Although tests are conductedmuch more frequently on lab animals, especially those most related to humans,they do not provide sufficient information. The history of medicine shows that there has always been a need forexperimentation on human beings. Examples of these consist of the inoculationof Newgate prisoners in 1721, who had been condemned to death with Smallpox. In1796, Edward Jenner, also studying Smallpox, inoculated an eight year old boywith pus from a diseased cow. The list goes on, and such experiments continueeven until today.
Nowadays these experiments would be ethically and legally unacceptable. Nevertheless, there have been clear documented cases of abuse in recent times. An example of this is the experiments conducted by Nazi doctors on prisoners inthe concentration camps during the Holocaust. Does this mean that since there is potential for abuse, allexperimentation should be banned? This would mean that society would becondemned to remain at the same level of knowledge (status quo)?Bioethically speaking, how far can we go in the study of the humanwithout crossing the line? The fundamental question is, since we are the onesdrawing the line, where do we draw it?The purpose of this essay is to provide a clear sense of the present lawon this issue. Second, to review the problems raised by experimentation onanimals.
To show some different examples of bioethics. Third, to show thebiblical view of the matter. Finally, to bring the reader to his or her ownclear conclusion, without a bias opinion on the matter. THE CURRENT STATE OF THE LAWBiomedical experimentation on human subjects raises many complex legalproblems that the law must deal with accordingly.
For example, infringement onthe rules subjects the researcher not only to criminal sanctions, but also civilsanctions (damages for harm caused), administrative sanctions (withdrawal offunds), or disciplinary sanctions (suspension from the researchers’ professionalassociation). Since we are in Canada, there are two categories of law dealing withregulating experimentation. The first is Federal and Provincial Legislation. The second consists of documents, codes of ethics and reports, which while notnecessarily enforceable, strongly urge researchers experiments on human subjectsto observe certain standards of conduct. A. FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL LEGISLATIONThe Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms governs here.
Some of itsprovisions in effect make certain kinds of experiments illegal. ;Anyexperimental activity which endangers the protected values is thereof illegal. ;Another is according to current case law, ;treatment; may be broadly construedrather than being limited to therapy. Criminal sanctions dealing with offences against the person make itpossible to penalize those causing harm to a subject who has not given validconsent to an experiment. Explaining this, many experiments on humans are legaland performed everyday.
No experiment is performed without a purpose. The mostcommon is during surgery, the patients give valid consent to have experimentsconducted on them during the operation. With respect to medications, citizens of Canada are given protection bythe Food and Drug Act. These laws control new medications into the market.
Although this seems as though it contains no ethical procedures it touches uponthe experimentation prior to the release of the medication. Many animals havebeen used in order to bring these medications to the market. Furthermore,humans must have been used during experimentation. According to the Law, anyexperiment performed on a person to bring out any new medication may result incriminal sanction (homicide, damages for harm, suspension). Here are a few examples given by the Charter of the Rights and Freedoms.
The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animalexperimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the diseased of otherproblem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance ofthe experiment. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined bythe humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment. *The voluntary consent of the human is absolutely essential. B. ETHICAL DOCUMENTSIn 1977, a report of the Canada Council was prepared on ethics.
It wasresponsible for construing ethical guidelines for the people to abide by.Although the report deals with ethics in the bio-medical studies, it emphasizesmore on other issues.ANIMAL RIGHTSEXPERIMENTATION ON FETUSESeuthanasia, abortion, genetic engineeringSince the law states that most experimentation performed on animals andhumans is unethical yet provides fruitful .