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I am curious to hear other vegans/vegetarians thoughts on modern medicine and animal testing.

I think it is undeniable that modern medicine plays a crucial role in our society.While lifestyle changes can often be used to treat or even reverse diseases, many people will not make those changes. Even when they have the knowledge and ability to do so. Medications save lives and/or improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases.

On the other hand, most vegans are very well aware of the cruelty that takes place in the process of creating these medications. In addition to this, many capsules are made out of gelatin.

So what is the take other vegans have on this issue? I know there are other methods being explored, but currently animal testing is considered a gold standard and is required for a medication to be approved. While groups like PCRM advocate for alternatives to animal testing, I'm not a scientist so I don't know how viable these methods really are.
 

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I'm going to quote my favorite person, Carl Sagan:


Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us.
 

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Many alternative medicines don't rely on animal testing: acupressure, acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, etc. Depending on the particular medical issue, it might be reasonable to explore alternative options before buying into the whole western medicine approach of popping pills at the first sign of anything wrong.
 
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Many alternative medicines don't rely on animal testing: ...massage therapy...
I liked the mental picture of a girl in a lab coat giving a massage to a bunny, lol

Aiming to avoid, or minimize support of animal suffering is good. However, since the dominant medical system (and the one clearly most effective at trauma medicine) uses animal testing it would not always be reasonable to avoid it. In an emergency I'd let the doctors do what they think best, the ethical consequences for any associated testing would be on them.
What you can do is not intentionally build situations where such things would be necessary. Treat your own self and your family with respect, avoiding unhealthy food, drunk driving, etc. and you'll be reducing the amount of medical care that will be needed, which lessens the demand for animal testing.
 

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Oh I agree completely. When the situation isn't dire and there is time to explore options, then investigating alternatives may make sense. And yes, the healthier we keep ourselves (not just individuals, but as a whole community) the fewer animals will be subjected to the horrors of experimentation and medical testing.
 

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Riot Nrrrd
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Before I answer the question here's a story from my own experience:

I have multiple sclerosis. Part of standard diagnosis of MS is to perform a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). The doctor uses a very intimidating looking needle to withdraw fluid from the spine. The doctor who performed my spinal tap wouldn't let me see the needle before (or after!) I got the procedure. It's that scary. The procedure has been studied to determine its safety of course.

So, given that I feel some of these studies were unethical, should I have refused the procedure? Some will say of course I should have. That would be benefiting from something I believe should not happen. Which would make me a Hypocrite with a capital 'h'. At this point those hypothetical people cross their hypothetical arms, lean back and smirk. 'See? That's what you get when you get overly emotional and put animals before people.'

Um ... Animals? I didn't say anything about animals. The study I'm talking about didn't use animals. It used children, without parental knowledge.

That changes everything for the questioner. NOW it is relevant that the studies were conducted prior to strong regulation of medical research. NOW it is relevant that once something is known, you can't unknow it. When the questioner thought I was talking about a concern they do not share, these arguments were obviously just an attempt to justify hypocrisy. But when the concern is one that seems obviously correct to them, these arguments are now also obviously correct.

The reason for the difference is this: they don't actually believe the proposition they're asking about. It's just another ill-thought-out attempt to generate a 'gotcha' question.
 
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I think that modern medicine is (mostly) a pretty neat thing. The guys controlling it (Big Pharma) are a bit less neat, but lets block this out for a moment.

When developing a new drug, it totally makes sense that it has to be tested first before being released to widespread use. Ideally, I guess you all agree with me here, it would be tested with highly efficient and detailed computer simulations, which are often not available yet. Plus, could they really simulate a fully functioning human body? I am no expert in the matter.

Question is, until more common computers could one day do it, who or what should it be tested upon?

Animals? Are an option, although a difficult one from the ethical point of view.
Volunteers? Some folks would do anything for money, but still, it leaves me a bit uneasy.
Unknowing incarcerated criminals? Reminds me of Germany some 75 years ago...
Incarcerated criminals who volunteer? Leaves me uneasy as well.

So, what are your thoughts about this?
 

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There are many currently suffering without any options of treatment. they fight for the right to have new medicines and treatments tested on themselves in hope of relief. Our system won't even allow a dying person the right to try a drug that could help them

Money is the biggest push for animal testing, not results.
 

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This article gives a nice summary of different alternatives to animal testing being developed and used:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternatives_to_animal_testing

When I was in school I was faced with taking an anatomy and physiology class that used animal parts for lab. I learned of this at the last minute after I had enrolled in the class. Thankfully I was able to drop that class and get into another A & P class taught by a professor that used computer simulations instead. At a local college in my city, the upper anatomy and physiology courses involve human cadavers (people who willingly donated their bodies to science before dying), which are far more representative of human A & P than say a cow brain or rat.

I would suggest that more of us donate our bodies to medical research upon our deaths. I just looked up how to do this and there seems to be a wealth of information.

In this day and age, with the invention of things like cultured lab "meat", surely we can find a way to end animal testing!

In the meantime, I agree with others in minimizing the need for traditional medical services as much as possible. However, I understand that many of us have conditions, myself included, that mean we have no choice but to rely on what is currently available while we explore alternatives.

I would also like to point out that the majority of animal testing is for products like cigarettes, cleaning products, makeup, perfumes, dyes and other chemicals added to foods etc. Far less is for battling human and other animal diseases.
https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/facts-and-figures-animal-testing
 
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