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SCIENCE, MEDICINE, AND ANIMALS What Is the Cost to Society of the Animal Rights Movement? The animal rights movement imposes costs on society in both the short term and the long term. In the short term, the animal rights movement has driven up the costs of research, with a corresponding decrease in how much research can be done. Money has to be spent on the tighter security in response to the threat of break-ins, and facilities must be repaired and work redone after a break-in or vandalism. These are substantial costs, but even more significant are the long-term costs. If research is slowed, human health will suffer—maybe not immediately, but at some point in the future. New treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, and heart disease, new antibiotics and vaccines, ways to regenerate damaged nerve and brain cells, treatments for mental disorders, and a host of other therapies and advances will be delayed or may not occur at all if animal research is curtailed. These are the very real costs that must be taken into account in considering animal research. A nurse reads to a child in a laminar airflow unit used to protect people with suppressed immune systems. In this germ-free environment, air flows out one way and germs cannot reenter the system.
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