Animal Testing for Pesticides Animal testing is one of the most inexpensive and most reliable means of assuring that a product or medicine is FDA approved for human use. Testing the safety of new pesticides improves agricultural productivity while maintaining human and animal safety (Animals and Society).Toxicology reports can provide an accurate assessment of pesticides effects on humans. Independent laboratories that are monitored by the EPA (Environmental Protection Policy) use animals to test pesticides for hazardous chemicals that can cause humans to experience issues such as eye or skin irritation, rashes, birth defects and even cancer. Toxicity is calculated based on the magnitude of the dose and length of exposure of a chemical. Animal testing is used to quantify the effects of pesticides on living beings. The information provided from these tests is used to calculate a toxicity dose that humans can handle. Considering the fact that pesticides are commonly applied directly to products that humans eat, scientists must also study the effects of digesting the pesticide treated food. Scientists implement animal testing to learn what pesticide dosage an animal can comfortably consume and then use that data to determine the maximum permissible dose for humans. Some pro animal rights advocates believe that animal testing concerning pesticides does not predict human risks such as cancer. However, it was animal testing that lead to the ban of DDT which was suspected to cause cancer, diabetes, and child development problems (Lichtenfeld). Animals and humans are extremely similar in their DNA. Animal testing is the most reliable way to ensure the safety of pesticides used to produce foods. Animal Testing in Cosmetics The cosmetics industry is one of the biggest advocators of animal testing. That is not to say they are promoting the idea of animal testing, but the industry has made it part of their general product resting procedure that animal testing is a necessity that provides their market customers with safe and effective products. Though the concept of running experimental tests on animals in order to formulate a product to enhance one’s image is not the most important of issues to viewers, the way people value cosmetics at this day and age would really makes this branch of personal aesthetics a priority (Lewis). Current social pressures, based upon reputation, social media, and appearance, have caused cosmetic usage to become a priority for all levels of society. Almost every cosmetic product we use, medical procedure we undergo, and medicines we take on a daily basis have been is tested and retested to assure human safety through the use of animals in labs (Lewis). There are thousands of different testing types to allow for all the different forms of cosmetics. Cosmetics is a billion dollar industry that opens up a lot of other industries in the economy as well, so taking this materialistic human need would create an economic crisis far more serious than this issue of debate. In 1930, the FDA made it acceptable to test the products of animals to prevent certain testing incidents from every happening again. Cosmetic manufacturers are now advised to do whatever is appropriate to protect the well-being of consumers. The product also must be used for its original purpose (FDA). There is a financial breakdown of an overall variable view that goes into the different subcomponents of the industry of animal testing and the research that follows up the important business aspect of this argument. Even if companies that do not promote animal testing; that does not mean they are related in some way. The first company type in this process involves animals themselves. An example of this would be if Maybelline (one of the largest cosmetic companies) pays another party to conduct certain tests for their product. This would mean Maybelline is indirectly paying someone to directly use a form of animal testing, making Maybelline responsible for its actions. This is not necessarily wrong or right, but this idea shows how there are many different resources that work together in order for this process to occur. Another subcomponent of this financial breakdown involves companies that do not test animals themselves, but however benefit financially from the use of chemicals that have been tested on animals. A company that creates liquid mineral oils for brand name mascara is reaping in great revenue prices when they are factored into a cosmetic company’s testing procedures. Overall, everything is tied directly or indirectly based off of animal testing since it is a successful testing method that creates different business stimulates that interrelate with one another. Animal Testing in Medicine Although some people believe that it is unethical to experiment on animals, others would argue that animal testing to improve human health and medical discovery is a justified anthropocentric (human centered) value. This perspective supports the idea that humans should decide what value has based on how well human needs are satisfied. Animal testing has proved highly valuable for advancing medical science and promoting human health. Prior to the late 1920’s, diabetes led to a significant amount of human fatalities in all parts of the world. In 1921, animal testing on dogs led to the Nobel Prize winning discovery of insulin as an effective medical treatment for diabetes. “Testing drugs in animals before doing so in humans helps researchers find potential toxic side effects, as well as understand the metabolism of drug compounds and consequent effects seen throughout the body” (Cook, 2006). Animal testing is the most reliable type of testing. “In the case of animal testing, everyone excluding radical animal rightists is willing to balance the human-benefit against the cost to the animals” (Pollan). Scientists rely on animal testing to make the most informed decisions possible about medicine, procedures and products that affect the safety of millions of humans on a daily basis. Furthermore, animal testing has led to the development of drugs and vaccines used against parasitic diseases that affect animals. In fact, over 100 million animals have been saved by inoculation against anthrax, rinderpest (cattle plague), and swine-erysipelas (Animal Health). In addition, Ivermectin (one of the most commonly used veterinary medicines) is used against internal and external parasites such as worms, fleas, and lice in many different animal species. Moreover, Ivermectin has proven to protect against nematode worms that affect millions of humans in the developing world (Animal Health). The numerous and far-reaching benefits to humans and animals provided by animal experimentation outweigh the potential pain that could be inflicted during the experimental process. Common Misconceptions Animal experimentation is often denounced as selfish and inhumane torture on helpless species. A common misconception about animal testing is that it only serves as a test for cosmetic products and benefits only humans. The truth is that animal testing has saved millions of human and animal lives by allowing scientists to test medicines and procedures on the most humanlike organisms. Animal testing plays an enormous role in several crucial medical discoveries, including the creation of antibiotics, blood transfusions, dialysis research, organ transplantation, vaccinations, chemotherapy, bypass surgery, and joint replacement. The results of animal vivisection benefit both humans and animals alike. Vaccines for rabies, distemper, tetanus, and the parvo virus are examples of how animal testing leads to more effective future treatments for animals (Cook, 2006). Furthermore, we can deduce from our research that there are numerous and far-reaching benefits to humans and animals provided by animal experimentation, outweighing the potential of suffering during the experimental process. A common misconception is that household animals are commonly used in animal experimentation. Conversely, this misconception is not true; only 0.3% of cats, dogs, and the like are used while 84% of rats, mice and rodents are used (Cook). Another misconception is that scientists and manufacturers use animal testing as a cheaper and quicker route to FDA approval when there are other viable alternatives available. However, most countries have mandates that legally enforce the use of alternative nonanimal methods when it is not completely necessary to use an animal. Therefore when animals are used, scientists have deemed it to be the only viable method (Alternatives). One more misconception is that animals used in testing are treated poorly and inhumanely. This myth is far from the truth considering that the FDA implements a significant and expensive laboratory oversight specifically designed to assure that animals are used for their intended purposes and are otherwise treated in a humane fashion (FDA). The Problem There are clear ethical arguments against animal experimentation. For example, some laboratory mice are given an illness so that the effectiveness of a new drug can be measured. Adversaries of this research method argue that humans do not have the right to subject animals to this kind of trauma, because the lives of all creatures should be respected. This perspective advocates biocentric values that focus on the rights and well-being of individual organisms. Proponents of this biocentric perspective believe that we should attempt to minimize pain, suffering, confinement, and the taking of lives. In fact, some opponents to animal testing believe that the benefits to humans do not justify the suffering caused by animal testing; therefore, scientists should use alternative methods of research. Unfortunately, modern technology cannot replicate living organism’s bodily functions precisely enough to offer alternative testing methods that are as medically insightful as the vivisection of animals. Alternative methods to animal testing such as cellular, DNA, or protein tests, are not able to replicate effects on blood pressure due to their lack of a circulatory system. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to accurately predict how a drug might be metabolized without first introducing it to an organism with a liver. Computer programs intended to simulate living organisms are limited and cannot fully and accurately replicate reactions between organs, blood flow, and other biological responses needed to safeguard foods, drugs, and cosmetics. Therefore, there is no way to ban the experimentation of animals without simultaneously hindering scientific advancement. Cruel and inhumane: Animal testing is cruel and inhumane. According to Humane Society International, animals used in experiments are commonly subjected to force feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation, prolonged periods of physical restraint, the infliction of burns and other wounds to study the healing process, the infliction of pain to study its effects and remedies, and "killing by carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck-breaking, decapitation, or other means." The Draize eye test, used by cosmetics companies to evaluate irritation caused by shampoos and other products, involves rabbits being incapacitated in stocks with their eyelids held open by clips, sometimes for multiple days, so they cannot blink away the products being tested. The commonly used LD50 (lethal dose 50) test involves finding out which dose of a chemical will kill 50% of the animals being used in the experiment. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in 2010 that 97,123 animals suffered pain during experiments while being given no anesthesia for relief, including 1,395 primates, 5,996 rabbits, 33,652 guinea pigs, and 48,015 hamsters. Alternative testing methods now exist that can replace the need for animals. In vitro (in glass) testing, such as studying cell cultures in a petri dish, can produce more relevant results than animal testing because human cells can be used. Microdosing, the administering of doses too small to cause adverse reactions, can be used in human volunteers, whose blood is then analyzed. Artificial human skin, such as the commercially available products EpiDerm and ThinCert, is made from sheets of human skin cells grown in test tubes or plastic wells and can produce more useful results than testing chemicals on animal skin. Microfluidic chips ("organs on a chip"), which are lined with human cells and recreate the functions of human organs, are in advanced stages of development. Computer models, such as virtual reconstructions of human molecular structures, can predict the toxicity of substances without invasive experiments on animals. Drugs that pass animal tests are not necessarily safe. The 1950s sleeping pill thalidomide, which caused 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities, was tested on animals prior to its commercial release. Later tests on pregnant mice, rats, guinea pigs, cats, and hamsters did not result in birth defects unless the drug was administered at extremely high doses. Animal tests on the arthritis drug Vioxx showed that it had a protective effect on the hearts of mice, yet the drug went on to cause more than 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled from the market. 95% of animals used in experiments are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act. The AWA does not cover rats, mice, fish and birds, which comprise around 95% of the animals used in research. The AWA covered 1,134,693 animals used for testing in fiscal year 2010, which leaves around 25 million other animals that are not covered. These animals are especially vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse without the protection of the AWA. Most experiments involving animals are flawed, wasting the lives of the animal subjects. A 2009 peer-reviewed study found serious flaws in the majority of publicly funded US and UK animal studies using rodents and primates. 87% of the studies failed to randomize the selection of animals (a technique used to reduce "selection bias") and 86% did not use "blinding" (another technique to reduce researcher bias). Also, "only 59% of the studies stated the hypothesis or objective of the study and the number and characteristics of the animals used." Since the majority of animals used in biomedical research are killed during or after the experiments, and since many suffer during the studies, the lives and wellbeing of animals are routinely sacrificed for poor research. The Animal Welfare Act has not succeeded in preventing horrific cases of animal abuse in research laboratories. In Mar. 2009, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) found 338 possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act at the federally funded New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) in Louisiana. Some of the primates housed at NIRC were suffering such severe psychological stress that they engaged in self-mutilation, "tearing gaping wounds into their arms and legs." Video footage shows infant chimps screaming as they are forcibly removed from their mothers, infant primates awake and alert during painful experiments, and chimpanzees being intimidated and shot with a dart gun. In a 2011 incident at the University of California at Davis Center for Neuroscience, "three baby mice were found sealed alive in a plastic baggie and left unattended" on a laboratory counter, according to the Sacramento Bee. . . . Medical breakthroughs involving animal research may still have been made without the use of animals. There is no evidence that animal experiments were essential in making major medical advances, and if enough money and resources were devoted to animalfree alternatives, other solutions would be found. Blood cells save 500,000 rabbits every year. The 21st of March, 2006, was an important day for many laboratory rabbits, since that was the day that members of the ECVAM Scientifi c Advisory Committee (ESAC) issued a statement to the European Commission recommending fi ve tests for the replacement of the rabbit pyrogen test. The pyrogen test is a safety test for the detection of contaminants in medical products. The new assays use cell cultures instead of live rabbits. Experts estimate that these new methods will save the lives of 200,000 rabbits in the EU and of half a million rabbits worldwide every year. Pyrogens are substances that can induce fever in humans and even life-threatening shocks. Before medical products are put on the market, they therefore have to be tested for these undesired substances. For more than fi fty years, pyrogen detection relied on the use of rabbits: In the rabbit in vivo test, a sample of the medical product was injected into the animals, and their body temperature measured and recorded. An increase in body temperature indicated pyrogen contamination. The fi ve assays endorsed by ESAC in 2006 can fully replace the rabbit pyrogen test. They offer a number of advantages: they take less time, are less costly, and show better sensitivity. All of the new tests are conducted using human blood cells in vitro. Complete replacement of the Draize test foreseeable The Draize test for eye irritation, which was developed in the 1940s, uses rabbits to test whether chemicals, cosmetics, or pharmaceutical products irritate the eye. The substance is applied to the eye of the animal and irritation is measured. Today, substances are started out at being evaluated in non-animal in vitro methods. Severely irritant and corrosive substances are not further tested on the eyes of rabbits. Only chemicals that have revealed no effects in non-animal tests are applied, in strongly diluted form, to the eyes of animals. Nevertheless, this does not suffi ce. The search for a replacement test continues. In this context, a very promising approach being assessed is the artifi cial generation of the human cornea making use of the respective cell types. Such cultured cornea epithels are already available on the market. The reason the scientists are focusing on the cornea is that it is the fi rst layer to come into contact with chemicals when they enter the eye. Another method to replace such substance evaluations on the eyes of living animals makes use of the eyes of dead cattle and chickens from the abattoir. It is also in this area that progress has been made in recent years. Thus, it is to be hoped that these tests will be able to fully replace the Draize test in Europe in the foreseeable future, thereby finally completing the step from “reduce” to “replace”. Experiments with animals only after extensive test batteries. Today, computer methods also contribute towards reducing animal experiments. In drug discovery and development, for example, potential points of therapeutic intervention in the organism, the so-called drug targets, are identifi ed in a fi rst step. Once suffi cient information is available – for instance regarding drug binding sites – compounds can be designed on the computer that fi t into these binding sites. This process is called computer modelling. With the help of computers (the socalled in silico methods) and in automated tests (the so-called high-throughput screening), out of tens of thousands of substances, those compounds are identifi ed that show the desired results in vitro (mostly in cell cultures). Only these few substances are then further investigated in studies using animals. However, drugs do not only have to be effective, but they should also be safe. An initial prediction, whether a compound may possibly trigger side effects in the organism, can be made with the so-called QSAR methods (quantitative structureactivity relationship). The basic assumption in a QSAR model is that similar molecules will show similar harmful effects. Another method aiming in a related direction is presented on page 24 below. For many years it has been thought that one day it would be possible to fully replace the testing of compounds by in silico methods – that is, by modelling the effects of compounds in the computer. However, this will not be possible in the foreseeable future, due to the complexity of the human body. No training without trust To build trust, it is also important to provide the animals with the time necessary to become accustomed to their new en vironment – to noises, the daily routine, the food, and, of course, to us care staff. Once trust has been established between the caretaker and the animal, the training programme can begin. The animals learn to be handled directly by humans by being petted and stroked every day. They have to learn to accept my reaching into the cage. In the next phase, the primates learn to voluntarily present an arm or a leg from the cage. This is important for the experiments to come, when blood samples must be taken from the animals (see picture below left). In the tests using longtail macaques, usually a substance is administered and then blood samples are taken over the course of two to three days. After that, the animals have a resting period that lasts a month. Thus, the animals are trained in order to cooperate during the experiments. This reduces the distress for the animal and also for the caretaker when collecting blood samples and the research data are more reliable. For this reason, a lot of time is invested in training the animals, usually one to one and a half years.” Legally required testing As regards legally required testing, international committees determine, which 3Rs methods may be used. The protocols to perform tests with alternative methods have been laid down in detail. At fi rst, these protocols were prevalidated – that is, they were tested for their suitabi lity. In Europe, ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods) is responsible for such scientifi c validation. By the spring of 2007, a total of 25 alternative methods have been validated by ECVAM, and ten of them have been accepted by regulatory authorities, such as the OECD (all of these are methods for the toxicological testing of chemicals or medications). At the same time, another 40 methods were in the fi nal phase of the time-consuming and costly validation process and 190 in the initial phase.