Animal Research & Experimentation
Kristin Will

    Animals are used in a wide variety of ways to perform biomedical research.Vivisection, the practice of invasive experimentation on animals, began because of religious prohibitions against the dissection of human corpses. A question arises in regard to this issue as to whether or not this practice is ethical. Those who support the use of animals in research promote that there are striking similarities between the physiological systems of humans and various species of animals. Because it is important to be able to gauge how a new drug, procedure, or product will affect a whole biological system before using it on humans, they believe that laboratory animals are an integral part of the research process. Others who oppose this practice believe that vivisection denies animals the basic rights that any innocent, conscious being deserves: freedom from exploitation, purposefully inflicted suffering, and captivity. The websites listed below address both sides of the issue.

Foundation for Biomedical Research
The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) was established in 1981 to improve the quality of human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support of the ethical use of animals in scientific and medical research.  FBR produces a wide variety of educational resources -- videos, posters, brochures, etc. -- to help the general public understand why animals are so important in the search for new and better ways to treat the diseases that afflict both people and animals.  This site contains answers to common questions on animal research, general research facts and information, and membership information.

The Absurdity of Vivisection
This website opens with a quote of the week clearly expressing its views on the issue: "This wild blood-lust, starting with animal vivisection and proceeding to human mutilation, stamps 'modern medicine' as the most primitive religion ever known to mankind" (Professor Robert Mendelsohn, foreword to Slaughter of the Innocents). Other interesting quotes by notable individuals such as Albert Einstein,  Mark Twain, and Mahatma Gandhi are also included. In addition, images of animal experiments are included with warning signs to sensitive viewers due to graphic and possibly distressful contents.

A Critical Look at Animal Experimentation
This simple website outlines the designers' beliefs that animal experimentation is an unsound method to examine human disease processes. According to them, considerable evidence demonstrates that animal experimentation is inefficient and unreliable, while newly developed methodologies are more valid and less expensive than animal studies. Specifically, they focus on animal research that has been done for cancer, AIDS, degenerative neurological diseases, psychiatry and psychology, and genetic diseases and offer alternative methods of research such as epidemiology, autopsy and biopsy, and patient studies.

Animal Research is Vital to Medicine
This is a feature article on the Scientific American website. The authors hold that "to restrict research with animals would prevent discoveries that would benefit humankind." Their intent is to show exactly where they regard animal research to have been essential in the past and to point to where they believe it will be vital in the future.

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals
This site was developed by the American Psychological Association's Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE). It includes guidelines that were developed by the APA for use by psychologists working with nonhuman animals. This is just an example of one set of guidelines that a professional organization must follow when using animals in their experiments.

PETA on Animal Experimentation
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), based in Norfolk, is an organization that strongly opposes vivisection for any reasons, including dissection in classrooms and testing for cosmetic and toiletry products. This website explains their stance and offers alternatives to animal use. It also has an article commenting on the EPA's chemical toxicity testing, whom PETA says uses more animals than any other federal agency.

Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation l
The mission of Americans for Medical Progress is to bolster public understanding and support of the humane use of animals in medical research. Their website includes examples of benefits for humans that would not have been attained without animal research and a timeline of medical advances through animal research. It also has links to articles on the issue that have been in the news and comments on the animal rights movement.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society
This colorful, informative, and easy-to-navigate site displays new features each day regarding animal experimentation and research issues. It also contains membership information for those interested.
Developed by the Anti-Vivisection Society, this website serves as a comprehensive online resource that uses the Internet to disseminate legal and legislative information as it pertains to animal issues. This site is available to attorneys, law students, animal advocates and members of the general public who are conducting research in this area.