Animals laboratory.[v] Most model organisms, such as

Animals have been used
for the purpose of scientific experimentation throughout human history. Aristotle,
who was a Greek physician in mid three hundred B.C., conducted experiments on
living animals to expand his understanding of biological anatomy.i Animals that are used for
these purposes are known as model organisms.ii  Model organism can include animals such as
felines, canines, rodents, amphibians and primates. The most commonly used
model organisms are mice and rats.iii There are many reasons
why the scientific community still uses model organisms for experimentation.
Model organisms are easily to maintained and breed in a laboratory. They
usually breed in large numbers, making it easy to obtain multiple test
subjects.iv As well, they are
non-pathogenic, meaning that they are organisms that do not cause disease or
harm to other living organisms, making them easy to work with in the
laboratory.v Most model organisms, such
as mice, share ninety five percent of their genes with humans. Thus, a number
of human diseases occur in mice, making them a useful model for the human body.viThere has always been
controversy surrounding the use of model organisms for scientific and
commercial research. On one hand, it can be seen as morally wrong to use model
organisms for the benefit of human beings, as tests for model organisms are not
always humane. But on the other hand, model organisms have allowed scientists
to advance their understanding of biology, disease and illness.vii There are many
treatments and vaccines, such as insulin for diabetes and the polio vaccine,
that would not have been developed without the use of model organisms.viii I am against the use of
model organism for the purpose of scientific and commercial testing. The
testing that is performed on model organisms, as well as the treatment that
they are given is ethically inhumane. As well, the results that are concluded
from the experiments conducted on model organism do not always have the same results
that can be used to benefit humans. There are many alternatives with todays
advanced science technology that can be used instead of model organisms. Each
year, an estimated 3.02 million model organisms are used in experimentation for
research and commercial purposes. Some of these model organisms are killed for
reasons such as biology lessons for educational purposes, medical training,
experimentation, drug, food, and cosmetics testing.ix

 However, there are laws set in place to
protect model organisms. The animal welfare act(AWA) was passed in 1996, which
ensures that model organisms are provided with a large living space, regulated
temperatures, as well as basic needs such as food and water. As well, a committee
known as the institutional animal care and use committee must overlook and
approve all research conducted on model organisms. However, the AWA does not
protect rodents, of which mice and rats are the most common, fish, or birds.
These model organisms are estimated to make up ninety five percent of the
population that is used for experimentation in laboratories.x The experiments that are
tested on model organisms in laboratories can be inhumane. The Humane Society
International uncovered that model organisms used in experimentation for
research and commercial testing are often forced to into feedings, water
deprivation, restraint, and forced inhalation. For example, there is an
experiment that is regularly used on model organisms known as the draize eye
test. This test is mainly used by cosmetic companies to assess the amount of
irritation from products such as soaps or shampoos. This test usually involves rabbits
as the model organism. The rabbits are restrained and their eyelids are clipped
open for an unknown amount of time. The product being tested is placed in their
eyes and researchers study their reaction to the product. Anesthesia is not
given to the animal for pain relief.xi

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Tests that are performed
on model organisms cannot always be dependable. Although many model organisms
share very similar DNA to humans, there genes are not a one hundred percent
match to human beings. Since the model organisms are different, the tests that
are performed on them can be undependable. As well, diseases that are induced
in model organisms, regardless of the species, are not identical to the
diseases that occur in human beings. Thus, it becomes more unlikely that model
organism experiments will have the same results that can be used to benefit
humans. For example, according to former National Cancer Institute Director Dr.
Richard Klausner, “We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply
didn’t work in humans.”xii

With today’s scientific advancements, there are many different alternatives to
using model organisms. The options for alternatives include models based on
human cell and tissue cultures, virtual drug trials, human volunteers for drug
trials, computer models and simulation and micro dosing, which is a method that
gives a patient a low dose of a drug to test the effects of the drug on a
cellular level, without affecting the patients whole body.xiii These methods, as well
as a variety of other methods, are not affected by a difference in species.
They also do not make animal test results to humans difficult. As well, these
alternatives can take less time and money to complete compared to using model
organisms.xiv

To conclude, through the research that I have gathered from creditable sources,
I do not believe that model organisms should still be used for scientific and
research testing. There have been and still are many benefits to using model
organisms. Model organisms are very easy to maintain in the laboratory, they breed
in large numbers, are non-pathogenic, and share ninety five percent of their
genes with humans, making them a useful model for human disease. But they are
not always treated humanely in the standard laboratory environment. Although
there have been laws passed to protect model organisms, such as the AWA, a
large majority of model organisms are not protected by the AWA. There are still
tests that are being conducted on model organisms that cause harm and are
overall inhumane, such as the draize eye test. As well, the model organisms that
share very similar DNA to humans are not a one hundred percent match to human
beings. Therefore, model organism experiments will not always yield the same
results that can be used to benefit human beings. However, there are many
different alternatives to using model organisms that erase the need for model organisms,
as they do not cause any harm towards animals, and are cost and time effective.
Hopefully in the future, these alternatives will be used to test for treatments
and vaccines for disease and illnesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i
Hajar, R. (2011). Animal Testing and Medicine, volume 12(1): 42. Retrieved
December 30th, 2017, from

https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/modelorg_factsheet.aspx

ii
Using Research Organisms to Study Health and Disease. (2017). Retrieved
December 30th, 2017, from

https://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/modelorg_factsheet.aspx

iii
About Animal Testing. (n.d). Retrieved December, 30th, 2017, from
http://www.hsi.org/campaigns/end_animal_testing/qa/about.html??referrer=https://www.google.ca/

iv
What are model organisms? (March 3rd, 2017). Retrieved December 14th, 2017,
from

https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-are-model-organisms

v
Nonpathogenic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. Retrieved
December 14th, 2017, from
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nonpathogenic

vi
Andrews, L. (May 12th, 2017). Pros and Cons of Animal Testing – Does It Really
Work? Retrieved December 14th, 2017, from

Pros and Cons of Animal Testing: (Helpful or Harmful?)

vii
Should animals be used in research? (n.d.). Retrieved December 30th,
2017, from
https://www.yourgenome.org/debates/should-animals-be-used-in-research

viii
Forty reasons why we need animals in research (August 1st, 2017). Retrieved
December 14th 2017, from,

http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/about-us/science-action-network/forty-reasons-why-we-need-animals-in-research/

ix
Experiments on Animals: Overview. (n.d). Retrieved December 14th, 2017, from

Experiments on Animals: Overview

x
Andrews, L. (May 12th, 2017). Pros and Cons of Animal Testing – Does It Really
Work? Retrieved December 14th , 2017, from

Pros and Cons of Animal Testing: (Helpful or Harmful?)

xi
Andrews, L. (May 12th, 2017). Pros and Cons of Animal Testing – Does It Really
Work? Retrieved December 14th , 2017, from

Pros and Cons of Animal Testing: (Helpful or Harmful?)

xii
Experiments on Animals: Overview. (n.d). Retrieved December 14th, 2017, from

Experiments on Animals: Overview

xiii
Animals in science/Alternatives. (n.d). Retrieved December 14th, 2017, from

http://www.neavs.org/alternatives/in-testing

xiv
Alternatives to Animal Testing. (n.d). Retrieved December 14th, 2017, from

Alternatives to Animal Testing