Alternatives To Animal Testing Gaining Ground
Advances in technology could lead to the declining use of animal testing over the next couple of decades if new systems are accepted by researchers and government regulators. Global estimates of animals used in research experiments range from tens of millions to 100 million or more per year; 80 to 800 animals are used in testing for each new drug introduced.
Mainstream researchers are adhering to the “Three Rs” of animals in research — reduction in use of animals, refinement of tests, and replacement with new technology where possible. A 2009 survey by Pew Charitable Trust found that 93% of scientists support animal research though only about half of the general public is in support.
In recent years, there have been a number of alternatives to animal research and animal testing itself does not always reveal the harmful effects on people. Alternatives such as computer analysis and modeling may be more accurate and less expensive than traditional animal research. Companies may also be able to get through testing more quickly and drop dangerous chemicals and drugs faster.