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Cats and Dogs Used for Testing

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 27 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Animal Testing Cats Dogs Heart Disease

Cats and dogs in animal testing have gathered a great deal of criticism, which is partly due to their place in society as beloved pets. It can be difficult for people to imagine a fluffy cat or dog suffering discomfort or pain, particularly in a sterile laboratory setting. Animal rights activists have also made a point to target the use of cats and dogs in research and there has been no shortage of threats made to researchers who use these animals for testing purposes. Despite the controversy, dogs and cats have numerous benefits for research and their use is widely supported within the scientific community and by most of the public, provided their use is on medical grounds rather than for the sales of cosmetics.

Benefits and Controversy of Cats in Animal Testing

Cats are actually used quite regularly in the field of neurology, where they have contributed to our knowledge and development of neurological research. This type of research is considered to be extremely invasive, despite its benefits for human diseases. Unfortunately, these experiments are thought to cause pain in approximately half of all cats used, which fuels the anger of animal welfare groups who cite that the practice should be halted. A cat's nervous system is a widely supported area by the research community. Nerve cells may be isolated and obtained from a cat's brain for experimental use or alternately, a study in the United Kingdom created spinal cord damage with the aim of understanding nerve pathways. Another focused area of research with cats entails the cat's visual pathways. Cats are also considered extremely useful for understanding human biology. Researchers may modify an aspect of the cat's physiology to observe the results or create a disease state to test a drug. However, claims against this type of research cite that much of the experimentation is triggered by scientific curiosity rather than actual applied, practical research.

Dogs and Ethics in Animal Testing

Dogs are notably useful for applied medical research and education. They are typically purpose-bred or provided by companies who are registered to provide animals solely for testing. There has been some controversy, however, regarding the tactics of such dealers, who are thought to also be purchasing animals from shelters, advertisements or perhaps even stealing the animals, although these claims have not been substantiated. There are also preferences for certain breeds because of their ease of handling and tendency to be less challenging during the research process. Beagles are often used and are considered an effective model for diseases and conditions in humans. Areas including hormonal disorders, cardiology, and osteopathic studies have all benefited from the use of dogs. Specifically, heart disease is a popular area that uses dogs for experimentation.

Future Use of Cats and Dogs in Animal Testing

Overall, cats and dogs are used to understand how the human body works in terms of biology and disease as well as for drug and related product testing. Their use will likely continue although it is doubtful that animal welfare groups will be halting their active campaigns anytime soon to end the use of cats and dogs in animal testing. For most people, it is important to separate the use of cats and dogs as our pets versus the use of cats and dogs in animal testing.

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My cat aged 6 months old was last seen being handled by a women I did not know, so I went out to to talk to her. She had gone from view though and I searched everywhere, for many streets around, including the mobile home site that backed onto my back garden. As I and my 7 year old daughter had had some altercation with people from the mobile homes in the past, I did not feel up to knocking on doors there. However, I did see that there were many cats in one garden of a home - chained to small posts. At the time I just thought ‘wow, do they love cats!’ As night wore on, I searched the streets in hope, but by the following morning and still no cat, I went to the mobile homes again and found the courage to talk to the person in the mobile home with all the cats. The man who came out was having to kick back a cat that was trying to escape. Even then, it didn’t occur to me that there was anything sinister. The man told me he had seen the cat I described as having been run over on a road ... but I knew immediately he was lying - that was when I realised the awful truth - all these cats were to be sold to laboratories. The police did nothing . It has tortured me for the last 20 years. I could have broken in - I could have tried to free the cats. Why didn’t I? Fear of the potential danger to my child, who had already been kicked violently by one of the women living in the mobile homes. Maybe the police believed I was getting some kind of payback on them for my daughter’s attack... but why couldn’t they at least have investigated? It’s 20 years later , my daughter lives well away from harms reach, and I now have money to do my own investigations and believe me, I am not letting this rest.
Milly - 27-Oct-18 @ 1:09 AM
I was in many animal rights groups in the 80s...our main focus was to stop animal testing. No drug is approved until it has been tested on humans so why torture cats in the most diabolical, painful, meaningless, sadistic ways possible. I thought this ended 25 years ago. I am crushed.
Shocked - 22-Sep-18 @ 5:02 PM
I am shocked that 40 years after I learned that there were far more reliable methods than using animals in research laboratories, it is still going on and immoral scientists are trying to defend it. How much more progress would have been made over those 40 years if the scientists had followed the routes of epidemiology, advanced computer modelling techniques, human cells and tissues (in vitro) and studies with human volunteers. Shame on you!
Jackwack - 3-Sep-18 @ 9:17 PM
For what it's worth, I think you're doing good work Ian
Health Researcher - 6-Jul-18 @ 12:23 PM
I have been under the impression that this barbaric, antiquated, horrific crap had been banned years ago. To my great dismay I have been thrust into reality that there are still those individuals that look to use the excuse of scientific progress to do nothing but abuse and torture creatures that cannot defend themselves.I think everyone that works in these types of facilities from the janitor to the CEO needs to be put under the same torturous agony as these animals!We are no longer living in the dark ages where ignorance rules...or are we?Obviously, the "scientific" world is not as progressive as it touts itself to be!I have now made it my life's mission to enlighten as many people humanly possible to the atrocities you monsters are enjoying.I will encourage boycotts for the companies that use your despicable "services," hound my congressmen, senators, sign and begin petitions, and yell from the highest building to put you and your cronies out of business!You better hope that there is no God, because one day you will have to atone for your actions!
ck - 22-May-18 @ 2:45 AM
animal testing is wrong period.
// - 11-Apr-18 @ 9:28 PM
I think we should use the people who don't have a heart for the animals for testing. Give them a dose of their own medicine.Or inmates.Commit a crime get tested on.This would also lower crime....maybe
Cherie - 31-Mar-18 @ 3:25 PM
All the scientist that have tested on animals should half tofeel what those animals are feeling!
one word cruel ! - 22-Jan-18 @ 6:29 PM
First of all i think testing on animals is cruel !!!! Alot of people ask me would you rather save your pet or your dog , well idk.... These animals are forced to be tested on ! I mean im ok if its on a rat or mouse for a medical reasons.But to test on animals so girls can wear makeup !!!! inacceptable! Everybody tells the kids that its to make sure that there is nothing bad in the products ...Well maybe if the companies used all naturel products we wouldnt have this problem ...
Human with a heart - 22-Jan-18 @ 6:25 PM
What is done to these animals is straight out of a horror movie.I wish you researchers could feel for five minutes, the pain and suffering these poor animals endure for much longer.It's disgusting and I believe one day, you will be looked upon the same way as Rene Descartes is.
Against Animal Testi - 24-Jul-17 @ 11:57 AM
To Ian Murnaghan, "For most people, it is important to separate the use of cats and dogs as our pets versus the use of cats and dogs in animal testing." This opinion of yours is not the opinion of most people, it is your opinion only. People know cats and dogs are domesticated animals, the word domesticated in the English dictionary means (of an animal) tame and kept as a pet or on a farm. So for most human beings (I can confidently say) who use the word domesticated which also happens to be in the English language and dictionary, also know it is our duty to look after and love these animals as our pets rather than use them for your science fiction and testing purposes.
V - 17-Nov-16 @ 8:02 PM
Leave these poor animals to find good loving homes as He Intended, not to be used for this inhumane cruelty. How would the people who conduct these barbaric tests like if they themselves had to endure it? We have nonaninal methods and all of these tests are in vain. It is all about money and these poor children of His deserve kind treatment. We are supposed to be kind to pets, this is not kind but a travesty that must and will end.
PG - 4-Nov-16 @ 2:11 PM
You, Ian Murnaghan, are a disgusting human being with the way you speak of animals. "For most people, it is important to separate the use of cats and dogs as our pets versus the use of cats and dogs in animal testing." No, I think we should use you, your family, even your children, and the people and their families who feel the same way you do. People like you don't deserve to live on the same planet as the rest of us who speak out against animal testing.
Esther - 17-Sep-16 @ 10:47 PM
Use long term prisoners not dogs or cats. This makes me ill. They have been mans best friends for yaear an Have no voicexd
Mercy - 9-Mar-16 @ 12:47 AM
Your final paragraph on this page shows why we should stop testing on animals: "Overall, cats and dogs are used to understand how the human body works in terms of biology and disease as well as for drug and related product testing." Animal experimentation is not reliable because these creatures bare little resemblance physically and chemically to human beings.Yes they bleed and appear to have similar organs, but they are not the same. This statement is revealing. Plus, it implies that animal experimentation it is all about saving our own. It is a very selfish and misguided. What is more important, these creatures, cats and dogs, are considered companion animals. They have been domesticated by human beings thousands of years ago. They were designed to trust us, and cats and dogs became a part of our families. If you experiment on cats and dogs, you are betraying that trust and you are throwing everything that makes us human beings out the door. Also, the amount of pain and suffering that scientists put these creatures through far out ways what results we get from animal experimentation. A scientist may call them labs, but they more closely resemble sadistic, torture chambers. These scientists have to give up on their humanity and the oath of respecting and saving life to experiment on animals. A better option is a computer model that can simulate human physiology and not an estimate that we get from animal testing. Finally, animal experimentation is based on false science and antiquated research. It requires people to stop behaving like human beings all for the purpose of obeying protocol.To this day, there are labs that still test drugs and chemicals because the government requires it when they already know the effects of said drugs and chemicals, and tests for many of these treatments are better suited for computer based models and, in certain cases, human volunteers which are much more reliable. There is no reason to continue with animal testing other than ignorance, and there is absolutely no reason to test on companion animals like cats and dogs because they are considered friends and family. There is a price for everything. The price should not cost giving up our morals and ethics especially when better alternatives like simulations and computer models exist.
Human - 22-Sep-15 @ 12:28 PM
Your final paragraph clearly shows why we should stop animal testing immediately: "Overall, cats and dogs are used to understand how the human body works in terms of biology and disease as well as for drug and related product testing." Animal experimentation is not reliable because these creatures bare little resemblance physically and chemically to human beings.Yes they bleed and appear to have similar organs, but they are not the same. This statement is very revealing. Plus, it implies that animal experimentation it is all about saving our own. It is a very selfish and misguided. What is more important, these creatures, cats and dogs, are considered companion animals. They have been domesticated by human beings thousands of years ago. They were designed to trust us, and cats and dogs became a part of our families. If you experiment on cats and dogs, you are betraying that trust and you are throwing everything that makes us human beings out the door. Also, the amount of pain and suffering that scientists put these creatures through far out ways what results we get from animal experimentation. A scientist may call them labs, but they more closely resemble sadistic, torture chambers. These scientists have to give up on their humanity and the oath of respecting and saving life to experiment on animals. A better option is a computer model that can simulate human physiology and not an estimate that we get from animal testing. Finally, animal experimentation is based on false science and antiquated research. It requires people to stop behaving like human beings all for the purpose of obeying protocol.To this day, there are labs that still test drugs and chemicals because the government requires it when they already know the effects of said drugs and chemicals, and tests for many of these treatments are better suited for computer based models and, in certain cases, human volunteers which are much more reliable. There is know reason to continue with animal testing other than ignorance, and there is absolutely know reason to test on companion animals like cats and dogs because they are considered friends and family. There is a price for everything. The price should not cost giving up our morals and ethics especially when better alternatives like simulations and computer models exist.
Human - 22-Sep-15 @ 12:21 PM
Use me. Don't use a living animal who has no choice. Use me or prisoners, leave the animals alone.
no nickname! - 9-Sep-15 @ 11:31 AM
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