Home, Archive, Stuff, Random thoughts, London, My Rigs, Pictures, Dreams, Links, About, Contact, Search
 

spikegifted - Random thoughts

 

animal testing

March 7, 2004

[Originally posted by Elmo]

i've just been writing an essay for one of my biology subjects and in one of the papers i was using for research it was talking about an experiment done using animals. Basically they had one "germ-free" animal which had no "good bacteria" in its body, and one "conventional" animal which did have "good bacteria". Now, i was wondering why they did it on animals and not on humans, and it appears to me that it's because if we had no "good bacteria" in our bodies, we'd be as good as immunosuppressed (open to infection), which clearly isnt good and could well kill us. So why did they do the experiment on animals? well you kinda have to weigh up the pros and cons of it all. pros are that the knowledge of certain biological processes in the body will be increased and/or new cures/vaccines/drugs can be made to treat certain illnesses. Cons - many animals die/become severely disabled leading to being put down and some people reckon that animals dont have rights.

So, in a nut shell, i really dont know what to think about the practice. I think it's cruel, but without it, we wouldnt have a lot of the drugs/cures/vaccines we have today.

so guys what do you think?

---

March 9, 2004

I can’t believe how naïve and pathetic some of you folks are! All of you who voted “yes, but only for medical research, not cosmetic research!” (all 24 of you so far) are just blinded by your own ‘righteousness’.

What difference, qualitatively speaking, is there for the animals between being used for medical research and for cosmetic research? For all intent and purposes, there is absolutely no difference! Looking at it from a scientific point of view, animals in both situations are being subjected to some horrible forms of mutilation. Those that are used in medical research may be ‘cured’ by the medicines developed by the scientists and those that are used in cosmetic research are more likely to be left to die. In either situation, all the animals suffer. So there is no qualitative difference between animals being used in one course or the other.

Having said all that, I’m no against animal testing. It is a necessity of modern medicine and cosmetics. For some strange reason, some of you actually think that animal testing for medical research is more acceptable than that same thing being done for cosmetic research. However, never forget that the drugs business is a global, multi-billion dollar business, much like the cosmetic business. You’d think that cosmetics companies drive their sales based on marketing, but you forget that drugs companies also drive their sales by marketing. Remember this: unlike cosmetics, the buying decisions of medicines are the doctors, not the patients. Hence all the marketing efforts are focused on those who prescribe medicines, you, the patients, just get the end result of that marketing. The reason you don’t get to see most of medical marketing except for over-the-counter drugs is because medical marketing is carried out by an army of sales representatives visiting surgeries across the globe, marketing the products to the doctors on a one-to-one basis, which is a lot more expensive than TV or other forms of advertisements.

You may argue that the benefit of medical research can be quantitatively measured by the number of people cured of certain disease or medical conditions or being prevented of those conditions. However, let me point out that cosmetic research results in qualitative improvements of lives that are not easily measurable. How can you measure the difference of someone who feels more confident as a result of having spread some cream or some color on his/her face? The very fact that cosmetics, as we know them today, were developed independently in European, Indian sub-continental and Far Eastern cultures means that it is a particular aspect of human nature to try to look nice and feel nice. So this is not a modern thing nor it is definitely driven purely by marketing and motivated by money grabbing. It is as natural for us, humans, to want to be free of diseases as it is for us to want to feel ‘better’ about ourselves.

Finally, medical and cosmetic researches are carried on animals that are bred specifically for those purposes. They are bred so that they are genetically homogeneous, which in turn provided a similar starting condition across the board. Simply catching animals from the wild will no do the job. At the same time, releasing laboratory animals into the wild, even those that are not diseased, will not make their lives any more tolerable because they will not survive for long, as they’re bred for experiments. In terms of damage to the global ecology, these animals don’t even feature in it as they were bred in captivity and were never intended to be released. It is far less harmful than burning or chopping down rain forests for land and wood, and killing rhinos and elephants for the horns and tusks.

Both medical and cosmetic researches based on animals are necessary. That is because we want to shorten the research cycle on potentially useful drugs by first testing their capabilities and potencies on animals before limited human trials. At the same time, that is true on the cosmetic side of the coin as you want as many skin types to be tried on first before applying the cream or color on a human face, in case it hasn’t been tried before allergic reactions stops the introduction of a product that can improve the quality of many lives.

---

March 10, 2004

Gee... I wish you folks stop playing 'cute' on this subject... Come on!

EVERYTHING is tested... Think of the things you'd use on a daily or regular basis - most if not all things that you apply to your skin has been tested: shaving foams, face washes, aftershaves/eau de toilet, lip balms, hand creams, fragrant soap, most shampoos, hair gels/mousses/waxes/sprays, washing powders/liquids, fabric softeners, etc... They all been tested on animals! Do you seriously think they're going push out a product that hasn't been at gone on a series of animal trials then onto preliminary human trial then full trial? What do you think they're so stupid that they don't cover their back? What do you think agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration base their decisions on?

Get real people! If you really claim that you're against animal testing for 'cosmetic' use, you better stop any of the abovementioned products and start looking and smelling like you haven't washed for weeks or months.

---

March 11, 2004

I think it quite safe to assume that everything can be tested on animals before being used on humans has been tested on animals at one stage or another. There're some people who're natural risk takers. However, to get a sufficiently large group of them to test out a product over several phases (ie. including possible refinements) is quite unlikely. Moreover, at early development stages, the chances of a product producing poor results and/or adverse side effects is huge. In today's pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, the standard practice is to find an existing natural product that is known to have some positive effect for certain symptoms and then substitute certain groups in the molecule to modify the behavior of the drug for other, but similar, symptoms. The permutation is almost infinite and the number of 'testers' involved, over the duration of a trial, can by huge. Who is going to volunteer for something that not only doesn't have much of a chance to cure you, but can quite possibly kill you or significantly damage your health even if you're only expose to a limited amount of time?

Until the day when scientists can find a true and accurate alternative to animal testing, it will continue to be the backbone of pre-human trial testing. And that applies to both the medical and cosmetic industries.

---

March 11, 2004

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...anything that does will have to have some strong positive benefits in terms of their effects before they will progress this way.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm curious has to how they determine these 'strong positive benefits' if they're not testing it on something, like an animal?

---

March 11, 2004

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It depends upon the product. For example with anti-perspirants a lot is know about how they work, so companies will look for compounds with the same properties as the active ingredients but more 'active'.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm intrigued by which are the companies that have such practice. I'm a chemistry graduate (with specialization in organic chemistry) and a few good friends of mine have gone on to complete their PhDs in chemistry and biochemistry and are now working in industry (or have since left to pursue other interests). As far as I know, testing happens very early on. As I've suggested in my previous post, what they tend to do is take on a molecule that has know properties that they're looking for. From this one molecule, they look at the various 'sites' where they can substitute and hopefully to remove side effects or improve the potency of the molecule.

Now, how do you think they test whether the new molecules they've created have less side effects and/or improved potency? Bingo! Animal testing! Would you try this stuff on human volunteers before testing them out on humans? Most probably not!!

 

Link to Hexus.net Forum