“Animal testing” — what comes to mind when you hear those words? For many, it is PETA videos or images of labs animals. Too often what doesn’t come to mind are the many medical advances that have been made possible only through animal testing.

Each year, the number of animals used in research ranges from 13 million to more than 25 million. But the use of so many animals hasn’t been for nothing. Animal testing has led to vaccines, treatments and a better understanding of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and cystic fibrosis, to name a few. Advancements in medicine continue to save Americans millions of dollars each year due to prevention treatments and drugs that would not be possible without animal testing.

I can attest to the importance of animal testing. As a researcher at a University of Minnesota lab for the past year and a half, I’ve used animals, specifically frogs, in my study of the rare genetic disease Fanconi anemia. The results of my studies would not have been possible without the use of frogs.

The lenses through which we can view the issue of animal testing are shaped by our upbringing, interactions with the environment and others, and myriad other factors. So what lenses are you wearing? What do you support?

Emily Chen, Plymouth