Alternatives to Animal Testing
Interestingly enough, there are alternatives to animal testing, so the horrors visited upon defenseless creatures may be not only repulsive, but also unnecessary. In fact, some researchers conclude that the use of animals to predict the effects of treatment on humans is nothing more than bad science. Most animals do not have DNA that is similar to humans. And those animals having similar DNA do not reliably react the same way that humans do. One example is the drug fenphen. In animals, this medication demonstrated no side effects. However, when humans utilized this drug, serious and sometimes fatal side effects developed.
One technique that is now being explored as an alternative to animal testing is rational drug design or molecular mapping . In this process, chemical substances are analyzed to predict how humans will react to a particular medication or drug. This is based on previous research and documentation.
Another technique that can be used as a substitute for animal testing is referred to as data mining . Researchers review drug information databases to discover unknown uses for medications. The known effects of drugs are reviewed to determine if there are some unknown applications that might be appropriate in the treatment of disease and illness.
There are many other substitutes that can be utilized in research rather than subjecting animals to cruel measures. For example,some alternatives to animal testing -- including cell and organ cultures, computer and mathematical simulations, and human placenta and clinical studies -- are gaining ground. Computers are also aiding in the exchange of scientific information, which minimizes duplication of research.
The best research subjects for cosmetics and toiletries are obviously human subjects. Most research companies should attempt to produce non-harmful materials prior to testing. Small fees to willing subjects might save thousands of dollars in the long run, rather than having to maintain even minimal care facilities for animal research subjects.
As the public becomes more aware of the cruel research situations that animals are forced to endure, surveyed attitudes toward animals used in research are taking on an increasingly negative character. In one study, the proportion of those agreeing with the statement -- “Scientists should be allowed to do research that causes pain and injury to animals like dogs and chimpanzees if it produces new information about human health problems” -- has dropped by ten percentage points over the last decade. Additionally, many researchers are reluctant to admit that they utilize animals in their testing procedures because these procedures are frowned upon by the public . Animal testing is not only inappropriate but is unnecessary cruelty to animals given that alternative methods could be utilized.