Animal experiments are cruel, unreliable, and even dangerous The harmful use of animals in experiments is not only cruel but also often ineffective. Animals do not get many of the human diseases that people do, such as major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s disease, or schizophrenia. Instead, signs of these diseases are artificially induced in animals in laboratories in an attempt to mimic the human disease.
Yet, such experiments belittle the complexity of human conditions which are affected by wide-ranging variables such as genetics, socio-economic factors, deeply-rooted psychological issues and different personal experiences. It is not surprising to find that treatments showing ‘promise’ in animals rarely work in humans. Not only are time, money and animals’ lives being wasted (with a huge amount of suffering), but effective treatments are being mistakenly discarded and harmful treatments are getting through.
The support for animal testing is based largely on anecdote and is not backed up, we believe, by the scientific evidence that is out there. Despite many decades of studying conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke and AIDS in animals, we do not yet have reliable and fully effective cures. The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse.
We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in human beings. Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the US National Cancer Institute Unreliable animal testing 90% of drugs fail in human trials despite promising results in animal tests – whether on safety grounds or because they do not work Cancer drugs have the lowest success rate (only 5% are approved after entering clinical trials) followed by psychiatry drugs (6% success rate), heart drugs (7% success rate) and neurology drugs (8% success rate).
Using dogs, rats, mice and rabbits to test whether or not a drug will be safe for humans provides little statistically useful insight, our recent analysis found. The study also revealed that drug tests on monkeys are just as poor as those using any other species in predicting the effects on humans. Out of 93 dangerous drug side effects, only 19% could have been predicted by animal tests, a recent study found Using mice and rats to test the safety of drugs in humans is only accurate 43% of the time, a recent study found Out of 48 cancer drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency from 2009 to 2013 to treat 68 types of cancer, almost half showed no survival benefits according to a recent study.
Even in cases where benefits were seen, the difference was judged to be ‘clinically insignificant’. Wasteful animal testing Despite the use of over 115 million animals in experiments globally each year, only 22 new medicines were approved in 2016 by the leading drug regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Many of these are for rare diseases. The US drug industry invests $50 billion per year in research, but the approval rate of new drugs is the same as it was 50 years ago.
Only 6% of 4,300 international companies involved in drug development have registered a new drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1950. Even those drugs that are approved are not universally effective due to individual reactions - the top ten highest-grossing drugs in the USA only help between 1 in 4 and 1 in 25 people who take them Of over 1,000 potential stroke treatments that had been ‘successful’ in animal tests, only approximately 10% progressed to human trials.
None worked sufficiently well in humans. A review of 101 high impact basic science discoveries based on animal experiments found that only 5% resulted in approved treatments within 20 years. Dangerous animal testing Vioxx, a drug used to treat arthritis, was found to be safe when tested in monkeys (and five other animal species) but has been estimated to have caused around 320,000 heart attacks and strokes and 140,000 deaths worldwide.
Human volunteers testing a new monoclonal antibody treatment (TGN1412) at Northwick Park Hospital, UK in 2006 suffered a severe allergic reaction and nearly died. Testing on monkeys at 500 times the dose given to the volunteers totally failed to predict the dangerous side effects. A recent drug trial in France resulted in the death of one volunteer and left four others severely brain damaged in 2016.
The drug, which was intended to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety and Parkinson’s disease, was tested in four different species of animals (mice, rats, dogs and monkeys) before being given to humans. A clinical trial of Hepatitis B drug fialuridine had to be stopped because it caused severe liver damage in seven patients, five of whom died. It had been tested on animals first.
Only one third of substances known to cause cancer in humans have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Animals are different Animals do not get many of the diseases we do, such as Parkinson’s disease, major types of heart disease, many types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV or schizophrenia. An analysis of over 100 mouse cell types found that only 50% of the DNA responsible for regulating genes in mice could be matched with human DNA.
The most commonly used species of monkey to test drug safety (Cynomolgous macaque monkeys), are resistant to doses of paracetamol (acetaminophen) that would be deadly in humans. Due to the many important differences between monkeys and humans in brain structure and function, data collected from monkeys used in neuroscience research are misleading and of poor relevance to people, our recent analysis found.
Chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocados and macadamia nuts are harmless in people but toxic to dogs. Aspirin is toxic to many animals, including cats, mice and rats and would not be on our pharmacy shelves if it had been tested according to current animal testing standards. Animal experiments are cruel, unreliable, and even dangerous. The science relating to animal experiments can be extremely complicated and views often differ.
What appears on this website represents Cruelty Free International expert opinion, based on a thorough assessment of the evidence. Related ContentSee Also: Amazing Grace Animal Rescue Saginaw Mi
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An animal test is any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. Animal experiments are not the same as taking your companion animal to the vet. Animals used in laboratories are deliberately harmed, not for their own good, and are usually killed at the end of the experiment. Animal experiments Animal experiments include: injecting or force feeding animals with potentially harmful substances exposing animals to radiation surgically removing animals’ organs or tissues to deliberately cause damage forcing animals to inhale toxic gases subjecting animals to frightening situations to create anxiety and depression.
Animals used Only vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, fish and amphibians) and some invertebrates such as octopuses are defined as ‘animals’ by European legislation governing animal experiments. Shockingly, in the USA rats, mice, fish, amphibians and birds are not defined as animals under animal experiments regulations. That means no legal permission to experiment on them is needed and they are not included in any statistics.
Animals used in experiments are usually bred for this purpose by the laboratory or in breeding facilities. It’s a cruel, multi-million dollar industry. Cruelty Free International believes that all animals are equally important. A dog bred for research is still a dog who could otherwise live a happy life in a loving home. Some monkeys are still trapped in the wild in Africa, Asia and South America to be used in experiments or imprisoned in breeding facilities.
Their children are exported to laboratories around the world. The use of wild-caught monkeys in experiments is generally banned in Europe but is allowed elsewhere. Horses and other animals such as cows, sheep and pigs are often supplied by dealers and may originate from racing stables or farms for use in animal experiments. The rules preventing the use of stray companion animals like dogs and cats vary from country to country.
Animal suffering A large proportion of animal experiments in the EU are reported to cause ‘moderate’ or ‘severe suffering’ to the animals - according to the researchers who carry them out. In the UK in 2016, 35% of animal experiments involved moderate or severe suffering. Some experiments require the animal to die as part of the test. For example, regulatory tests for botox, vaccines and some tests for chemical safety are essentially variations of the cruel Lethal Dose 50 test in which 50% of the animals die or are killed very close to death.
The strength of botox is measured in mouse LD50 units. This cruel test involves injecting hundreds of mice directly into their abdomens and counting the number who die from poisoning over the next three days. Tens of thousands of mice suffer in this way in the UK and Ireland every year. Laboratories Laboratories are no place for any animal. They are typically sterile, indoor environments in which the animals are forced to live in cages – denied complete freedom of movement and control over their lives.
Some animals in laboratories are confined on their own, without the companionship of others. An animal test is any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. The science relating to animal experiments can be extremely complicated and views often differ. What appears on this website represents Cruelty Free International expert opinion, based on a thorough assessment of the evidence.