Animal testing dates back to around 150 AD with the Greek doctor, Galen, who studied animals. Over 400 years ago, William Harvey studied animals to determine how blood circulated in the body. Due to the rise of physiology as a science, “the ‘modern era’ of animal research started about 150 years ago” (Understanding Animal Research 1). Doctors and scientists have developed many significant advances in medical treatments because of animal research beginning so long ago.
Due to animal testing, scientists have made many medical breakthroughs in the past that proves the importance of animal research. One example involves the revolutionization of penicillin. After Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, about ten years later, Ernest Chain and Howard Florey began to test animals for penicillin’s medicinal benefits. In the experiment, the scientists injected eight mice with a lethal dose of streptococci bacteria. The scientists then administered penicillin to four of the infected mice after an hour. The mice that received the penicillin survived while the untreated mice did not. This simple experiment “revolutionized the ability to treat ...
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...t, the effects on humans can be disastrous. In one example, a pharmaceutical company developed a drug called ‘Elixir Sulfanilamide.’ No one warned the head pharmacist and chemist that this drug was poisonous to humans. The release of this drug caused the deaths of more than a hundred people―no scientists tested this drug on animals beforehand (Hajar 1).
In another instance, the drug thalidomide, created in the late 1950s, “proclaimed to be a ‘wonder drug’ for insomnia, coughs, colds, and headaches” (Hajar 1). This drug also seemed to relieve morning sickness; therefore, many pregnant women took the drug. No scientists performed tests on pregnant animals before administering the drug to the public. The article “Animal Testing and Medicine” states that the drug caused more than “10,000 children in 46 different countries to be born with malformations or missing limbs.”
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