Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dog Dealer Crackdown

We are all aware that animals have been used in science to make advances that would otherwise have been impossible. The use of mice, cats, pigs and dogs in experimenting has given scientists the chance to investigate diseasess, devlope drugs and test new methods of medication. The biology fields of genetic engineering and pharmacology are especially depended on animal testing. In February's issue Science discusses the controversy over using animals bought from class B animal dealers acquiring their stock from"random sources". The American Physiological Association have said actions to shut down these dealers is "premature" and that "it would be enormously disruptive" to the science community. Some say these animals offer a chance to research otherwise unavailable conditions because labs cannot get genetically unique specimens from traditional breeding facilities..

In 1966 Lyndon Johnson signed the Laboratory Animal Welfare act that created new policies concerning the humane treatment of animals being sold to laboratories. This act made two classifications for businesses selling laboratory dogs and cats, A and B. Class A dealers are predominately corporate organizations that breed dogs, cats and other animals on site for selling to labs. Class B licenses are issued mainly to small dealers who collect and sell animals from shelters, other breeders or even other dealers. This type of acquisition is said to be from "random sources". The class B dealers have been doing very well since the act was passed. However in the 1990's these dealers came under fire from animal humane societies as abused and stolen animals continued to show up. In 2003 HBO did a special on animal abuse that featured footage from an infiltrated class B dealers business. Since then the USDA has stepped up efforts to enforce the laws in place for class B dealers that require inspections every year. Due to this effort numbers of class B dealers have dropped from over 200 to only 11. These 11 dealers cannot meet the demand for genetically diverse dogs and cats needed at research companies. They currently supply 3% (3,000) of the 90,000 dogs and cats used in research today.

Personally I think it's regrettable but essential for animals to be used in scientific research. Should the USDA shut down class B dog and cat dealers disrupting a vast number of scientific discoveries being made right now or is this a necessary evil ? Its always awful to see videos of animal cruelty on farms or pounds, but without this cruelty would we have enough food? Would we be so far along making medical advancements? I don't think we would. According to science "Large-chested Dalmatians have helped doctors develop some of the first artificial-heart devices and lung-transplant procedures. And cats and dogs gathered from the general population harbored a variety of genetic diseases and infections that led to insights into everything from sleep apnea to AIDS." All of us in the biology fields will at some level most likely depend on animal testing, what do you think?



  1. This is probably one of the hardest ethical questions to pass judgment on. Animals are undoubtedly needed in studies, though most would say that thy don't agree with the way it is carried out. I think your average person would probably be unwilling to carry out these tests personally. But that same person would probably be very upset if they were told that they could not have a vaccination or transplant, because they were unable to be produced without experimentation and testing.

    The use of animals for scientific advancement is a necessary evil in today's world. That being said, there are many things we can do to improve this process. I don't see any reason that we need to use the very animals we keeps as pets. Cats and dogs are very near to people's hearts. You don't hear people up in arms over the number of lab mice used, at least not very often.
    The truth is that there is no good answer to this problem. Though improving housing conditions, and increasing regulatory laws is a positive first step.

    Posted by Andrew King

  2. I think using animals for scientific advancement is necessary, even though it does seem a little cruel. A lot of research has been accomplished by using animals for science. It doesn't make sense to me that the USDA would want to shut down this practice. Scientists need animals to perform experimental tests on in order to conduct proper research.

    Posted by Ryan Brooks

  3. I agree with Andrew in that this is a very touchy subject. In world where we are constantly on the verge of revolutionary scientific breakthroughs comes the moment of truth of whether it can survive the experimental stage and be distributed to people. Of course no one ever wants harm to come to test subjects, and Andrew raises another valid point on people who detest of the thought of animal testing but at the same time agree that science must progress yet are unwilling to be test subjects themselves. Until there is a way to ensure foolproof human testing I'm afraid that there is no end in sight to animal testing.

    Posted by Charly Almonte

  4. I think that this is definitely one of those issues that we could classify as a "look the other way" situation. It is, most certainly, unfortunate. It has, however, proved to be helpful for new developments in health care and understanding. It is a topic that I'm torn about as I'm sure most people. I wonder if there will be alternatives to this type of testing in the future that will alleviate the controversy this causes? Or are there other alternatives availible now? This is something that I've never looked into in depth.

    Caitlin Lavin

  5. This is a very hard question, but science has its gives and takes. It is not fair to continuously put animals through the pain and suffering of lab test without being the slightest bit humane about it. Humans generally like to think of animals as beings that do not feel or hurt or care what is being done to them since we can manipulate them. There is no reason to abuse the right to test on other living beings, as when testing on animals people should not make it cruel and harmful. Think if we were testing on humans, which should be done more often. Humans should feel what it is like to undergo all these procedures. In thought, we use animals that are most similar to us, which means their brains must work similar to ours and cause mental stress and issues in their lives as much as our brain does. So what is the difference between testing on animals and people? It is just a silly argument in which people are selfish and do not care about anything but humans or themselves. In all of this I do not disagree with the whole animal testing thing, I just think that there should be a little more respect in doing this. Putting animals down and causing less suffering would be a great start.

    posted by Amanda Hostetter