Humane Vivisection Alternatives

Vivisection is defined as a type of surgery that is performed, usually on animals with a central nervous system, in order to study the internal structure of that animal, while it is alive. Many animal rights activists erroneously use this as an umbrella term for any type of animal testing. This type of animal testing is very rare.

Vivisection in the United States

Any research that will require animal vivisection must be reviewed by an external ethics review panel prior to being undertaken. Most states require the use of some sort of anesthetics to be used prior to the surgical process, in order to alleviate the pain that the process can undergo, unless the use of this anesthesia will somehow skew the results of the procedure. The United States even has The Animal Welfare Act to guarantee these procedures are performed as humanely as the intended research will allow. The Act calls for an independent review by two lay people, one not being affiliated with the research institution making the application, a scientist and a vet, prior to the research being undertaken.

In Vitro Research

In vitro testing and research is done using cultivated cells which are usually human and is performed in an environment external to a living host or organism. The cultures or specimens being tested will usually be grown in test tubes or lab dishes. There are some that say this type of testing yields more accurate results than actually using a living organism with a multitude of bodily systems interacting normally and providing and sustaining life in that animal or organism. There is evidence that in certain cases, this type of research can be just as effective as using live test subjects, such as when penicillin was discovered.

Advanced Technology Alternatives

In the past few decades, science has given us a vast array of advanced technology diagnostics tools. CAT scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging are two examples of these advanced diagnostic technologies. Disease pathology and progression can be followed using advanced body fluid analysis techniques and spectrography. Internal structures can be visually examined using ultrasonic examination. Heart and brain function can be reviewed using electroencephalography and electrocardiography. Computer and mathematical modeling techniques have been responsible for recent breakthroughs in cancer and HIV/AIDS research. Chemical analysis of known toxins can be performed using chemical and mathematical modeling techniques, without endangering living organisms.

The Use of Genetics and Epidemiology

Genetics is the study of how our genes and DNA give us the physical traits we have. Epidemiology is the study of diseases and how they relate and interact with our genetics and body, performed at the population level. Merging the two creates a field of study which can and has been used to find treatments for a wide variety of diseases. Genetics is being currently used in the study of many diseases that are thought o be inherited, such as Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and many other diseases.

While there are good arguments in favor of animal testing, even research using vivisection, there are also arguments with good, factual merit against this important research tool.