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Animal Research. Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health Texas A&M University Animals in Research. What is research?. Scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry. Why do we use animals in research?.

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animal research

Animal Research

Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health

Texas A&M University

What is research?

Scholarly or scientific

investigation or inquiry

why do we use animals in research
Why do we use animals in research?
  • Scientists have developed many valuable non-animal models (i.e., cell culture, computer) that are useful for medical research, but these models cannot imitate the complicated processes that occur in a living system.
  • Animals are similar to humans and are good models when humans can’t be used.
    • Animal life is based on the same genetic, biochemical, and physiological principles as human life.
should we use animals for research

Should We Use Animals for Research?

Discovery requires research in biological systems.

Do YOU want to be the first subject to receive an unknown treatment?

Would you allow your daughter to use mascara or other eye products that have not been tested to be safe?

research conditions for animals
Research Conditions for Animals

Bothanimal welfare groups and animal activists have made contributions to improve awareness of the need for humane research conditions for animals.

However, some animal activists have gone to extremes to stop all animal research regardless of its benefit to animals and humans.

They release animals from their cages; this is a problem because there will be no one to care for them.Is it good for some extremists among animal-rights groups to commit crimes to stop animal research?

They bully researchers, threaten their family, and this hurts the very people who want to make life better for us all.

They destroy labs; this stops research that could help people.


How do we choose which animals to study?

  • Diseases or body systems being studied
  • Animals that are most similar to humans
  • Animals that have been used in past research on the topic in question
human responsibility
Human Responsibility
  • Ethical treatment of animals means that those animals used in testing should be treated well.
  • Monitored by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees.
  • Ethical treatment of animals includes:
    • Providing a comfortable living environment
    • Minimizing discomfort from testing
    • Humanely euthanizing animals
federal regulations for laboratory animal care
Federal Regulations for Laboratory Animal Care
  • Derived from the Animal Welfare Act, with numerous amendments
  • Enforced by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture inspectors
  • Each research entity must have protocols approved by an independent panel of reviewers.

How has animal

research helped

people and pets with

heart problems?

heart transplant
Heart Transplant
  • Dr. Norman Shumway completed a heart transplant in a dog in 1959.
  • Eight years later Dr. Christiaan Branard performed the first heart transplant in humans.
  • In 1968 Shumway completed the first human heart transplant in the United States.
pda surgery research
PDA Surgery Research
  • A PDA is a heart defect found when an artery that is supposed to close at birth, stays open.
  • About 50 out of every 10,000 puppies are born with a PDA, compared to about 2 out of every 10,000 in humans.
  • Research into better surgical options for puppies has greatly advanced human treatments.

How has animal

research helped

people and pets with



The history of vaccines:

  • The first attempt to protect against infectious disease by vaccination was done by Edward Jenner with the cowpox virus in the 1790s.
  • In the 1800s, Pasteur (who also developed Pasteurization) developed vaccines against rabies and anthrax.
  • Animals have been used to develop multiple vaccines for use in humans.
    • Anthrax: sheep (1880’s)
    • Cholera: various animals (1885)
    • Rabies: various animals (1885)
    • Polio: monkeys (1949)(earlier attempts with humans failed & even caused polio)
  • By the 1900s, five vaccines were being used against smallpox, cholera, typhoid fever, rabies and the plague.
  • In the 1970s, smallpox was eradicated by global vaccination.
  • Today, vaccines are still being developed using new technologies such as genetic engineering.
vaccinations for your pets
Vaccinations for Your Pets
  • Rabies – for all pets!
  • Dogs
    • Parvovirus
    • Distemper
  • Cats
    • Feline Leukemia Virus
    • Panleukopenia
  • Horses
    • Tetanus - Encephalomyelitis
    • West Nile Virus - Flu/Rhino
    • Strangles
  • Rabies is a special case because it is lethal to pets and people.
  • All states require pets to be vaccinated for rabies.
how are vaccines made
How are vaccines made?
  • Vaccines were originally made by injecting viruses into chicken eggs, allowing them to multiply and then removing them and deactivating them to produce a vaccine.
  • Some of the vaccines todayare still made this way, while others have to be grown in animal tissue cultures.
tissue culture
Viruses are injected into cells (preferably monkey kidney cells) where they are allowed to grow and are then removed.Tissue Culture
Vaccine Efficacy:

Nobody wants to have a vaccine given to them, their family or their pets without knowing that it is effective and safe.

There is only one way to ensure that a vaccine is safe and that is to test it. The best way to do this is to test it in animals.

How has animal

research helped

advances in


eyes cataract surgery
Eyes – cataract surgery
  • Each year near 2.7 million Americans have cataract surgery.
  • It’s estimated that 80% of those over 65 have cataracts.
  • Animal research has improved surgery techniques in humans and animals.

How has animal

research helped

advances in the

treatment of joint


hip replacement
Hip Replacement
  • Because of animal research, both people and animals needing hip replacements have been able to walk again.
  • Over 100,000 people receive hip replacements each year.

How has animal

research helped

advances in the

treatment of

metabolic disorders?

animal use in metabolic research
Animal Use in Metabolic Research
  • Metabolism of muscle (Hill, 1922: frog)
  • Insulin & diabetes mechanisms (Banting, 1923: fish, rabbit, dog)
  • Growth-stimulating vitamins (Eijkman, 1929: chicken)
  • Sugar metabolism, pituitary (Cori & Houssay, 1947: frog, dog)
  • Oxidative metabolism (Krebs,1953: pigeon)
  • Nature of oxidative enzymes (Theorell, 1955: horse)
  • Cholesterol & fat metabolism (Bloch, 1964: rat)
  • Hormone mechanisms (Sutherland, 1971: various mammals
  • Antibody synthesis (Tonegawa, 1987: mouse)
n i h research

N.I.H. Research

Using Animal Clones to

Generate Stem Cells

how cloning is done
How Cloning Is Done
  • Take a fertilized egg, suck out the nucleus with a micropipette.
  • Inject the empty egg with the nucleus from an adult animal.
  • Implant the egg into the uterus and let it develop as an fetus.
  • Low odds of success, but most domestic species have been cloned at least once.

Note: armadillos give birth to four clones naturally.

Nobody knows how they do it.

Click here and here for more information

the idea
The Idea
  • Injecting stem cells can repair damaged organs.
  • BUT– stem cells from another person or animal carry surface molecules that may be attacked by the recipient’s immune system.
  • Researcher’s solution: clone a monkey from its skin cells and harvest the embryo’s stem cells.
  • These cells would not be attacked by the immune system if injected back into the monkey to repair a diseased organ.

Click here for more.