Alternatives
 

The better solution for all

People have a need for security and medical progress. Many insist that this security would be threatened or medical progress rendered impossible without animal experiments. This, however, is far from being true. There are alternatives thanks to which not only the research goals can be achieved but that are also much safer than classical animal experiments.

 

Replace, reduce, refine animal experiments

There are different approaches towards protecting animals from experiments. Ideally, we should opt for research methods that do entirely without animal experiments. If work is carried out with humane cells, for instance, the results would not have to be transferred from animal to human – which would make them all the more trustworthy.

 

Unfortunately, not every animal experiment can be avoided yet. Nevertheless, any measure taken to prevent the suffering of (test) animals is a step in the right direction. One such measure is referred to as the 3R Principle, i.e. Replace, Reduce Refine Animal Experiments:

 

  • Replacing involves intense attempts to develop methods that pemit a given purpose to be achieved without conducting experiments on animals. It is important to know that alternative methods are not to replace the animal experiment as such but to achieve the same research goal.
    Example: In the past years, a large number of cosmetics manufacturers have switched to testing how far a substance can penetrate skin layers by working with multilayer cell cultures.
  • Reducing involves reducing the number of test animals used. In-depth clarifications are carried out in order to determine whether the research goal could also be achieved with a smaller number of animals.
    Example: A cancer medication is tested on mice. Carrying out a pilot or a preliminary test can help to reduce the number of test animals required significantly. A small number of test mice are already sufficient to demonstrate the efficacy of a drug prior to its being tested in different dosages on a larger number of animals.
  • Refining involves reducing the burden borne by test animals. Test procedures are refined in order to reduce animal suffering. Amongst others, thanks to the support of animal protection organizations, investigations into how legally required animal experiments could be executed in a manner kinder to the animals are currently being carried out.
    Example: After surgery, the animals are given painkillers. They are not simply left to fare on their own but are checked daily. Animals in great pain are put down.

 

A rocky path

The development and use of alternative methods are part of the battle against obsolete convictions, i.e. that animal experiments are the only possibility and thus the gold standard. Advocates go as far as to demand that alternative methods furnish precisely the same results as comparable animal experiments. A strange demand, if you consider that animal experiments are never validated or checked with regard to their significance and that alternative methods can furnish better results and more safety.

 

The Zurich Animal Protection Association actively supports the development and publication of alternatives to animal experiments.

 

Without animal suffering

Laborantin mit Zellkulturen
© KaYann / fotolia.com
 

Links

  • Der bessere Weg (Akademie für Tierschutz, Deutscher Tierschutzbund) (The Better Way, Academy for Animal Protection, German Animal Protection Association)
  • Forschung ohne Tierleid (Ärzte gegen Tierversuche) (Research without Animal Suffering, Doctors against Animal Experiments)
  • Firma Biotech künftig ohne Tierversuche (Biotech Company – A future without animal experiments)
    (aus „Tierschutz aktuell“ 4/2008, Menschen für Tierrechte/ Tierversuchsgegner Baden-Württemberg) (from „Tierschutz aktuell“ 4/2008, People for Animal Rights / Opponents of Animal Experiments Baden-Württemberg)