Astounding technological advances over the past few decades have changed the world, especially in the realm of science.
It is now possible to conduct a vast array of experiments without using animals and derive results that are faster, cheaper and more relevant to human medicine.
Genomics and DNA sequencing allow scientists to link human genetic traits to specific diseases, providing new routes for cures and treatments.
Non-invasive imaging techniques enable a window into the human brain and body, often in real time, providing new avenues for research, diagnosis and treatment.
Cell culture research has been refined and developed over decades to provide means of studying intricate human processes, and applications for new treatments, without invasive research on people or animals.
These and other methods have contributed to a revolution in biomedical research that has reaped dramatic rewards.
But despite these technological advances, a heavy reliance on animal experiments continues. Tens of millions of animals continue to be used each year in the United States in scientific research, for everything from chemical safety testing and drug development to disease research and rudimentary science experiments.
Reliance on animals continues, not because it is effective, but due to inertia, lack of training, vested financial interests and adherence to outdated traditions.
The public unwittingly supports animal research, believing it to be essential for medical progress. At the same time, scientists increasingly acknowledge that animal experiments are not producing information that is applicable to human disease.
Despite compelling admissions from key governmental agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and others, about the fundamental failure of animal tests, no meaningful steps have been taken to truly overhaul the current over reliance on animal tests. Indeed, the FDA’s blanket requirement for animal testing creates a serious impediment to forward progress in reducing unnecessary animal tests.
It is time to redirect resources currently devoted to animal experiments toward utilizing and expanding non-animal methods, so that we can begin to vastly reduce the use of animals and pave the way for the day that they are no longer used at all.