Lab rat.

Chimps cure cancer: the benefits to animal testing

pro-animal-testing-billboardFrom the discovery of insulin, to the treatment of cystic fibrosis, nearly every medical breakthrough from the past 100 years has resulted directly from research utilizing animals. The polio vaccine, breast cancer, malaria, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, pacemakers, and anesthetics, the influence of animal testing is nearly endless.  

No matter how advanced the computer, or how skilled the biomedical scientist, as of now, humans can’t accurately simulate the complex workings of living systems. The only viable and truly effective option, unfortunately, is to test new drugs on animals; animals such as chimpanzees share 99 percent of their DNA with humans, and mice are 98 percent genetically similar to humans (

The striking similarities between these species and humans have made them suitable candidates for our medical testing. Where it is unethical for humans to be subjected to medical testing, animals must step in.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know that animals deserve rights too. The power of a cute dog has as much influence on me as the next guy.  Luckily, the field of animal research is highly regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Humane treatment of animals and housing standards are widely enforced. In addition, AWA regularly requires veterinary inspections.

But if this isn’t convincing to you, take note that animals benefit from animal testing as well. Vaccines for diseases such as rabies, feline leukemia, distemper, tetanus, infectious hepatitis virus, anthrax, and canine parvovirus have been developed from animal testing. Endangered species such as the California Condor have also benefited greatly from groundbreaking animal research.

Sexually transmitted chlamydia has been ravaging kinky koalas. The endangered species in some parts of Australia is one of 23yearsposterlg5dpmany species that have benefited from animal research. Australian koalas are now being tested with new chlamydia vaccines that may slow the endangered species disappearance. 

The support and endorsement of animal testing has been stated by many national organizations, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society. In a 2011 poll of 1,000 biomedical scientists, over 90 percent  thought the use of animal testing was essential (Nature).

The number of animals used for research is minuscule compared to the number of animals we, as Americans, consume. For every one research animal, 340 chickens are raised (often stuffed in cages, force fed, pumped with antibiotics) and slaughtered for us to ingest.

Animal testing is by no standard a bright aspect of biomedical research. But it is a vital part to developing medical breakthroughs.

Written by Steven Hong

Steven is now a senior at MC, and Co-Editor-In-Chief of the MC Sun. He enjoys playing volleyball and has been playing it for a number of years now. Besides volleyball, Steven enjoys to eat in his free time. He loves Italian food, Hot Cheetos, and anything that's high in sodium.

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