The time is coming to the end of my final term ever as an undergraduate and as I have matured over my last three years, I have found myself becoming ever more involved with the politics of this country. I do not hide the fact that I am an avid Green Party supporter, I am a sucker to great humanist like policies; such as more funding for research, free Higher Education (HE) fees and a living wage for all. I just want to be involved in make a difference that will truly benefit anyone; unlike some people.
However, I found myself scrolling through the twitterverse and I stumbled across a tweet from the Green Party over it’s stance on animal testing, and annoyingly my image of what I thought was a perfect party fell apart. While I agree that animal testing is not 100% ethical, I do stand on the podium of people who would rather not be injected with metastasing cancer cells to help aid the scientific community understand and attempt to develop a cure. I have also learnt throughout my three years the many great achievements gained through animal research; i.e. using mice (murine) as a model organism. So just to clarify a few things because of genetic engineering and animal testing we have to name a few:
- Gained a great insight into System Lupus Erythematous,
- Gained great insight into HIV/AIDS,
- Gained a great understanding on the molecular biology of a lot of Cancers,
- Now fully understand the lifecycle of Leishmania,
Regulations, Home Office licenses and EU rules (Reduce, Replace and Refine) have helped limit the harm to vertebrates in testing, but it still allows the scientific advancement to occur through expansion of knowledge on many dreadful disorders and diseases. It would be completely unethical for a human embryo to undergo such modification and testing and yes the ethics behind animal testing remain the same.
Tissue cultures are only good for a very limited number of experiments and in actual fact do not supply the correct physiological conditions. Mice and human physiology is very similar, which makes them perfect for drug testing and identify new cancer therapies. And until a suitable alternative arises, which I hope it will one day! When will the line be drawn? This is not an “us or them argument”, but more of a them for now, but let us aim for a high quality alternative.
Save the no animal testing for after the alternative has been found, any block before then will surely help bring the medical research crumbling to the ground. Which is not something that should happen, especially at a time when it is needed so badly.