Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Use of Animals in Clinical Testing

The animal activists have called for the ban in using animals for clinical testing and created a huge hue and cry on this matter. I would urge the government to listen to them and form a committee made up by these activists to brainstorm for better options that can be used in drug discovery. Anyone who has such strong objections should also come out with better alternatives that can save lives. It is always easy to protest and portray a “good and clean” image but to be constructive and contribute positively towards the betterment of mankind requires more “grey matters”…

Put the questions to them on how we can study neurological disorders, efficient drug delivery, toxicology, immunology and allergenicity among others. Ask them how many times in their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, they have consumed drugs and medications. I know one of the prominent activists in Malaysia has undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. He would not have been alive today, if not for the animals that were sacrificed during the testing of the many cardiovascular drugs that are in use.

Have these people at least once walked into an animal testing laboratory? Do they know what goes on in there. In Japan, funerals and prayers are carried out for sacrificed animals. Researchers often become so attached to the animals and these animals are given good care during drug testing procedures.

In most countries, laboratories that deal with animals have an ethical code of conduct that has to be strictly adhered to. Committee members would meet regularly to approve procedures. Researchers make sure that pain is minimized during the research process and animals are kept in good living conditions.

Until today, diseases likes Alzheimer and Parkinson’s are not fully studied and understood. Vaccines for various types of cancers are still under development. Animal testing offers the most accurate results as the drugs are tested under the closest conditions to human beings. Transplantation of organs will not be in the mainstream medicine if not for the use of animals in the laboratory. Vaccines for many life threatening diseases like Herpes Simplex, Hepatitis B, Polio, rabies, mumps would not be possible without clinical research on animals. Anesthesia, the procedure to numb a patient during surgery or a diagnostic procedure is available today after being successfully tested on animals. The prominent activist I mentioned earlier would have yelled to death during his bypass surgery if not for anesthesia drugs and procedures.

Human beings are not the only beneficiary in the use of animals in the laboratory. Many pet diseases can be treated today, thanks to the use of animals in drug testing. Pet nutrition has also advanced due to animal testing.

What the government should do is develop proper guidelines on the use of animals in the laboratory to ensure researchers abide to a code of conduct that is accepted globally. Laboratories that use animals in their research should be monitored and regulated. National level bioethics committee is long overdue in Malaysia. All these measures will ensure research is carried out in the most humane and ethical way possible.

Whatever said and done, I will never listen to someone who walks nude on the stage just to protest the use of fur and wool!

By Mahaletchumy Arujanan


Danial Ikhwan Jaafar said...

good day,
i'm just wondering if i can post this up in my blog. of course, i will credit and link it to this blog.

MABIC blog said...

Dear Danial

Yes you may. A link would be great.

Anonymous said...

I cant agree more with you!!
When I read the news, the first thing that came up to my mind was "these protesters, have they even BEEN to an animal testing lab?"

They do not know the consequences of banning animal testing, because they are ignorant in at least find out just how important lab mice are in the entire process of drug design - from discovery to marketing.

They are blinded by plain compassionate which is yes understandable but also ignorant.

Humanist said...

Hi Maha,

I totally agree with you. Now that I have been involved directly in the design and construction of modern animal vivariums & labs, I understand the amount of engineering input that goes in to ensure that these labs are built to strict regulations and guidelines.

All the labs we have designed so far are build to the Internationally recognised AAALAC(Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care)standards which spells out in detail on how the facility should be build and operated for maximum comfort and ethical use of animal for research.

Infact one would be suprised on the level of comfort specified which are even more stringent than for human occupation. Its always a challenge to build these facility considering the strict control for temperature, humidity & lighting level.

I believe that animal testing should only be conducted as last option when all other non-destructive alternative options are found to be not feasible to answer scientific quest.

With proper regulations and guidelines in place, these facilities should be allowed to operate in Malaysia to support Life science research.

Joel William,
M+W Group

kelly said...

Blinded by compassion? Sad to say a handful of vaccines and prescription medicine that have been tested on animals, also harm humans.

For example, antibiotics actually helped to create more superbugs. Essential oils from nature deals with MRSA way better than any biotech product. Rosemary extract preserves oil way better than any biotech product.

To many vegans like me, using animals for testing is needless to us, and an imprisonment and torture for animals.

Animal testing only funds the drug-makers who profit with people's sicknesses and so forth.

Also, find out how many in biotech go missing or mysteriously died. Silences so they can no longer tell the world what this and that do to humans. A very good example for this is Monsanto's genetically modified crops. GMO corn causes infertility. GMO Corn not able to call upon the organisms that protect caterpillars from their parasites.