The role of animals in human life

Animals have been testing dummies for many human safeties over the years, and space travel and exploration is surely one to have at the top of your list. A short list of animals that have been used in space shuttles consists of cats, dogs, guinea pigs, monkeys and many more (Gray,1998). It was very needed for the future of our space exploration to do this, but many animal enthusiasts opposed this practice because of the harmful effects they had on the animals, and also the fact that animals aren’t considered to be human. These animals were our gateway to getting deeper into space, and that’s all anyone cares about in the first place.
The United States and Russia have been sending animals into space since 1947, this was during the big space race. In 1951 a monkey named Yorick and 11 mice were the first animals into space and back home. That’s just one trip that was successful in a 4-year span, that just goes to show how many animals were killed in these trials, and that is the main reason why many people disagree with using animals in practices like that (Gray,1998). There was not very much planning put into some of these trials with sending animals into space. Some stories talked in detail about just strapping animals to rockets and sending them. This is a clear sign that you're sending an animal with no idea if it is even going to work. That is a major problem because you're killing an animal, and because you are wasting time and money. In that time the research capabilities were nothing like we have now, which makes the planning even that much harder. What’s interesting to me is that, “Astronauts in this time were given cyanide pills to commit suicide if anything were to go wrong, nothing more inhumane than that (Roach,2010).” Sending up an animal and having it die in space is much less of a tragedy than having a father not come home to his wife and family. How would you feel as a child losing your father on an exploratory trip, or as a wife you just lost your partner, along with your other part of income for your family?
Many people find it to be inhumane to have animals be sent there with the consequences being unknown. The reason that animals was sent into space was to first test if humans could handle many of the conditions they would face in space. Weightlessness was a huge worry for scientists, they weren’t sure if the humans could digest their own food. With that being said, it was a worry that astronauts might suffocate on the contents of their stomachs in times of weightlessness, and obviously another huge reason animals were sent into space to start with was to see if they could withstand air pressure and not die straight upon impact (Roach,2010). Often, the trip did work, and the animal did make it back alive, but when they didn’t, scientists gained knowledge from each failure. For example, with the chimpanzee Laika entering the earth’s orbit and suffocating shortly after (Roach,2010). Sending these animals into space is what gave us scientists insight as to how humans would be able to survive in space. Which was the right move because we have grown so much in our knowledge of space and what lies beyond because of the space race and animal usage.
Astronauts hated the fact that animals were put into shuttles and sent into space. Mary Roach quoted Bill Britz by saying “To be proceeded by a chimpanzee was just a blow to their ego (Roach,2010).” They wanted to be the first to space considering the work they did, it was about pride. “Astronauts nowadays will only spend about 1% of their time in space, and literally all of their time is spent doing research and planning (Roach,2010).” Not only did the astronauts hate animals going to space, but when the animals got to space, they couldn’t report findings or what they say. This is what is considered to be known as the downfall about sending animals into space.
The trials to send animals into space years ago were key components to help us get our foot in the door into space, but also a step up on Russia. Granted this wouldn’t be done in today’s time, but back when it was widely done, I agree with it. Those trials opened the door for scientists and other astronauts to gather information that we probably wouldn’t have received until a much later time if they had not sent animals. Many things that people don’t agree with in the past, but those things have helped us gain insight to move deeper and deeper into our finds. I know it’s hard to look at the things that animals go through when put on these missions, but in the end people in the space entry look at them as heroes.
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