Animal Research-It Is A Matter of Life and Death

Posted on 04/04/2009

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Why We Still Need Animal Research

By ESaunders

The debate over animal research has been raging in the news again lately, raising a number of questions by the average person over why animal research is still necessary, especially since computer modeling is available or cell research.  Besides, animals are so different from us, its not like the results can even be that applicable, right?

There’s a problem with using computer modeling for research. Computer modeling is based on computer programming.  Programming is based on logic.  Logic is based on previous knowledge or assumptions, with missing assumptions or knowledge providing flawed results.  Compounding this issue, there is not a model in existence that can fully replicate the responses of something as complex as an animal, man or mouse.   Even the construction of a computer model of a system requires animal testing to verify the accuracy of the model, and that is just for a basic system of response.

Cell, even tissue, research is a field that is extremely useful but still provides  incomplete information for many kinds of research.  Research that provides information of the response of cells or even tissue still tells very little about the response of an single, intact biological system, let alone the overall physical response.  Cell and tissue research tell us nothing at all about items as complex as the effect of a drug on behavior or mood, or the effect of loss of limb sensation on ability to move that limb or the possible effect of a diabetes drug on the heart.

Despite what many who oppose animal research will tell you, much of animal research is applicable to humans.  Though we are very different in appearance, we share similar nervous systems and similar body chemistry.  The chemicals in the brain which regulate mood are the same chemicals.  This is why anti-depressants used in humans are often used in dogs, as are many pain medications.  Though the closeness of the similarity may vary by research focus and species.  We are all warm-blooded & share the same chemical messenger systems.  We see, breathe, age & learn.  We start as 2 cells, as use the same processes of development to become many.

These commonalities are the very reasons why animal research remains a valuable source of information.  They are also the reasons why ethical standards of research require evidence why other methods cannot be used and why it is the gold standard of evaluation before progress to human trials in any research process.

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved

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