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Thread: Animal Testing and Ethics

  1. #11

    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    I said that animal testing is now very closely related to industry, so where profit is involved then it looses the ethic of science. I was told that science has no ethics.

    I was also told that in science animals are not considered sentient, I find this shocking.
    Namaste markandeya,

    As to the second claim, that is very funny because then these atheist base themselves on religious claims. It is the Bible that created the claim that only humans have consciousness because they are created in the image of God. That has never been a scientific claim. Tell the atheist that!

    Modern science is actually breaking down these claims. From the same religious beliefs came the idea that animals would not feel like humans. They would not feel pain. But scientists have come to conclusion that animals have the same feeling and emotions as they see the exact same reactions in their brains. Even more, scientists recently proved that for instance rats empathise with other rats in distress affecting their appetite, and also have remorse of a wrong action. Things previously considered only for Man.

    It is true that modern science has no ethics but this must be understood in the right way. It does not mean that scientists have no ethics. For instance doctors have strong ethics, they swear the Hippocratic oath. But when one conducts science one can not define goals in ethical, moral wording. Why? Because science demands that the words mean the same to everyone else. You can not test: Is the medicine good? Goodness can not be tested as everyone has his own idea about what is good. You can test the effect on hart rate or blood pressure or if people feel better after.

    That does not however mean that scientists will do as they like. They have their individual ethics and organizations and society create limitations on their conduct. Which is really no different from other groups like for instance farmers. Some scientists indeed behave like psychopaths towards animals. The good thing is that science now shows us that many of these people are indeed psychopaths. It is their lack of empathy that allows them to conduct in that unfeeling way. Recent studies show a higher presence of psychopaths in some occupations, for instance like surgeons, butchers, CEO's, etc..

    We may realize that it is up to us to defend animal rights, as animals can not speak for themselves. Luckily it is a cause that most people are sympathetic to if you do not tie it in with vegetarianism. For that makes it an attack on personal lifestyle, that people will reject. But most people do not want to see animals suffer. And that is why regulations to protect animals have become stricter. For some years In my country we now have the "Animal Party" who puts animal affairs on the agenda. And that makes a huge difference! The large parties do not want to be seen as openly animal unfriendly and this has led to improvements in may areas. Without such a party bringing it to attention, the big parties always let economics prevail.

    It the same with all ethical issues, if the public gets emotionally involved in this, the politicians will listen. But there have to be people that make it visible first. It is not about the numbers but the amount of attention in the news media that politicians are concerned about. I am not negative about this, we do make progress. We ourselves also tend to be led by the media. If the media write a lot of negativity from all over the world we tend to think things are going the wrong way. It is the exposure rather than the facts. According to scientific research man is average in aggression compared to other animals, and man's aggression has been steadily declining over the last few thousand years.

    I think research in psychopathy can do a lot of good. We are now more aware that psychopathy is something that can triggered in early youth by abuse, but it need not happen even if people are genetically disposed. Also that these people need different upbringing, making them feel, what they do to others, as the do not empathize naturally. Also we now understand that when these people develop gross antisocial behaviour they are incurable and best be locked away permanently. Only 1% of the people are psychopaths, and only small part of them become criminal, but that part is good for 50% of all crime. Recognizing psychopaths is important to limit their influence.

    I think we should not take a negative attitude towards science. Scientific thinking is deeply rooted in Nature Religion and thus Hinduism. It comes from the same curiosity towards nature. It is good to engage in it and important that we do not leave science entirely to people without conscience driven by ambition and ruthless companies.

    The biggest danger today does not lie in science or economics as such but in the big organizations. These big organizations are entities with their own consciousness, but one that lacks ethics. They become ruthless actors on the world stage. We see that with organisations like pharmaceutical companies and other large organizations, also government organizations like the Pentagon. To change that outside pressure is necessary to allow the right people in these organizations to gain momentum and change policy. I think the most important challenge for the coming decades is to get control over the behaviour of large organizations to prevent them from doing foolish things.

    It can help to realize that many notions are not as old we think they are. Before Christianity animals were held in high regard. The Egyptians mummified as many animals as people. In many cultures they were seen as messengers of the Gods, closer to the spirit world than Man. In Pagan Europe Cats were believed to have direct contact with the spirit world and give early warnings (that is why witches have cats). The Celt even had animal rights in their Laws. In Greek mythology Man was not considered a special being, nor of special importance. They said the Gods gave all the special qualities to animals, leaving nothing special for Man. And the ancient Greeks believed that the Goddess Diana, Goddess of hunt!, at the same time protected animals against wrong doing.

    But we have to see this apart from meat eating. For ancient people meat eating was natural, after all everything in Nature eats each other. Even if you die a natural death you are eaten by all kind creatures, from maggots to bacteria, fungi, etc. It is part of the circle of life. But ancient people did have all kinds of rituals to appease the spirits of the animals they slaughtered. They were very aware that the animal had a spirit as well. In Africa there are still tribes doing that. I personally think that kind of empathy is superior to simply abstaining from meat for a selfish intellectual argument.

    I think scientific knowledge is for the good. As science penetrates deeper in to the world, it creates deeper understanding that inevitably changes the way we interact with the world. We are here talking about animals, but scientists have discovered that plants talk to other plants and insects in a chemical language, influencing each other behaviour. This week I read that bacteria communicate with a common language and a special one for their own species. Science is again proving what all Nature Religions have said from the beginning: Everything in Nature has consciousness.
    Last edited by Avyaydya; 01 April 2015 at 10:30 PM.

  2. Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    The good news is that drug discovery and development is trying to involve less animals for drug testing and there is a report on this issue:

    A New Screening Platform Helps to Exempt the Application of Animal from Drug Tests
    Through several years’ design and trial, scientists from Singapore developed a new drug test tool which will involve less cost, while being more accurate and fast in getting result. The new platform applies human pluripotent stem cells and carries with an auto machine reporting toxic changes to achieve a fast detecting result of the drug toxicity.

    With the present platform, drug’s toxicity can be only checked at the later stage of drug development and some even after the drug has been marketed, thus to find a way that can test if the drug is toxic or not at the very early stage is a better choice for drug design and development. In addition, it has been argued for a long time that using animal for drug tests is cruel and disrespects the animal’s equal right for enjoying lives. In some areas it will be illegal to test cosmetics with animals. With these issues, scientists began the design for a more humane and reliable drug screening platform.

    Kidney is the main victim organ of toxicity and it will present the toxicity of drug to a great degree, thus it becomes an ideal target for the detection and scientists choose to develop kidney cells with the human pluripotent stem cells. What out of the expectation of the researchers is that the pluripotent stem cells induced kidney cells can be gained at a high purity. Before this success, acquiring the target cells at a high level of purity was one of the hardest issues during the whole process as the research team previously used other stem cells to produce the cells.

    Another shinning point of the newly developed system is that the machine can automatically spy on the injury mechanism and give a result by collecting and analyzing the data it gets, which is the reason that why this new platform can be more fast in giving tests accurate results.

    The new platform can be used in various aspects like food and cosmetic industry. And it may help to exempt the hot issue argued all the time-animal right. Moreover the screening platforms can be taken advantage of in the field of reducing water pollution caused by drugs by eliminating the toxicity of them-a new area that the same research team is working on at present.

    With the successful practical application of the new screening platform, it may bring a revolution in the field and BOC Sciences will also consider renewing our present screening platform with it for its all benefits.

    The paper was published in the journal of Scientific Report and titled as Prediction of drug-induced nephrotoxicity and injury mechanisms with human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cells and machine learning methods with the DOI number being 10.1038/srep12337.

    Source from BOC Sciences

  3. #13
    Join Date
    July 2010
    The Holy Land - India
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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics


    Welcome to the forum Mandy and thank you for giving us a synopsis of the latest advances in scientific research related to the testing of new drugs on animals. Missing from the write-up is the source of pluripotent stem cells - are they harvested from aborted fetuses?

    Also any screening platform is as smart as the people designing the hardware and the software that goes with it plus the proficiency of the operators. It is encouraging to know that the target kidney cells for toxicity tests can be produced with a high level of purity. Many animals will be spared the pain and suffering that they go through for validation of new drugs and cosmetics. What will still be left will be changing the mindset of the same set of scientific researchers to eliminate meat from their diet. Otherwise, the animals will be spared being the subject of drug tests and sent to the slaughterhouse for processing for human consumption. Their suffering will not end.


  4. #14
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    December 2013
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    Re: Animal Testing and Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Missing from the write-up is the source of pluripotent stem cells - are they harvested from aborted fetuses?
    Namaste Mandy and Believerji,

    The title given for the article specifies 'induced pluripotent stem cells", so no, they're not harvested from fetuses, aborted or otherwise. They're 'induced' to step backwards genetically from differentiated tissues or tissue stem cells and become "pluripotent" stem cells again.

    A good question is where do these cells come from? Usually patients who have given blood for any medical test, gotten biopsies or had tissues removed for any reason. Because you didn't think they threw the excess tissues away, did you? Heck no. And they don't need to consent you to keep your body parts as "cell lines" and test on them for however long they like. This is called "Biobanking".

    Interesting read if anyone wants to: "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks".
    This is still common. More than just the ethics questioned in the book, there needs to be a deeper consideration of ethics I think, for the people whose bodies the cell lines come from and their beliefs regarding disposal of the body and if there can still be some connection to the soul once the life of the greater body is ended but cells and their DNA survive.

    There is a problem with experiments in this direction as well, in that induced stem cells are not yet possible without essentially making the cell line a cancer cell line. Which makes it useless for a lot of drug development testing, which is a major area these cell lines are targeted for - not cosmetics. If we could successfully grow non-cancerous pluripotent stem cells, we would be growing or printing organs for patients who desperately need them from their own cells and transplanting those with no worries about rejection syndrome.

    These cell lines also are extremely limited when it comes to testing across complex systems of tissues, especially as we don't understand all the pathways involved between them. So trivial tissue toxicity testing, assuming a viable non-cancerous line could be established and maintained, would really be the tip of the iceberg.

    A better and more promising line of inquiry is lab-on-a-chip and system interaction simulations - both are also up and coming along with precision medicine and gene therapy solutions.

    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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