Anonymous said: Speaking of doing a study on animals, I had someone yell at me on Facebook yesterday about the ALS ice bucket challenge, saying that the ALSA tests on monkeys (injecting chemicals into their spines, was what she told me). I mean, that doesn't exactly surprise me, but is it really as bad as she says, or is it necessary to test on animals in order to get results for people suffering from ALS? Is she overreacting, or are they unnecessarily cruel to animals?
She’s overreacting. (i assume she meant this, or something similar)
There are very strict rules on when and how animal testing can be performed. Fact is, every new medication has been tested on animals first, it’s a fundamental part of how the clinical testing process works. We literally cannot do without because we can’t stick electrodes into human brains, throw experimental treatment that may or may not be entirely useless or worse, toxic, at people and then pray that a miracle happens.
The compromise being made here is the animal model. For human neurological diseases, this is often the monkey model because they’re the closest to us in brain structure and reaction.
Next, the impact on the animals is made as small as possible. If the monkeys were injected with something, they were anesthetized first, not jsut to minimize stress but also to get the ideal result. The article mentions that mice had holes drilled in the skull. These animals are ALWAYS under narcosis when this happen because not just is it otherwise nearly impossible to hit the necessary brain area with an electrode (think of how small mouse brain ARE) but it’s legally forbidden to hurt the animal more than absolute necessary during trials. There are ethic commissions in place for this shit to ensure that the animal is raised, tested on, and euthanized as stress free as possible.
As for the ‘omg stop animal testing’ people are already working on alternative approaches (especially in silica, meaning computer models) but the problem is, we don’t know enough about brains to do that. We need the in vivo model and for that we have two choices: Humans or animals. Experimenting on live humans with experimental drugs, or even doing basic research on them with invasive methods is so many kinds of un-ethical and dangerous I can’t even tell you.
Your friend can yell all she likes, but fact is, medical animal testing is a necessity. Nobody is hugely happy about it because scientists are, contrary to popular belief, not evil sociopaths in white coats but the literal only other option we have is using humans and I’d like to see your friend argue for human experimentation and see how far she gets. People who say that all medical animal testing should be abandoned on the spot might mean well, but they’re delusional. We don’t yet have the means to replace all animal models.