Many medical institutions make use of animals for their medical and clinical practices and this is due to the fact that many animals have physiological and genetic similarity with humans (L, 2010). Most of the animals which are used for the experiments or for tests are specially bred for the purpose for medical research and other findings. They have been a great importance in knowing and understanding the medical science as different experiments are performed on them, but some researchers and ethic committee think that it is cruel to use animals for medical findings as they are manhandled while performing tests.
All the medical and clinical research is performed under careful and strict supervision and guidance of experienced scientists and researchers. Before approving any study, experts who review proposed experiment involving animals evaluate several considerations (Medical Research with Animals ). The animals prepared for the research and when they are fit then further procedures are followed, including investigations in experimental cardiology, neurophysiology, gastroenterology and other medical disciplines (Jagielloski U, 1998).
The animal prepared for long-lasting tests do not suffer from pain during both the experiments and intervals between them (Jagiello?ski U, 1998). Furthermore, the research on animals assists researchers to gain knowledge about different diseases and possible cures and this has really helped the researchers to explore their knowledge in clinical trials and other research works.
Though many consider the use of animals for research purpose unethical and cruel as they are not treated the way they should be. So, in order to protect animals from cruelty, there are laws which should be followed when using animals for medical research. The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) created in 1968 is the national organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and supervising the implementation of high standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada. As there could be negative side for the use of animals but we cannot ignore the fact that they are very helpful in medical study and research works.
Animals are utilized as a part of medical research to encourage us understand our own bodies and how they function. This is important to grow new medicines. Additionally, animals are used to safety test potential solutions before they are tried in individuals and to check the safety of different synthetic compounds.
Types of Animals Used in Medical Research
Many animals are specially bred for medical/scientific purposes before they are solely used for research work. It is made sure that the animals that are going to be used are disease-free and are raised up in healthy conditions (Understanding animal research, n.d.). In a common trial, trained researchers give an animal a dose of a potential prescription and afterward take blood tests or examine the animal to check inside its body. Animal care staff and vets are close by to check for indications of torment or trouble and can stop tests to avert enduring (Animal Charter.ca, n.d.).
Animals used for medical research varies, but most of them are mice, rats, vertebrates like fishes, reptiles, birds, amphibians and mammals, some large animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, monkeys are also used for the experiments and research work (Understanding animal research, n.d.). These creatures are usually preferred because they have somewhat the similar body function as that of humans, so they tend to prove the most accurate for the medical research and other experiments.
Out of these, mice are one of the highest used animal in research due to its vital organs and body function being same as humans and moreover, their short life span and rapid breeding are useful to understand the effects of medications and other researches are easily done on them (Understanding animal research, n.d.).
Control of Animal Research
Before utilizing any animal for research purpose, the scientist/ researcher or the institution such as a college or a university have to get a license or a permit in order to conduct study from the required governing body (Home Office) (Understanding animal research, n.d.). Their application is further studied and judged by other professional scientist, vets and other members of ethical committee.
In order to get the licence following are the steps to be conducted (Understanding animal research, n.d.):
- The scientist has to demonstrate and should provide enough evidence that their study or the experiment is relevant to conducted on animals and their research outweighs the harm that will be caused to animal.
- They should also show that they will require minimum number of animals are required to get reliable data and results.
- The researcher has to estimate the severity of their work.
- They are also expected to provide evidence that their experiment has minimum pain and suffering on the animal at the course of the procedure.
- Though some experiments do cause severe pain and suffering to the animal and the licence for those experiments and researches are hard to get. So, in order to obtain permit for specific procedure the applicant need to show and explain fully that why the research cannot be conducted without any suffering or pain.
- The applicant also need to show or explain the conditions in which animals are going to be kept or breed.
- The educational institution should be able to mention that the studies conducted in their area will be under strict and professional supervision of an experienced entity.
There are tough rules that represent the utilization of animals in research. Usually, there are three licenses which are required: an individual permit for the study; a project licence for the investigation; and an establishment licence for the place where the research is done. Government vets and specialists make standard, and regularly unannounced, visits to ensure that the animals are appropriately cared (Understanding animal research, n.d.). If they are not satisfied by the inspection and finds that the rules are broken, they can even terminate the licence and close down the facilities regarding the same.
Many medical benefits have been brought about by animal research. They have been a great help in the treatment of medical complications and bringing up new medications in the world. As their body functions are similar to humans so we are able to understand the treatments of disease and are able to improve the life of an individual by researching, studying and conducting different experiments on them (Speaking of research, n.d.).
Listed below are examples where animal research has been the major medical breakthrough:
- Blood transfusion
- Macular degeneration
- Kidney transplants
- Breast cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
Though it has always been the topic of debate by many researchers, ethic committees and by others of use of animals for the medical purposes. But without animal test and experiment the researcher or the scientist have no way to know if the treatment or the medication they have purposed will be helpful and if they will have any adverse effect on humans. One cannot deny the fact that animals have been a great help in understanding the medical science and bringing up new medicines in the market for human benefit.
Experiment on dogs which was the removal of pancreases led us directly to discover insulin, which helped us to save the lives of diabetics (Understand the Issue. Understand each other, n.d.). As according to Chris Abee, Director of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre’s animal research facility, without chimpanzees we would not have discovered vaccine of Hepatitis B (Understand the Issue. Understand each other, n.d.).
On the other hand, millions of animals do suffer due to the experiments and many are manhandled during the research. Many a times the animal experiments are unregulated and are allowed to conduct in near secrecy. No one exactly knows that how many animals are used in tests/research as the private-sector is unregulated and do not require to disclose the animal count, species and type of tests performed on them.
Regulatory Body in Canada for Medical Research on Animals
Every Canadian province have enacted in the territory of animal welfare through animal protection acts and regulations. Ontario is one of a kind in having an Act particular to look into animals, the Animals for Research Act, which empowers an inspectorate to control the registration of research offices and the issuance of licenses for supply facilities (Canadian Council on Animal Research, n.d.).
The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) is a non-government organization with no legal authority that sets voluntary guidelines for animal research (Animal Charter.ca, n.d.). Though some provinces require researchers and other medical organizations to follow the guidelines of CCAC, while some do not. The CCAC is run by researchers and others who support research on animals for scientific and medical purposes including the pharmaceutical industry, medical researchers, universities, the scientific community, and federal granting agencies (Animal Charter.ca, n.d.).
The CCAC conducts its own appraisals of animal research labs only once in three years. Inspections are planned well ahead of time, giving labs plentiful time to clean up and give the presence of consistence with CCAC animal care guidelines (Animal Charter.ca, n.d.). If the lab passes examination, future appraisals might be lessened to one visit in five years. However, a lab that isn’t in consistence may have its examination financing cut off, although there is no confirmation that this has ever once occurred in the 49-year history of the CCAC (Animal Charter.ca, n.d.). The CCAC has no legal authority and cannot indict labs that deliver unlawful trouble and enduring upon animals.
The animal-based science falls into the five categories in CCAC-certified institutions (Canadian Council on Animal Research, n.d.):
- Fundamental Research
Studies of a fundamental nature in science relating to essential structure or function
- Studying the migration format or habitats of wild animals
- Investigating how certain hormones are produced from the gut and brain regulate energy, balance, growth, and reproduction in fish
• Medical and Clinical Studies
Studies for medical objective that relate to human or animal diseases and disorders
- To understand the genes involved in cancer by studying rodents
- Researching on dogs to better understand and develop treatments and medications for canine epilepsy
- Regulatory Testing
Testing the potency and safety of products and medications. Before human trials are commence Health Canada legally requires medical research be performed on animals.
- Assessing the safety of vaccines on rodents and non-human primates
- Testing/studying the effectiveness of a new medication for Parkinson’s disease
- Development of Products and Medical Devices
Studies for the development of products or devices for human or veterinary medicine
- Initiation of new dietary products for farm animals
- Studies attempted on pigs to develop artificial organs for humans
• Teaching and Training
Teaching and training to communicate scientific concepts, and develop practical skills and expertise in specific techniques
- Training veterinary students on disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
- Training animal health technicians on feline vaccination, X-rays, and dental care
Study’s done on animals have been boon to modern science as we are able to comprehend the diseases and its treatment. There may be negative side for the use of animals for medical purposes, but we cannot deny that they have been a great help in increasing the quality of life of an individual.?