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Something awful

  1. Apr 7, 2005 #1

    cronxeh

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    http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/rabbit.html

    Uhh.. I'm disgusted by this. I mean, seriously, why are we so cruel to animals :mad:

    I have to point this out.. these experiments are not science. I mean its simply stupidity. By running these experiments on rabbits and seeking statistical relations, and looking for 'patterns' or experimenting and tinkering to see what would happen -- on living things -- is just, plain, stupid.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2005
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  3. Apr 7, 2005 #2

    brewnog

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    While those pictures are by no means pleasant, I'd ask you the following:

    i. Are you vegan? Around a third of those pictures show farming. Animals being kept for food. Nothing to do with science, or stupidity.

    ii. When was the last time you used any kind of cosmetic product or medicine?

    iii. Do you really think that massive testing labs would be set up just because some "sadists" wanted to "tinker"? Unpleasant though it seems, these labs do have a purpose.
     
  4. Apr 7, 2005 #3

    cronxeh

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    I'm not a vegan - I eat cheese and drink milk, and yogurt and many other wonderful products that could be made biochemically. I'm talking about the medical pictures - I'm first hand familiar with the practices, as my father used to have a whole bunch of those rabbits. Back then I was maybe 10-14, and didnt really ask that much what he did with them. Come to think about it, we'd bury 3-5 bunnies a week. The results? What results. If you are incapable of predicting the effects of a drug by analytical means then you are not a scientist and should probably head back to class instead of taking a big screwdriver and trying to dig into a motherboard of living things
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2005
  5. Apr 7, 2005 #4

    brewnog

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    Sorry bud, it's not that simple.

    You can probably imagine the amount spent per year on live animal testing and research. It clearly costs a lot to rear, feed, store and dispose of these animals. If you are suggesting that all reactions of a new medicine/make-up/shampoo could be predicted by a guy with a calculator, then perhaps you'd be able to explain all this "unnecessary" expense involved in running testing labs?

    I realise that many companies (notably the Body Shop) are against animal testing, but their products are all based on substances which have, in the past, been empirically shown to be safe. If this ethic were applied across the board, we would never be able to develop any new drugs.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2005 #5

    cronxeh

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    That is not true.

    I want you to give me at least one example where you need to use animal testing instead of analytical methods
     
  7. Apr 7, 2005 #6
    Sorry, guy, he's right. Animal testing is required for every new pharmacological compound created. If you can think of an analytical test that can be used to determine the outcome of an untested drug on a complex biological system, a complex biological system that is still far from being completely understood keep in mind, without using an actual test biological system (i.e. a model organism) please tell us what that analytical method is. Because I'm sure us scientists would rather not have to hurt animals if we don't have to.

    There's this myth floating around that animal experimentation can be just done "on computers." This is ridiculous and I'm not sure where it started. A few years ago there was a computer program that simulated frog dissection for squeamish high school students. Maybe that's where the myth started.
     
  8. Apr 7, 2005 #7
    Cronex, we live in hell.
     
  9. Apr 7, 2005 #8

    Monique

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    There should be a clear scientific merit for testing to be performed on animals. Analytical testing alone doesn't tell what the effects of the substance is in a living organism, so testing on animals will be necessary and probably always will be. There are alternatives such as skin cultured in vitro, but that is only useful to study topical application.

    I'm not sure what kind of experiments you are referring to, maybe you should clarify.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2005 #9

    cronxeh

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    gah I guess I live a bit ahead of time.

    Systems biology should eliminate the need to torture any animals in the future. Give it 10-15 years.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2005 #10

    DocToxyn

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    I bet you already know of some examples. How about any of the drugs that are released as the next "wonder pill" and then go on to cause completely unpredictable side effects once released into the market. If you wish to eliminate animal testing, just think about how many drugs ultimately end up causing dangerous effects in humans and had already made it through some very rigorous testing regimes, do you want occurence of such to be magnified 100...1000 times?

    To be able to predict what effects any drug might have in the already complicated system of an adult human is beyond any molecular modeling or predictive pharmacology/toxicology program and when you lay the developing human on top of that it becomes even worse. Yes there are such predictive systems in use and they serve their purpose, typically in the very early drug discovery/development/design phases of bringing a drug to market. However they are by no means a substitute for animal testing. There are just too many uncertainties and the last thing you want is a drug slipping by that then wreaks havoc on the population. Do you want to tell the parents of a child who is grossly deformed or worse that your computer modeling and analytical methods told you the drug was perfectly safe, when an simple animal test would have immediately eliminated that drugs chances of reaching the market?
     
  12. Apr 7, 2005 #11

    Moonbear

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    For starters, that site serves no purpose other than to inflame emotional reactions. There is no discussion of the scientific merits of any of the studies being conducted. Most of the pictures are from the 1980s. Rules regarding animal research 25 years ago were very different from what they are now. For example, one photo had a caption explaining the rabbit was used for multiple experiments. Re-use of animals for multiple experiments is currently prohibited without justification to an animal use committee. One justification might be that the animal was used as a control in one experiment and could then be used in an additional experiment to reduce the number of animals used overall.

    Some of those photos also look worse than what they are. In order to perform sterile surgery on an animal, a large area of fur is shaved (so you don't get dirty fur into an incision), so those big bald, pinkish areas in some of those images are just showing proper surgical, sterile technique has been used (also, betadine, used as an antiseptic scrub, will make the skin look yellow or darkish brown or red depending on the lighting for a photo, and can easily be mistaken by the untrained eye as dried blood...of course sites like that will choose the photo that looks the worst).

    As for needing to use animals vs analytical techniques, if an analytical technique can be used, the research is probably redundant with something already done. There is no analytical, computer model, or in vitro system that completely models how things work in a living system. Indeed, this complexity is a major challenge to biological and biomedical research. What works on cells cultured in a petri dish can behave entirely differently in vivo.
     
  13. Apr 7, 2005 #12
    i read a book once, where they were testing out some new drug, and they weren't sure how a human would react, so they put it on the streets. They made it out to be like, better than crack, and then people bought it, andthen they just watched the population of bums and hobo's change. This drug happened to be lethal in large doses, so the homeless or poor people or whoever took the drug were like OD-ing all the time.

    Anyways, i thought it was an interesting idea... not that i condone it... just saying. I mean animal testing is really sorta like that anyways. Just instead of taking the worst from our own species, we use another. Course, the way the book did it, we also had the added benifit of reducing the population, reducing crime, reducing poverty and all that jazz... anyways, i'm just saying... don't start attacking me...
     
  14. Apr 7, 2005 #13

    cronxeh

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    Some drugs have negative effects on animals and do no harm to humans and vice versa. Its speculation that what works on an 'alike' mouse or rabbit will also work on humans - and why, I ask, are we told that there is evolution if we test these products on inferior subjects?

    The drug works on a molecular level - sure there are many unknowns, but in the future it shouldnt be a problem to predict exactly how it will affect a human being - whats more - you could customize each drug to every DNA. Far fetched? I think not
     
  15. Apr 7, 2005 #14

    cronxeh

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    Well ok this is in the United States, and perhaps after PETA or whoever was lobbying Congress to make changes. But there are still countries that dont have such laws. And if the pictures were meant to be emotional so what then - this is life and its being tortured. I'm not the biggest hippy perhaps but I know whats bad when I see it
     
  16. Apr 7, 2005 #15

    Moonbear

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    First, animals are not "tortured" in research. As I mentioned above, regulations are quite different from what they were 25 and 40 years ago, when many of those pictures on those "shock" sites were taken. Many photos are also not of legitimate research, but staged by animal rights activists to look worse than what they are. Occasionally, mistreatment of animals does occur, and when someone is caught doing that, it IS career-ending. The validity of research results obtained from stressed animals, unless you are studying stress, is completely untrustworthy, and no reputable scientist would conduct an experiment in such a manner.

    However, we are a LOT further than 10 to 15 years from eliminating the need for animals in research. We are only at the tip of the iceberg of understanding how living organisms function. Actually, if we can entirely model a living organism with a computer, we'll be done with biological research; that means we'll have all the answers. We're nowhere close to that.

    Certainly there is a place for in vitro testing. It's a good starting place to screen drugs and test cellular mechanisms to eliminate experiments that shouldn't even be considered for conducting in animals. In this regard, it does protect the animals. But, at some point, there is no substitute for the whole animal model.
     
  17. Apr 7, 2005 #16
    Sure, there's some side effects that show up in lab animals but not humans, and vice versa. That's why drugs are tested among healthy human volunteers before being released to the general public. But in general, the lab animals are usually quite accurate. And that's fine with me, because I'd rather poison a rat to death then even a voluntary human subject.

    Could there be some point in the future where it's not needed anymore? Sure, hypothetically. But I think it's more far-fetched then you think it is, it will certainly take longer than 10-15 years as you suggest. That said, there's no good reason to stop animal testing now and wait until that happens.

    Feel free to get a science education and work on such a system yourself, or volunteer for medical testing, or simply boycott all pharmaceuticals yourself. Might as well be proactive.
     
  18. Apr 8, 2005 #17

    ShawnD

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    That sounds like a Soylent Green type deal where people are nothing more than sheep. Could you give me the name of said book? It sounds interesting.


    I can understand the desire to stop animal testing, but unless you are yourself volunteering for research, I don't see what you are doing to fix the problem. We can either be jackasses who kill insane amounts of animals, or we completely stop all research; both choices have up and down sides.
    Not killing animals is always a good thing, but on the other hand, synthesis of insulin and the cure for diabetes are both attributed to animal testing.

    It's absolutely impossible to predict how specific drugs will affect specific animals. We can't even do reliable predictions in chemistry, and chemistry is a hell of a lot simpler than biology. If we knew how drugs affected humans by doing some calculations and what not, we would have easily cured every disease ever known to exist. Until we can do that, we'll just have to stick to the current guess-and-test method of doing things.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2005 #18

    Moonbear

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    Scientists uphold very strong ethical standards when it comes to animal research. Regulations in many other countries are even stricter than in the U.S., to the point of becoming burdensome to research. They are getting that way here too. The changes still ongoing are not doing anything real in terms of improving care for animals, we already have high standards, they are just adding administrative layers and mounds more paperwork. The standards of care are also maintained by scientific journals. If you do not meet those standards of care, you will not be able to publish any of your work.

    In regard to your second point, that you know what's bad when you see it...do you really? Many of the captions on that site do not fit with what is actually going on. To an untrained eye, it may sound bad, but when you really look at what's going on with a trained eye, there is no cruelty going on.

    I can't comment on the farming pictures; there's no way to know if those were really the cages the rabbits were housed in, which would be considered overcrowding, or if they were placed in those smaller cages for shipping (less space during transportation means less room to slide around and get injured, just like you would put the family dog into a shipping crate to take to the vet). There's also no way to verify the claim of how that rabbit was killed, whether it really was via a blow to the head with a pipe or some other means not photographed. Once the rabbit was dead, the rest of those photos are nothing odd; when any animal is slaughtered, you cut the jugulars and hang them to drain the blood. And the method of skinning the rabbit is the way you would skin any animal. If the meat is to be used, you need to remove the intestines so the meat isn't contaminated with bacteria. Again, all done after the animal is dead, so no cruelty there.

    For the photos of medical research, let's work our way through them one by one. I'll admit, I'm uncertain what the first one is intended to be. The photo is also undated, so no idea when that was done either.

    In photo 2, this is a pretty proper surgical set-up. All of the brown "stuff" on the belly of the animal is the betadine surgical scrub to keep the area sterile. If you went in for surgery, they'd prep you the same way. The surgeon in the photo is properly gowned and gloved, indicating this is being done as a sterile procedure. The metal surgical table is proper as well, as that allows for easy cleanup and sanitization of the work area, so everything is on the up-and-up. That the caption says this has been witnessed being done without anesthesia is pretty unbelievable. First, that cannot be in any way verified, and second, rabbits don't just lie still if they are unanesthetized. It would be more trouble than it's worth even if someone were nuts enough to try it. Therefore, that claim lacks any credibility.

    Photo 3, probably is what it says it is, a rabbit recovering from surgery. The large shaved patch of skin on its side is evidence of this. That's all that you're seeing there, pink skin where the fur was shaved to keep the surgical area clean. It's a proper surgical prep. However, again, the caption tacks on that the rabbit went on to be used for more experiments. What exactly that's supposed to mean is unclear. Perhaps the person taking photographs doesn't understand the experiment and that the surgery is part of an experiment not THE experiment. Note that any of the surgical procedures shown could be something as simple as spaying the rabbit.

    Photo 4 claims to be a "teaching experiment" and argues that this is of little or no value to humans. However, they don't explain anything about what is being taught in this exercise. Are these surgeons learning to use a new piece of equipment before practicing with it on humans? Or veterinary students learning how to properly anesthetize a rabbit and treat it?

    Photo 5, yes, there will be dead bodies disposed of once the animals are euthanized (you'll find the same in the freezer of any animal shelter or veterinary office). Don't you find it odd that these folks seem to have cameras with them at all times, yet never manage to get photos of their more outrageous claims, such as that live rabbits were bludgeoned with a pipe? Surely that would have been worthy of a photograph if they really saw that happening, because that would be cause for filing animal cruelty charges against whoever did that.

    Photo 6 is using the ear vein to collect blood or provide an injection. This is NOT painful to the rabbit as the caption states. It's no different than taking blood from the vein in your arm, actually; the ear vein is so prominent and easily accessed that an injection or blood sampling can be done very quickly. Even if you took your pet rabbit to the vet and they needed to take a blood sample for a test or to give it a shot of medicine, or anesthetize it to spay it, the ear vein is the vein they'd use. On rabbits, it's the most easily accessible vein. The veins in the legs are deeper and would be more painful to access than the one in the ear, so unlike dogs or cats where the vet will use the leg to get a blood sample or to administer drugs, in a rabbit, the ear vein is used. Although, a few things in that photo suggest it has been staged. First, the angle of the syring/needle looks too shallow, and there's a hint in the photo past the person's thumb, that the needle has not been inserted but is lying on top of the ear. Second, the placement of the person's thumb on the ear is not in the right place (it would be in a good spot for them to stick themself with the needle though). Third, the way the syringe is being held is the way actors hold syringes in movies, but isn't the way most medical professionals and scientists would hold a syringe for giving an actual injection. Fourth, you would normally shave the ear in a small area where you will give the injection to keep it clean. And fifth, I have no idea what that restraint box thing is that's being used, but normal people giving a rabbit an injection will just hold it in their arms to do the procedure (you could be done with the injection and have the rabbit back in its cage in the time it would take you to get it into something like that). Someone giving a real injection would also be wearing gloves.

    I'm probably running out of room here. I think you get the point. Oh, also take note that photo #13 is identical to photo #3, except they've fiddled with the color and contrast to make the healthy pink skin seen in #3 look harshly red in #13.
     
  20. Apr 10, 2005 #19

    cronxeh

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    Moonbear have you ever done experiments involving animals (that would die)?

    My father is a surgeon and back in the old USSR I remember his research - as a matter of fact I'd bury 5-6 rabbits a week, and we farmed them by the dozens. So in regard to 'other countries' I'll agree to disagree. Ive seen many other institutions that would conduct such research, and this wasnt done in some Nowhere, Russia place either.
     
  21. Apr 10, 2005 #20
    I can understand your empathy for animals. I believe empathy is a sign of intelligence. At the same time I don't trust the webiste you used as a link because it has its own proactive agenda and makes claims to the emotional states of people in photos who are obviously just doing their jobs.

    What I do have a problem with, and did before I saw your link, is factory farming. It's not just with rabbits. It's with all farm animals. There definitely is a lack of empathy for these animals that is frightening to me. I can understand the raising and slaughtering of farm animals for food. What I don't understand is that economy seems to be more important than compassion. Living in tiny cages and being fed the cheapest food and growth hormones. There should be some respect for life even if it means we pay a few more cents/pound at the market.

    I'm rather glad that testing is done on animals first rather than humans. On a large scale I value human life over animal life. What I'm afraid of is that the same lack of 'economy at the expense of compassion' mentality holds true for the scientific community as it does for factory farming. Those pictures of the rabbit with the burns, for example, bothered me. I can only imagine they were testing some new skin grafting technique or some salve for healing burns and they needed to let the burn heal in order to test the procedure. (The site doesn't go into detail but conveys only the information they want us to believe. It's highly slanted) They also claimed that sometimes the rabbits are discarded while still living, yet offer no evidence. I don't doubt at all that there are abuses and there should be concern for the treatment of animals, but it is easy to make laws that promote economy and impossible to make laws that promote morality. Morality is a choice.

    On a side note, I read that the first vaccinations for malaria were tested on prisoners. I believe the prison was near Chicago.

    What was the question?
    Huck
     
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