Are there any non-animal testing alternatives?
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Animal research studies in plain words
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EU Animal Research: Shall it stay or shall it go?
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Why are animals used for testing?
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Latest News

Jean-Claude Nouët: What does alternative mean?

July 26th, 2012 No Comments

A couple of months ago we had the privilege to go to Paris and interview Professor Jean-Claude Nouët, Honorary President and cofounder of the Ligue Francaise des Droits de l'Animal, éthique et science (LFDA).

During our two hours discussion, Professor Nouët touched on different aspects of the use of animals in scientific research, including alternatives and the 3Rs. We will be publishing parts of the interview over the coming weeks, however looking at your comments and questions over the past months, we thought the following topic was a good one to start with.

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Implementing stricter lab animal legislation – how’s your country doing?

July 3rd, 2012 No Comments

Where did the first half of this year go? In the world of European legislation, 2012 is a key milestone for the transposition of stricter legislation which will increase the protection and welfare of laboratory animals used for scientific purposes.

Post the adoption of Directive 2010/63/EU in September 2011, this law is now being translated and implemented at national level, across Europe.

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Richard Fosse

The unseen compassion of animal scientists

June 7th, 2012 2 Comments

Richard FosseThe people who work with laboratory animals are a compassionate bunch who would gladly use alternative methods if they could deliver the same results.

Like many people who do what I do, I’d quite like to become redundant. That is, I’d be content if my current job were made obsolete by advances in science.

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Animal research

Do we need more to treat non-contagious diseases?

May 29th, 2012 2 Comments

Animal researchHeart disease, stroke, many cancers, asthma, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and many more are what the  World Health Organisation calls non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or non-contagious diseases.  NCDs may be chronic diseases of long duration and slow progression, or they may result in more rapid death such as some types of sudden stroke.

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Understanding Directive 2010/63: the new legislation governing the use of lab animals

May 5th, 2012 No Comments

Central to the debate on the use of animals in research, is the legislation that governs it. And after more than eight years of negotiations, the 1986 legislation (Directive 86/609) overseeing the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, was updated and published in September 2010.

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Xenotransplantation: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?

April 10th, 2012 No Comments

pigIt would appear that not a week goes by without a revolutionary scientific advance coming to the fore of societal discussion – advances that seem inevitably, as mankind’s understanding of the very building blocks of nature expands, to be accompanied by ethical questions.

In short, are scientists too concerned about what they can achieve to stop to consider whether perhaps they should? Xenotransplantation, which is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another, with the cells, tissues and organs in question referred to as xenografts or xenotransplants, is no exception, and is an innovation that is raising many novel medical, legal and ethical issues

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Animal testing

Animal transport protests: Scientists stress welfare and risks posed to research

April 3rd, 2012 2 Comments

Animal testingIn recent days, the issue of research animals transport has once again come to the fore in the UK, with increasingly vocal and heated crossfire between animal-rights activists and scientific researchers being the hallmark of the debate.

At the core of the issue is the increasing refusal, as reported in the Daily Telegraph and elsewhere, of ferry companies and airlines to carry live mice, rats and rabbits intended for scientific research, following pressure from animal-rights campaigners.

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NC3RS awards herald improved cancer-chemicals tests on fewer animals

March 5th, 2012 1 Comment

Clinical-ResearchThe National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) has awarded two grants totalling almost £900,000, to Brunel University’s Professor Robert Newbold and Swansea University’s Professor Gareth Jenkins, funds that are to be implemented in fundamental research to develop new testing methods, based on human-cell structures, for cancer-causing chemicals, a move that aims to reduce the number of animals used in tests in the years ahead.

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The 3Rs: what is progress?

February 21st, 2012 No Comments

Advances in science will present some people with new dilemmas. What if new research methods mean more primate-based studies but using fewer animals overall?

The latest trends in biopharmaceuticals will make it possible to develop fragments of antibodies – some of which can be used as new therapies – without using as many mice or rats as would have been required in the past.

The early stages of research can be done using large volumes of cell samples and with the help of computer modelling, so we essentially skip the animal-intensive phase of early research where large numbers of potential therapies would previously have been tested on rodents.

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InheritanceChart - animal testing perspectives

A family perspective on the animal research debate

February 8th, 2012 2 Comments

InheritanceChart - animal testing perspectivesIt was in 1994 when we learned from an ophthalmologist that our sons had a problem. Aged 18 and 20, and both deaf from birth, our boys were now losing their eye sight.

That’s how Usher Syndrome, a rare untreatable genetic disease leading to deaf blindness, first became a part of our lives. You can imagine the emotional rollercoaster, taking us from feeling a sense of shock and injustice to the struggle of dealing with an ‘unacceptable’ situation.

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Could animal-free research deliver new medicines more efficiently?

January 24th, 2012 No Comments

Non-animal research methods could make drug development faster and cheaper, according to an award-winning researcher.

Professor Claus-Michael Lehr, a drug development scientist at the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), believes new methods using cell culture instead of rats and mice will help deliver medicines more efficiently.

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Can nanotechnology reduce the need for animal research

January 16th, 2012 2 Comments

The idea of using new nanotechnology breakthroughs to reduce the use of animals in laboratories has caught the imagination of European researchers.

Nanotechnology is a broad field focused on the study of things of a very small scale, and scientists hope these tiniest of techniques might add to the arsenal of non-animal research methods.

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Blog 1: To demand certainty from science is to misunderstand it

December 14th, 2011 2 Comments

Insisting that animals be used only when the results of experiments have guaranteed benefits for human health is to misunderstand science, even to  undermine the  drive for scientific knowledge.

Science is rarely as certain or a simple as some expect. It is never possible to know for sure how new knowledge will be used.

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Novo Nordisk to limit use of animal testing

Unnecessary animal tests are replaced by alternative testing methods at Danish pharmaceutical company

December 9th, 2011 No Comments

Novo Nordisk to limit use of animal testingNovo Nordisk recently announced the end of using living animals to test the quality of batches of medicines produced by the company.

It has taken ten years for a dedicated company task force to get rid of all redundant product control tests in living animals or to replace them with other methods of testing. Working in close collaboration with regulatory authorities around the world, the task force has replaced all obsolete tests at Novo Nordisk using live animals. The alternative testing method, the use of animal cells rather than living animals, had first to prove its efficacy before being approved by regulators.

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Vaccines: ‘paradigm shift’ could slash dependence on animals

December 6th, 2011 No Comments

Ever since Edward Jenner inoculated an eight-year-old boy against smallpox using the pus from a milkmaid’s cowpox blister, animals have been central to vaccination.


That was 1796. More than 200 years later smallpox has been eradicated and deaths caused by infectious diseases like diphtheria, tetanus and polio have been slashed. The benefits for humans have been immense but this progress has come at the cost of literally millions of animals.

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