Nothing sends a chill down the spine faster than hearing the word “vivisection”. Vivus, meaning “alive” and section, meaning “cutting”. The term vivisection is used to denote the practice of human experimentation and study using LIVE animal subjects. It conjures images of draconian mad scientists and hidden torture chambers that cause profound suffering to helpless animals.
One such study, that is currently under way, is being done by Dr. Joseph Kornegay , Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, at Texas A&M University, to study the effects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) on Golden Retrievers. In order to supply his need for text subjects, the University has been breeding DMD afflicted dogs instead of finding legitimate human subjects to study.
DMD is a complex disease that displays multi-system disorders that can effect various organs and, although studies have already been conducted specifically on Golden Retrievers over the past 20 years, and various animal test models of DMD have been studied for over 30 years, researchers continue to conduct studies that have yet to produce a cure. Further animal based research on this subject will only lead to the horrific deaths of hundreds of thousands more test subjects of progressively larger species.
For decades, scientists have been using vivisection as a means to procure funding for supposedly beneficial scientific experiments that have continued year after year with no viable cures. If you’ve ever had to suffer through a surgical procedure or a major illness that was difficult to treat, you will understand the agony these animals go through, especially when they are not supplied with adequate pain killers or after-care and in many cases have also had to suffer “devocalization” which, in the case of a DMD model, exacerbates their condition.
Although it has been well established that animal models are not ideal for testing treatments that will be used on humans, the practice continues. Many scientists have demonstrated that animal subjects are very poor predictors of drug response in the human body. Non-animal testing has already proven to be more viable, cost effective, and certainly more humane than testing on animals. Facilities like Texas A&M should be encouraged to adopt more human methods of testing like stem cell and genetic research and testing and studying actual human patient models.
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