Your Questions About Animal Testing

What are the key issues?

Animal welfare view

Animal rights groups on the whole object to all animal testing and many advocate that the results of the testing are unreliable, and that all experiments could be replaced with non-animal testing methods.
Many argue that scientists automatically opt to use animals in trials rather than seeking out non-animal alternatives, and that this mindset needs to change.
They campaign to modernise parts of the legislation governing animal testing arguing that it is out dated.
Science has never had to prove that animal testing works, yet there is a scientific and legal demand to prove that alternatives do work.
Animal rights groups want to see animals being regarded as sentient beings instead of tools for research.
There is also concern about the rise in use of animals in genetic manipulation and cloning.

Research view
The pharmaceutical and scientific community focus on developing new medicines that are effective in humans, and that  deliver the expected result with identified side effects before they get a licence to produce and go to market.
The scientific community argues that even though animal testing doesn’t always deliver perfect results with 100% accuracy, it’s still the only way to do invasive research to understand living systems and to provide the best possible assurance of the effects of new medicines.

Legislative view
In the new Lisbon treaty animals have been given rights as sentient beings, and it’s now a legal requirement not to use animals where there’s an alternative.
European and national legislation demands all medicines are tested in animals before they can be tested in humans.
Some medicines and vaccines must be tested on animals for every batch. These tend to be medicines that are made of, or derived from a live product – such as botox, polio vaccine etc.
The current regulation 86/609 has been revised and now provides further protection for animals. The new legislation, Directive 2010/63 will take effect in member states on 1st January 2013.

Read also:

What is animal testing exactly?

Are there any non-animal testing alternatives?

Comments - we recommend you read our code of conduct

  1. Hannah Robertson says:

    are mice used for growing human organs on and then transplanting those organs onto humans ??

    • edteam says:

      Hi Hannah and thanks for commenting. We recently covered Xenotransplantation – which refers to any procedure that involves the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another – on the blog. You can read the post here . Hope it helps!

  2. Max says:

    I don’t know if I should laugh or be sad.
    You talk as if:

    1 – animals were used just for high scientific scopes, while they are used also to test a useless anti wrinkles cream that doesn’t differ from any other on the market

    2 – tha accuracy in testing results is not 100% as you said, but not even 90%…nor 80%…nor 70%….nor 60% for the simple reason that an animal is not a human, period. If a medicine fails on monkeys and rats but works on cats and dogs can we consider it effective?
    How many times, even in recent years, we had medicines that caused death of humans even if they have been tested on animals with long trials?
    do you know that there are currently software systems that deliver the same if not better performance?

    3 – why not talking about the lobbies making money on this business? Why not mentioning the case of labs buying animals from the black market?

  3. Thanks for your direct questions, as that is what we are striving for on this platform. You raise an interesting point about the testing of cosmetics on animals in cosmetics, and it is important we are clear about legislation in this area. We would like to get an expert or two to answer this question. So stayed tuned.

    Regarding the accuracy of tests, could you maybe provide us with some documentation about the numbers you are mentioning? And in the meantime I’m going to see what I can find out too.

    Finally your question about the black market; really those kind of statements need to be supported by the evidence, can you provide us your more info and again, we will do some checking too.

  4. Damien Devlin says:

    As a biomedical scientist, (as well as a son whose mother died from cardiac problems), I would like to address this issue. I have heard this argument put forward for many years, even back in university, which is too far back to even think about. At that time, I recall healthy young vigourous animal rights protesters chanting outside the university building, at the time, my mother had her second heart attack, was in intensive care, and was being treated effectively by medications and techniques developed yes, by animal testing. At the time I recall thinking, If an animal rights protester, or their mother, had a life threatening illness, would the treatment be refused by them as it was developed via animal testing? I’ve got to admit I would shake their hand in recognition of their resolve, but secretly think they were crazy.
    Now, many decades on, I work in the health service testing blood of patients. Some, but not all, reagents used in testing have been animal derrived, testing chemicals in blood coagulation, especially. In blood grouping monoclonal antibodies derived from mouse origin are also utilised widely. These are usedas there are no alternatives at present, when the technology arrives, alternative animal free chemicals will be used.
    The reduction in animal testing is a good thing, no medical scientist wants suffering, many enter the field to help alleviate suffering, and should be recognised.
    In summation, my mother had her first heart attack when I was just 18.
    Following a long battle of a total of 6 heart attacks, 1 bypass operation and 3 strokes, my mother died peacefully in her sleep when I was 36. I for one cannot express enough gratitude for the medical advances which gave my family an extra 18 years with our mother

  5. Dear Damien, thank you for your input, it is greatly appreciated.

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