Scientists defend medical benefits of animal testing
Daily Texan Staff
Published: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Every day, hundreds of students pass a nondescript, brown building on Speedway without realizing that inside scientists are running tests on monkeys, rabbits and pigs.
The Animal Resources Center, built in 1977, houses more than 100 animals used in University research. The center is a service facility that provides animal care and housing space, said Glen Otto, the center’s director.
“There are two major misconceptions about animal research,” Otto said. “One is that research in an institution like this is done without significant oversight. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The other is that all animal research is inherently flawed because animals are so different from humans. But that’s not the case, either.”
But groups like Students Against Cruelty to animals still protest the use of animals in research.
“There are a lot of alternatives, like in vitro testing with human tissue or skin cells,” said Kelly Sloan, a history and radio-television-film senior and director of the organization. “It’s just not necessary anymore.”
Before acquiring animals for research, scientists must submit an application to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which aims to ensure that animal testing is conducted lawfully and carefully.
“IACUC asks researchers why they need animals in their research,” Otto said. “It inspects facilities to see that we are meeting federal level requirements.”
“We ensure people are aware of the right way to do things,” Otto said. Read More
Scientists who use animals in their experiments behaved a lot like agriculture has for the past 20 years. When confronted with animal rights issues we all tended to ignore them. And now we are all learning together that this strategy doesn’t work. Research scientists in particular have been under some extreme types of attack that include firebombing. As a group, they are now standing up to tell the public the importance of their research and how we all benefit from it.