Animal testing for products is not only inhumane but also unreliable with safe alternative methods available. Animals used in testing go thru intense trauma in their very short span of life. Animal research and testing is expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable because animals are never going to be exactly like a human being. These animals are suffering for unnecessary reasons. It has been proven again and again that things that work in animals fail in humans. There are many other available alternatives that will do a better job and save millions of animals from suffering.
Animal testing on innocent animals is not what we should be doing at this point in our evolution. We are a smart resourceful living being that has alternative methods that are cheaper, reliable, and less cruel to other living things. In 1959 William Russell and Rex Burch introduced the principle of the 3Rs (Replace, Reduce, and Refine) in The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique”. This article provided a guideline for performing animal research.
Replacement refers to technologies or approaches which replace or avoid the use of animals in experiments. There can be a full replacement or a partial replacement. A full replacement avoids the use of any research animals. It includes the use of human volunteers, tissues and cells, mathematical and computer models, and established cell lines. A partial replacement includes the use of some animals that, based on current scientific thinking, are not considered capable of experiencing suffering. This includes invertebrates such as worms and social amoebae, and immature forms of vertebrates.
Reduction refers to methods that minimize the number of animals used per experiment or study. It also includes methods which allow the information gathered per animal in an experiment to be shared in order to reduce the use of additional animals. Examples of this include the use of some imaging modalities which allow longitudinal measurements in the same animal to be taken or micro sampling of blood, where small volumes enable repeat sampling in the same animal. Refinement refers to methods that minimize the pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm that may be experienced by research animals. Refinement applies to all aspects of animal use, from their housing and husbandry to the scientific procedures performed on them. Examples of refinement include ensuring the animals are provided with housing that allows the expression of species-specific behaviors, using appropriate anesthesia to minimize pain, and to minimize any distress. Evidence suggests that pain and suffering can alter an animal’s behavior, physiology, and immunology. Such changes can lead to variation in experimental results that impairs both the reliability and repeatability of studies. The 3Rs, over time, have become established as crucial considerations and influenced new legislation aimed at controlling the use of animals in these experiments. Animals used in product testing endure pain, stress, and have no chance for a quality of life. While testing is being done on animals, they cannot express in words how they are feeling about what is being done to them. Animals have feelings, show love, and definitely feel pain. Anyone with an animal can attest to that. Why do we have a right to mistreat another living creature? A conservative estimate is that tens of millions of animals are being killed or maimed each year in research on the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, agricultural chemicals and consumer products. Besides living in very small cages, they are often restrained while given hurtful things both topically and internally injected. A four-month secret investigation of a Canadian lab in 2016 revealed animals left untreated, abused physically by lab techs, and nothing was reported about this stress and treatment. (Care 2) The animals either die during the testing or soon after from the abuse or they are euthanized. They are never released. They never get to feel love and enjoyment. They never get to experience life. The animals are under extreme stress. Stress negatively influences the reliability of animal research data. Stress influences heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, muscular activity, and hormone levels and can modify the normal values of these variables significantly. Studies have shown that animals experience sympathy pains and react to seeing and hearing other animals in distress. (Feder) So, ultimately the mistreatment and lack of care sabotages their tests. Not only is the use of animals cruel, it is also inaccurate. Does a human body resemble the body of a rat? The answer is NO, we are not made up exactly like a rat! Animals used in testing are not the same as human beings and the results are not always accurate because of that. Many tests have been done on the reliability of the results from animals. Often the animal will show one result and another animal will show a different result and still the human being shows another result. Do you trust that the product was okay on a mouse so it must be okay on your child? Industry executives say that as much as 25 percent of the drugs tested on animals failed to show side effects that later proved serious enough to prevent the drugs from being marketed. (Feder) Basically, if a coin was flipped to guess how a human will respond to a certain drug, the prediction would actually be as accurate as if you tested the drug on a nonhuman animal. One example is with the late Dr. Bj§rn Ekwall (Cytotoxicology Laboratory in Sweden) who developed a replacement for the LD50 test that measured toxicity at a precision rate of up to 85% accuracy compared to the original LD50 rate on animals of 61-65%. This test, far more accurate than the animal models, uses donated human tissue rather than animals. Also, the test can target toxic effects on specific human organs, whether the toxic substance permeates the blood barrier, and other highly sophisticated and precise information that the agonizing death of an animal of a different species would not reveal. (Neavs) Another example is cancer research. Despite millions of animals used and billions of taxpayer dollars spent on cancer research, roughly 95% of cancer drugs that enter human clinical testing fail while our incidences of cancer have continued to rise. (Neavs) For decades, cancer has been cured for in mice but does not work in humans. Even chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, do not accurately predict results in humans. Of the more than 80 HIV vaccines that have proven safe and efficacious in chimpanzees (as well as other nonhuman primates), all have failed to protect or prove safe in humans in nearly 200 human clinical trials, with one actually increasing a human’s chance of HIV infection. (Neavs) One last example is when London clinicians injected six volunteers with tiny doses of TGN1412, an experimental therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis that had previously been given, with no obvious ill effects, to mice, rats, rabbits, and monkeys. Within minutes, the human test subjects were writhing on the floor in agony. The compound was designed to dampen the immune response but it had supercharged theirs, unleashing a cascade of chemicals that sent all six to the hospital. Several of the men suffered permanent organ damage, and one man’s head swelled up so horribly that British tabloids refer to the case as the “elephant man trial.” (Allen) A few other examples would be that penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs, aspirin is poisonous to cats, and the recalled diet drug phen-fen caused no heart damage in animals, while it did in humans. Species differences in anatomy, organ structure and function, toxin metabolism, chemical and drug absorption, and mechanisms of DNA repair, among other differences between humans and other species, can give us inadequate information when we attempt to apply animal data to human diseases and drug responses. Since animals and humans are not exact, don’t you think it would be wise to use another way to test products that are more reliable? Animals used in testing can and should be replaced by other scientifically proven alternatives. Wouldn’t it make sense to spend money on testing that has reliable true results? There are many alternatives that can be used that do save the company money while providing accurate results that do not torture animals in the process. Nearly 50 different alternative methods and testing strategies have been developed, validated and/or accepted by international regulatory authorities. (Human Society) Snippets of human skin, eyes, and the lining of the throat and other tissues are now routinely grown in test tubes from donated human cells. Human cells have been used to create innovative little devices called organs-on-chips’. These can be used instead of animals to study biological and disease processes, as well as drug metabolism. Devices have already been produced that accurately mimic the lung, heart, kidney and gut. The ultimate goal is to use these chips to create a whole human-on-a-chip'(Cruelty Free) Human tissue can be donated from surgery (e.g. biopsies, cosmetic surgery and transplants). Human tissue can also be used after a person has died (e.g. post-mortems). Post-mortem brain tissue has provided important leads to understanding brain regeneration and the effects of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. (Cruelty Free) In-vitro tests using human cells have been making headway. InVitro International’s Corrositex (synthetic skin) can provide a chemical corrosivity determination in as little as 3 minutes to four hours, unlike animal testing that often takes two to four weeks. DakDak, an alternative test used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens, was reported to do in days what it takes animal studies months to do, and estimates that it can test five or six products for less than half the cost to study a single product in animals. The traditional testing of chemicals using animals can take up to five years per substance and cost millions of dollars, while non-animal alternatives can test hundreds of chemicals in a week for a fraction of the cost. (Neavs) There are also stem cell and genetic testing methods. Scientists have even managed to get cells to grow into 3D structures, such as miniature human organs, which can provide a more realistic way to test new tings. Testing is being conducted virtually, using computers and simulation software. People are able to volunteer for testing that is not fatal or have any bad side effects. These volunteers get microdoses (very low quantities) of potential drugs. These tests will not affect the whole body system. By using blood from human volunteers to test for the presence of fever-causing contaminants in intravenous medicines can save hundreds of thousands of rabbits each year from traditional “pyrogen” tests. (Humane Society) Procter & Gamble has spent $225 million developing and deploying alternative testing methods for a wide range of personal-care and pet food products over the last 20 years. (Feder) L’Or©al, the French cosmetics giant, says it has spent more than $800 million over the same period. That includes deals to buy Episkin and SkinEthic, two companies that make alternative tests.(Feder) Relying on animal research and testing to protect and improve human health is not only unsafe and inhumane to the animals, but also expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable. They cannot do anything but sit in the cage and suffer. How would you like to spend your entire life in a space as big as a small box enduring horrific pain and suffering with no way to say no or say stop. These animals are suffering for unnecessary reasons. It has been proven again and again that things that work in animals fail in humans. WE are not exactly the same and the results are also not going to be the same with so many differences within each species. There are many other available alternatives that will do a better job and save millions of animals from suffering. You can see that by replacing animal tests does not mean putting human patients at risk. It also does not mean halting medical progress. Instead, replacing animal testing will improve the quality as well as the humaneness of our science. Animal testing on innocent animals is not what we should be doing at this point in our evolution. We are a smart resourceful living being that has alternative methods that are cheaper, reliable, and less cruel to other living things.