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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

[Science and the world of tomorrow] An extract to cure Alzheimer’s is developed but to get an ounce of it require the destruction of 10,000 dogs, would you ever use it?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26811points) October 19th, 2016

Scientist discover that an enzyme in the brains of dogs had the ability to prevent and even cure Alzheimer’s, but it took three 2 oz. doses of an enzyme derived from the brains of dogs, and each ounce took the destruction of 10,000 dogs, would you use it or advocate it’s use? What if a family member had Alzheimer’s, would that change how you feeling about using it? If the demand for it grew to the point mills were established where dogs were bred just to supply the extract like cattle are now bred for food, how would you feel?

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25 Answers

Zaku's avatar

No.
No.
No.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

They would be breeding the animals just for this if that was the case, they wouldn’t be zapping spot and fido, so yes I would have no problem using it.

Soubresaut's avatar

My initial impulse is that I couldn’t.

But then, 9.2 billion farm animals were slaughtered last year (source), and although I have moral issues with that, it seems to put the figures into perspective. We already slaughter a ton of animals. So long as the dogs are treated humanely (which is more than I can say for many of the farm animals… or, from what I understand, slaughterhouse employees)... I might be able to go there.

But I can’t imagine them being treated humanely. No creature should be forced to remain in cages their entire lives, or cooped up in over-crowded, feces-ridden warehouses. And when the Alzheimer’s drug gets to mass market, how would the dogs be treated differently in the already established industry?

So no, I couldn’t go there. And I’m saying that as someone with a family history of Alzheimer’s. Honestly my saying “no” is only partially due to the head count. I’d have a hard time with a smaller number, even though I understand the arguments people would rise in favor of slaughtering the dogs the smaller the number gets.

But in the interest of getting others on my side in this hypothetical—let’s do crunch the numbers. Because maybe people are thinking “wow, that’s a tough call, but bringing someone’s mind out of dementia is worth 10,000 dogs.”—I’m not sure even that would be okay, but regardless: It’s not 10,000 dogs per person: it’s 60,000, carefully set up in the prompt. (10,000 dogs / 1 oz) * (2 oz / 1 dose) * (3 doses / 1 cure) = 60,000 dogs / cure.

And according to this source, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds. Which makes the figure become 27,825,882,360 dogs per year. (1 diagnosis / 68 s) * (31,536,000 s / 1 yr) * (60,000 dogs / 1 diagnosis) = 27,825,882,360 dogs / yr.

So if we think the scale of our farm industry strains good moral behavior as it is—imagine something over 3000 times as large.

I would, however, be very much in favor of scientists getting paid large grants to develop ways to produce the enzyme synthetically. We’ve got to be able to, in this day and age, splice the genes from dogs that codes for the enzyme and place it into bacteria?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sure. Not even close.

kritiper's avatar

Use what?

LornaLove's avatar

No, I wouldn’t.

zenvelo's avatar

The beauty of this supposedly difficult situation is that we are at the point where such an enzyme would be pretty easy to replicate synthetically. So while the research might go through a number of dogs, long term solution for the scourge of Alzheimers would not,

And, it isn’t destroying the dogs to harvest the enzyme that would make it difficult, as much as the whole breeding and caring before slaughtering that would make it ineffective from cost.

Also, it wouldn’t be 10,000 dogs, the way you set up the supposition is 60,000 dogs to treat one patient. That would but the cost at well over a quarter million dollars per treatment cycle.

ragingloli's avatar

I would kill 10000 dogs even if I got nothing out of it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Soubresaut I would, however, be very much in favor of scientists getting paid large grants to develop ways to produce the enzyme synthetically.
Interesting, how could that be done while keeping the enzyme in whatever serum organic, or natural?

ragingloli's avatar

you can insert the required genes into the dna of bacteria and harvest them.

Stinley's avatar

I love @Soubresaut‘s answer. I would say that this cure has no hope of being developed in this form, so it becomes a moot hypothetical question (if such a thing is possible).

In terms of the morals, no I wouldn’t have a problem. I disagree with animal testing for beauty and cosmetic purposes but I do agree with it for drug development. So many life saving treatments have come out of animal testing. I eat meat. I don’t need to but choose to. Morally, in my opinion, eating meat when you can get a good diet from plants, is worse than testing life saving treatments on animals.

JLeslie's avatar

Dogs that will be euthanized anyway?

If we can come up with a synthetic I would try that first. Usually, the synthetic comes later though.

I want to mention that years ago I did a question asking people who are against embryonic stem cell research if cures are found would they use the cure. They pretty much all said yes. I asked it on Facebook, and they all said yes there too.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

No, and I’ll say it 10,000 times.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I reluctantly say yes. There are many things we already get from farmed animals. Consider most insulin comes from pigs. Without it. We’d have a lot of sick ,or dead people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would have killed 10,000 dogs myself if it would have spared my mother the hell of Alzheimer.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. It’s pretty terrible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

We need to think this through a little more. Ten thousand dogs is a lot of parts – legs, ears, bodies, etc.

If we were going to do this in an ethical way, we should find a way to recycle / reuse all the parts of the dog, like we do for pigs (bacon, porkchops, etc.) and cows (tongue, steak, ground beef, etc.) and chickens (wings, breasts, thighs, etc.)

Which means that research is needed: what dog parts can be marketed and sold as food?

I’d be even more supportive of this idea if there was an alternative to just dumping the unused dog parts some place/

Soubresaut's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central—I don’t think it needs to be organic… It’ll be the correct protein structure, so it’ll be the correct enzyme, it’ll just have been developed in a more ethical way. It was my understanding that most drugs are synthetically produced, even if many of them were discovered initially as products sitting somewhere in nature.

And in this case, it’s just that we’re having a different organism (microorganism) produce the enzyme. A GMO microorganism.

…. A very brief search led me to a company that already does the sort of gene isolating and splicing I was talking about microorganism to microorganism: “The gene from the original microorganism that codes for the enzyme is inserted into the production microorganism using modern biotechnology. Our microorganisms are then able to produce exactly the same enzyme, but in larger quantities and under much safer conditions than the original microorganism” (source). Yes a dog’s genetic code is more complex, but a dog’s genetic code has also been extensively researched, so we would already be ahead of the game in terms of isolating the correct piece(s) of DNA…. especially if this is an enzyme found only in dogs: because that would more or less eliminate from possibility the common code dogs have with other creatures.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Stinley In terms of the morals, no I wouldn’t have a problem. I disagree with animal testing for beauty and cosmetic purposes but I do agree with it for drug development.
First there is no morality to be employed, if there was, the end result or usage of the animal would be of no consequence. Why would it be worse to test animals for cosmetics, or make steroids safe, but not because it was making medicines or perfecting some medical procedure?

@JLeslie I did a question asking people who are against embryonic stem cell research if cures are found would they use the cure. They pretty much all said yes. I asked it on Facebook, and they all said yes there too.
That is kind of telling…..guess it shows how high up dogs are on the food chain in reality.

@elbanditoroso Which means that research is needed: what dog parts can be marketed and sold as food?
Terrier patties or Great Dane chops, etc. exported to a starving nation would suffice, I don’t think they would have no compunction chowing down on the canines if it meant their youngest child would live another week.

@Soubresaut It’ll be the correct protein structure, so it’ll be the correct enzyme, it’ll just have been developed in a more ethical way.
Why can’t they do that for sugar? Synthetic sugar is never good as the real thing, and I know others like myself, who never really trusted the ”man-made” sweeteners. If it were as easy as using bacteria one would think they could make a synthetic sugar that was as close to natural as one could get, just removing the negatives

Stinley's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I think that morality is not clear cut. What is immoral or unethical or wrong for someone can be ok for someone else and completely fine for another. I also think that there are levels of wrong. Somethings are more wrong than others. Someone may disagree with this and think that if it’s wrong then it’s wrong and that fine – I can see why someone could think that.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would use it. But I wouldn’t be able to afford such an expensive medication .

MrGrimm888's avatar

Maybe a better question to someone such as my self, ‘What if it killed all dogs?’

For me, I’m willing to pay a steep price for things. But that would be something that I’d have to give greater thought to. Let’s say there was a spray of poison that killed the disease, that could be sprayed like insecticide, by planes and such. But it would kill all the dogs too,for some reason.

The (smart) answer is still yes. Human lives have more value than other lifeforms. To humans.

This question could have been asked in many different ways.

As HC probably already figured, we all put animals lives (even thousands ) in a lower category as ourselves. If it comes to it.

Never see a dog again, or cure a horrific disease. That’s a rough one, considering I’ve seen several loved ones suffer through it.

But I LOVE dogs. I love most animals, and I don’t take them for granted. But currently shelters have to euthanize thousands of dogs all the time.

This would at least add purpose to the killing.

Another question, ‘how many human lives are worth the continued life of a loved one?’

Maybe another thread…

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