The Morality of Animal Research (Vivisection) – Reflections From A Medical Researcher

When people argue over the use of animals in research, also called vivisection, there are those who defend the animals and those who defend the research.

The animal defenders point out the obvious suffering that researchers often inflict on animals, and contend that this cruelty is morally unjustifiable. They further argue that you cannot necessarily predict human responses on the basis of animal studies, which makes the best animal model no more than an unreliable analogy to human function. Finally, they encourage the replacement of animal testing with non-animal research techniques. In short, this group would say animal research is inaccurate, unnecessary, and cruel.

On the other side are the researchers who use animals and contend that such research is essential for science to progress and help cure disease. They assure the public that they are doing all that they can to reduce animal suffering, so long as it is avoidable. And they firmly assert that, while they recognize the limitations of animal models, there is no better alternative. They insist that when it comes to fighting disease, it is better to first test drugs and treatments on an animal, such as a dog, than on a human, such as your child. In short, this group would say animal research is minimally cruel, essential for progress in medicine and may save human lives.

Which position is correct? The answer depends on your state of mind.

I was trained in biochemistry and human medicine. In both these fields animal research is the standard, and the results of animal studies constitute the bulk of medical knowledge. I would have at one time defended animal research, since I had been told over and over by my professors, who were themselves animal researchers, how animal experiments saves human lives. If the ends justify the means, they explained, then killing dogs to save children is acceptable and necessary, even if it is distasteful. After all, we’re dealing with human life and death. Animal sacrifice was a necessary evil.

But throughout my training and research, my soul silently wept each time an animal was “sacrificed” on the alter of medicine. How could a healing profession, presumably dedicated to ending human suffering, promote a methodology that causes animal suffering? Can we trust a health care system to treat us with compassion when it shows none for helpless, innocent creatures?

Ultimately, I realized the essence of the animal research problem. Medicine is a different field from any other because it deals with life and death. When people are suffering there are extreme feelings of urgency and anxiety which may lead to extreme conclusions of what’s right and wrong. However, the ethics one uses for life and death decisions are not normal, everyday moral judgments. They are lifeboat ethics. And the conclusions you come up with on a lifeboat are not normal conclusions.

The classic example of lifeboat ethics is that you are on a boat with other people, presumably the survivors of an ocean mishap, and there is the need for some people to be sacrificed to save the others. For example, let’s say the boat can only hold 3 people without sinking, and there are 4 people on board. Lifeboat ethics asks how to decide on who should be thrown overboard to save the others. As another example, we have all heard of airplane crash survivors having to resort to cannibalism to avoid starving to death. For someone contemplating this lifeboat situation, the issue is not whether someone should to be eaten, but who should be eaten. In general terms, lifeboat ethics addresses decisions of who should be helped and who should be harmed. The belief in impending disaster unless someone is sacrificed to save the others is a basic assumption of lifeboat ethics.

Of course, if people can resort to cannibalism when faced with a life and death situation, then they will have no problem killing animals if it means saving themselves from some dreadful disease. Once they believe their lives are on the line, that they are in a lifeboat situation, then they are mentally prepared to make sacrifices in the name of survival. Animal researchers, who are the captains of this disease lifeboat, offer animal sacrifices as a substitute for human ones.

But is this really a lifeboat situation? We all face the possibility of disease and death each day as part of the normal risks of life. Is it right to call life itself a lifeboat situation?

The answer to this depends on who is answering. Fearful, negative, pessimistic people see life as a lifeboat struggle against disease and death. Cheerful, positive, optimistic people sees life as just…life.

Those in the medical research and treatment business profit most when people are fearful, anxious, and desperate. Animal researchers arguing that it’s a dog or your child are selling with fear. The medical/ pharmaceutical industry uses fear to keep people addicted to doctors and medication, willing to obey medical authority and accept its practices, including the use of animals in research. Fearful, desperate people agree to whatever the cost, financially and morally. When you are sold on the belief that you are in a lifeboat, you want salvation at any price. Meanwhile, people are kept ignorant about how their bodies work and how to prevent disease, since ignorance keeps people fearful, mystified, and sick.

Fortunately, not everyone sees life in such emergency terms. And that’s a good thing, since lifeboat ethics are a suspension of normal, decent, moral behavior. Desperate people are dangerous. They are willing to kill if it means you or them. We don’t want a society with everyone running around feeling that way. If you are not fearful to the point of being able to justify killing, then animal research will clearly seem morally wrong. Anyone with any sensitivity who has ever befriended a dog, cat, bird, mouse, or even a rat will realize that animals have feelings and can experience suffering. To any mentally healthy person, it is wrong to cause others to suffer. It shouldn’t matter what species they are. Of course, this assumes that you are not in a fearful panic, willing to do anything, even kill, if it meant saving yourself.

If we can all be decent human beings with some compassion for other creatures, then of course we should be using non-animal research methods. Animal research is only considered a standard since it has been historically used as one. It is imperfect at best. And one of its greatest shortcomings is that it blinds us to the real cause of disease, which has nothing to do with animals and everything to do with being human.

For years the World Health Organization has been saying that the greatest cause of disease and death in modern times is our lifestyle. This means our lifestyle and the culture that defines it are making us sick. Of course, you cannot model human culture in animals. It is a human phenomenon. Clearly, we can learn more about our problems by studying ourselves. By addressing our exposure to stress, chemical pollution, a toxic diet, legal and illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, tight clothing, electromagnetic radiation, and innumerable other cultural factors that make us sick, we can better control our health and stay off the disease lifeboat. We could prevent disease by taking responsibility for living healthfully, instead of feeling desperate and doing anything, even making a deal with the devil, to find a cure.

I left medicine to dedicate my life to the search for human lifestyle solutions to human health problems. I look at the way we treat ourselves, the environment, and the creatures with whom we share the planet. And it is clear that we live in a sick culture. We are our own worst enemy. And the only sacrifice we need to make is to be willing to give up our damaging lifestyles. We can then lead healthy and happy lives as Nature intended, even as we approach old age and, ultimately, death. For those who are cheerful, positive, and optimistic, it’s all good.

Life does not need to feel like a lifeboat. But if it does to some fearful people, then that’s their problem. It gives them no moral right to sacrifice others, human or animal, as they act out their personal lifeboat nightmares.

Sydney Ross Singer is a medical anthropologist and director of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease, located in Hawaii. His unique form of applied medical anthropology searches for the cultural/lifestyle causes of disease. His working assumption is that our bodies were made to be healthy, but our culture and the attitudes and behaviors it instills in us can get in the way of health. By eliminating these causes, the body is allowed to heal. Since most diseases of our time are caused by our culture/lifestyle, this approach has resulted in many original discoveries into the cause, and cure, of many common diseases. It also makes prevention possible by eliminating adverse lifestyle practices. Sydney works with his co-researcher and wife, Soma Grismaijer, and is the author of several groundbreaking health books.

Health and Fitness Level: What Is Your True Level of Health?

Article 4 of 7

This article is about the completion of a key element of the proposed medical information system–the national research center.

To realize the most from this article you need to read the 3 previous articles. However, I will try and summarize some of the key points of those articles here.

The most effective means of evaluating a person’s health would of course be through some direct means of looking into the human organism to see what is truly taking place. Fortunately, as strange as it may seem, the human body does provide such a window in the form of its biochemical makeup. Furthermore, even more encouraging, there is a science already fully developed that is taking full advantage of that body phenomenon called clinical laboratory science. These are major factors in the success any advanced health care system.

I highly recommend that you take a minute here to read what the experts have to say on that matter by clicking on the link (called page 18) at the end of this article. These experts are from text books located in the University of Michigan’s Medical Library.

As described in the link reference on page 18, the advantages of the biochemical makeup of the body is very impressive indeed. Clinical laboratory science is a highly computerized and a very rapidly moving industry. Hundreds of critical tests are now available for use. That industry is an important part of the current health care system. The blood or tissue tests that your doctor orders for you when he or she is suspicious of a given medical condition that needs verification usually involves clinical laboratory science.

The key difference between the proposed national medical information system and the current health care system lies in the difference in the use of these data. The current health care system primarily uses it to evaluate a disease condition whereas the proposed system would apply it on a broader scale basis to include disease prevention and wellness–taking advantage of far more of what clinical science has to offer.

To get a good feel of some of the amazing success in clinical laboratory science click on link (45-47) at the end of this article.

The proposed medical information system would use a completely new and far different type of application of clinical laboratory data. Far larger test profiles (100 blood constituents taken from one blood test) would be used in conjunction with a very sophisticated national research system for massive correlation to human health–including disease prevention and wellness.

Following is a remaining key element of the proposed system.
Article 3 was discussed with the use of handout A. A link to handout A is provided at the end of this article and should be referred to again here. This article will discuss the underlying technical strengths of that system by showing briefly how and why the health data fed into the national research center is so effective in its correlation to human health and wellness.

Referring back to the 100 test profile pattern discussed in article 3, it was shown that the 100 individual bits of test information along with patient environmental and patient data would be fed to the national research computer center (marked case #1). The research computers would record the profile pattern results and correlate that particular combination of test results to a particular health related condition. With the size of this 100 test profile pattern, as discussed earlier, there would be literally trillions of possible combinations involved. Of those trillions of possibilities, there would conservatively end up being at least millions of what we would call significant combinations that would represent significant health related information. The National Research Center would then relate that data to the individual’s current health condition, history, family history, the individual’s environment, and also to the same data of tens of millions of other patients. This is an enormous amount of health information for the supercomputers to pull together and relate to human health conditions!

In addition, there would no doubt also be smaller sets of tests of interest within that overall 100 test profile, such as separate groups of hormones, enzymes, antibodies and other special tests that could also be read and analyzed as separate group combinations as well. Many of us realize how very important these various groups are to our well being.

Let me stop here and review this for a moment. We talk about millions of significant health data combinations. So why is it necessary for such a breadth of examination capacity? Basically, because of the extreme complexities involving our environment, our health and of course their complex inter-relationship. For example, if we (as individuals) try to determine what it is in our environment that is having an effect on our health, either positive or negative, we know it’s usually very difficult to do. We know there are literally dozens of elements (variables) in our personal environment that could affect our health. So how do we go about narrowing it down to determine what it is in a person’s environment that is likely affecting his or her health?

The system described here does it in two ways, it uses the extreme reading breadth of the profile pattern (as discussed in article 3), to read an individuals test results along with the input of the environmental and doctor’s medical examination report. It was shown that this data was then fed into the national research center system and compared to millions of other patient’s health conditions, environments and test results.

This comparison, to the millions of other patients, would soon be very effective in narrowing the unknown element, or elements, down to the common denominator (or denominators) of what it is in the environment that normally affects people’s health in certain ways. Very few patients would have the exact same environment and health conditions. Comparing millions of patient’s health to their environmental exposures would provide a very effective screening process. The results of this research would then be fed back into the state diagnostic computers to diagnose specific individuals based on their individual profile pattern results and their individual environmental and physical examination reports.

This article discusses the key to success for any highly advanced health care system, and also the sophisticated features of the proposed medical system’s research center.

Success Stories — Health and Fitness! An Incredible Story of Unconventional Weight Loss

If you are one of the millions of people searching for the perfect diet or exercise program, please do not look any further because what you are about to read will be the single most important piece of information that will turn your current situation into your OWN true Success stories of health and fitness! You are about to get your life back!

Dr. Suzanne Gudakunst is an Arizona Doctor that has dedicated her entire career to blowing the lid off of the Diet Industry. Not only are her lifelong research results helping thousands of people beat the fat, but her findings have been published into an ebook that is taking the online diet world by storm. Dr. Suzanne has finally shown us, the overweight, and the frustrated, WHY we can not lose our extra pounds by dieting.

If you have tried dieting without writing your own success story, your body is trying to tell you something and it is not what you think. First, let’s take a look at some of the reasons that Diet Pills and Weight Loss programs based around pre-packaged meals are making you FAT! That’s right, the very “thing” that you thought would help you lose weight is actually contributing to your problem.

1. Diet Pills- First of all, the statistics on prescription weight loss aides are down right frightening. Do you remember Phen-Phen? As time goes by the serious side effects and sometimes deaths from these recalled drugs should be enough to make anyone run the other way! Even some of the non-prescription ones have been pulled from the shelves for the same reasons. And unfortunately, it takes a death or other induced chronic illness to force the manufacturers of these medicines to remove them from the stores! It is like waiting for a bomb to go off! And do not make the mistake of thinking that because it is labeled NATURAL you are immune. Why do you think the bottle has a disclaimer that reads something like “as with any diet regimen check with your Dr. before taking this or any medication”? Your body is as unique as you are and everyone reacts to Herbs just as differently as they do to chemically produced drugs. Even worse, because these pills alter and block your digestive and metabolic processes, you may be robbing yourself of essential nutrients that actually induce weight loss!

2. Pre-packaged Diet Meals–UGH these are the absolute worse! You need to understand this–it is what is in those meals that actually makes you fatter! That’s right! These chemically laden, low nutritional value meals are contributing to obesity. Don’t believe me? Research Aspartame (and all of the Artificial Sweetener Family) what you will find is more than disturbing. Not only have studies linked this chemical to various kinds of Cancer, but also Parkinsons Disease. For instance did you know that by ingesting this Sugar Substitute you are actually building up formaldehyde levels in your body? That’s right the temperature of your body turns Aspartame into Formaldehyde (yes a toxin)! Additionally, recent studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually cause cravings for Bad Carbohydrates because they trick your body’s metabolic process!

The truth about Fat is this: There are 2 reasons that you are overweight! 1.) The toxic levels in your body are actually creating MORE fat cells and 2.) build up in you colon of plaque and parasites. Dr. Suzanne will teach you what foods to eat to lose weight (ones that do not contribute to these factors) and how to get rid of bad colonic matter the RIGHT way! Finally… you will be able to be one of the TRUE Success Stories of Health and Fitness!

Hospital and Medical Tourism in Singapore

‘Singapore’ is the next big buzzword in the ever evolving global medical tourism industry

Singapore is no longer just the leisure or business destination. With a population of 4.5 million, strong workforce of skilled doctors and some best state-of-the-art hospitals Singapore is fast positioning itself as a global medical tourism hub. Approximately 200,000 overseas patients visit Singapore every year and the hospitals are targeting to increase the numbers manifold, to serving one million foreign patients annually by 2012 and generate USD 3 billion in revenue.

Medical tourism can be broadly defined as the service of providing of cost-effective private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for patients requiring surgical and other forms of specialized treatment. Singapore’s healthcare services are built on a foundation of world class quality, safety and trustworthiness, coupled with advanced research and international accreditation, and is Asia’s leading medical hub.

Eleven hospitals and medical centres in Singapore have obtained Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. Quite a few of them are ISO-9001-2000 certified as well.

Patients mostly come from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, etc. However, patient numbers from India, China, the Middle East and Africa to Singapore is witnessing fast growth. Over the past few years patients from developed countries such as United States and Europe also have been choosing Singapore as their medical travel destination for relatively affordable quality and yet hassle free healthcare services in a clean cosmopolitan city.Singapore made news for many complex and innovative procedures such as the separation of conjoined twins and tooth-in-eye surgery. The successful separation of the

10-month-old Nepalese conjoined twins in 2001 puts Singapore’s medical expertise onto the World’s headlines. Singapore has since accomplished many more milestones both in Asia and in the world arena.

In the year 2006, many Singapore Hospitals have got accredited themselves through Joint Commission International (JCI), a US-based organisation. This could be a reason why JCI has chosen to set up its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore in 2006. Singapore Hospitals may look towards other European or Asian-based systems of hospital accreditation in an attempt to enhance their brand equity.

Some top Singapore based hospitals are:

1) Alexandra Hospital

Established in the year 1938, this hospital served as one of the prime hospitals for the British Empire in the Far East and was known as the British Military Hospital. Once the World War II ended and even till the 1970s, Alexandra remained to be one of the most modern and well maintained hospitals. More information..

2) Changi General Hospital

Is one of the largest hospitals in Singapore. Its present facilities at Simei were started in the year 1998. It was formed as a result of an amalgamation of two well known hospitals, the Changi Hospital and the Toa Payoh Hospital. The hospital can therefore trace its roots back to the year 1957, when the Thomson Road Hospital began construction More information..

3) National University Hospital

Is a hospital in Singapore that is located next to the medical faculty of the National University of Singapore at Kent Ridge. Besides being a teaching hospital for the university, it also acts as a research centre. This hospital specialises in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Ophthalmology among others. More information..

4) National Cancer Centre Singapore

The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) is a national and regional centre directed at the prevention and treatment of different cancers including those involving the breast, stomach, lung, liver, pancreas, lymphomas and head and neck cancers. More information..

5) eMenders Singapore

eMenders is a group of Singapore-based Physicians and surgeon representing more than 25 different branches of medicine and dentistry

A top medical tourism provider which facilitates patient treatment and travel is:

MedicalSingapore is one of Singapore’s top health tourism service provider. MedicalSingapore links the space between patients in UK, Europe, USA, Middle East and the health service providers in Singapore. They arrange for treatment, stay and travel in Singapore.