Directions: The following prompt is based on the accompanying seven sources.
This question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Synthesis refers to combining the sources and your position to form a cohesive, supported argument and accurately citing sources. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument. Avoid merely summarizing sources.
Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.
The practice of experimenting on animals has always been controversial. In pursuit of scientific knowledge, animal testing is essential, but as the word testing implies, such experiments are often harmful or ineffective. Over the decades scientists have had to choose whether to put morals over advancements, ultimately determining the fate of countless animals.
Read the following sources (including the introduction) carefully. Then, write an essay in which you formulate a position on the issue of animal experimentation. Synthesize at least three of the sources for support.
You may refer to the sources by their titles (Source A, Source B, etc.) or by the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (PETA)
Source B (Cartoon)
Source C (Murray)
Source D (Botting)
Source E (Cons Against)
Source F (Bantwal)
Source G (The Daily Telegraph)
“Animal Experimentation Benefits AIDS Research”
In December 1995, AIDS patient Jeff Getty underwent an experimental treatment that involved injecting bone marrow cells from a baboon into his body to bolster his immune system (baboons are immune to the AIDS virus). The loss of the donor baboon was tolerable because scientists and doctors should use all methods at hand when combating deadly human diseases. Like the many other treatments and medicines that have contributed to improved human health, the cure for AIDS will undoubtedly come through animal experimentation. (Editor’s note: Getty’s body rejected the baboon cells, but he continues to look for other cures.)
Murray, Joseph E. “Animal Experimentation Benefits AIDS Research.” At Issue: Animal Experimentation. Ed. David M. Haugen. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Abington Sr High School. 15 Apr. 2010 .
“Animal Research Is Vital to Medicine”
In the mid-19th century, most debilitating diseases resulted from bacterial or viral infections, but at the time, most physicians considered these ailments to be caused by internal derangements of the body. The proof that such diseases did in fact derive from external microorganisms originated with work done by the French chemist Louis Pasteur and his contemporaries, who studied infectious diseases in domestic animals. Because of his knowledge of how contaminants caused wine and beer to spoil, Pasteur became convinced that microorganisms were also responsible for diseases such as chicken cholera and anthrax. To test his hypothesis, Pasteur examined the contents of the guts of chickens suffering from cholera; he isolated a possible causative microbe and then grew the organism in culture. Samples of the culture given to healthy chickens and rabbits produced cholera, thus proving that Pasteur had correctly identified the offending organism. By chance, he noticed that after a time, cultures of the microorganisms lost their ability to infect.
But birds given the ineffective cultures became resistant to fresh batches that were otherwise lethal to untreated birds. Physicians had previously observed that among people who survived a severe attack of certain diseases, recurrence of the disease was rare; Pasteur had found a means of producing this resistance without risk of disease. This experience suggested to him that with the administration of a weakened culture of the disease-causing bacteria, doctors might be able to induce in their patients immunity to infectious diseases. In similar studies on rabbits and guinea pigs, Pasteur isolated the microbe that causes anthrax and then developed a vaccine against the deadly disease. With the information from animal experiments—obviously of an extent that could never have been carried out on humans—he proved not only that infectious diseases could be produced by microorganisms but also that immunization could protect against these diseases.
Botting, Jack H, and Aaron R. Morrison. “Animal Research Is Vital to Medicine.” Current Controversies: The Rights of Animals. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Abington Sr High School. 15 Apr. 2010 .
“Cons Against Animal Testing.” About Animal Testing. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. This is an excerpt from the article titled “Using Animals for Testing: Pros versus Cons”. In animal testing, countless animals are experimented on and then killed after their use. Others are injured and will still live the remainder of their lives in captivity. The unfortunate aspect is that many of these animals received tests for substances that will never actually see approval or public consumption and use. It is this aspect of animal testing that many view as a major negative against the practice. This aspect seems to show the idea that the animal died in vain because no direct benefit to humans occurred from the animal testing. Another con on the issue of animal testing is the sheer cost. Animal testing generally costs an enormous amount of money. Animals must be fed, housed, cared for and treated with drugs or a similar experimental substance.
The controlled environment is important but it comes with a high cost. On top of that, animal testing may occur more than once and over the course of months, which means that additional costs are incurred. The price of animals themselves must also be factored into the equation. There are companies who breed animals specifically for testing and animals can be purchased through them. There is also the argument that the reaction of a drug in an animal’s body is quite different from the reaction in a human. The main criticism here is that some believe animal testing is unreliable. Following on that criticism is the premise that because animals are in an unnatural environment, they will be under stress. Therefore, they won’t react to the drugs in the same way compared to their potential reaction in a natural environment. This argument further weakens the validity of animal experimentation.
Bantwal, Natasha. “Arguments Against Animal Testing.” Buzzle.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. This is an excerpt from the article “Arguments Against Animal Testing” by Natasha Bantwal. The most commonly held perception (or rather misconception) of animal testing is that it is necessary for the development of cures, vaccines and other treatments for human illnesses.
Not only do animals react differently from humans where drugs, experiments and vaccines are concerned, but they also tend to react differently from each other. Ignoring these differences has been and will continue to be extremely costly to human health.
One of the most famous examples when it comes to the dangers of animal experimentation would have to be the Thalidomide Tragedy of the 60’s and 70’s. Thalidomide was a drug that came out of the German market and was previously considered to be safely tested on thousands and thousands of animals. It was then marketed as a wonder drug; an amazing sedative for breastfeeding or pregnant mothers and it supposedly could cause no harm to either the mother or the child. Despite this apparent ‘safety testing’, tens of thousands of children whos mothers had used this drug were born with severe deformities.
Another good example of the dangers of animal testing is Clioquinol, which was also supposed to be safely tested on animals and later on had a severely adverse impact on humans. Manufactures in the 70’s in Japan, it was marketed as a wonder drug for providing relief from diarrhea. Not only did it not work on humans, but it even cause diarrhea in them! As a result of this drug being administered to the public, thousands of cases of paralysis and blindness and thousands of death cases occurred all over.
Animal testing will continue to confuse all issues and their results will most definitely be precise and accurate. There is no basic connection between animal testing and the human health. The general belief in the goodness of animal testing is basically the result of brainwashing that the general public has been subjected to for a long, long time. Behind these torturous practices are the pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars on financing and publicizing the research universities and institutes. I rest my case.