Replacing animals

We want to see all experiments that cause animals to suffer replaced with humane alternatives. 

Useful alternative approaches

  • the use of isolated cells and tissues 
  • using computers and mathematics to model biological processes and predict the effects of chemicals and drugs  
  • designing ways of doing experiments safely in human volunteers 
  • using simple organisms, such as bacteria, to study basic biological processes 
  • exploring new advanced technologies such as robotics, molecular techniques, tissue engineering and 'organs-on-microchips'
  • not doing the experiment at all is one option - we encourage greater consideration of whether animal use could be avoided through more critical ethical review.

Why is it difficult to replace animals?

  • The potential for replacing animals depends on the nature and aim of each experiment. Human volunteers cannot be used in potentially harmful experiments and isolated cells and tissues may not be able to give a complete picture of what happens in a complicated living system. A better understanding of the scientific barriers to replacement is needed so that research can be directed at overcoming these.
  • Scientists often have preferred ways of working. Changing their approach requires persuasion, increased communication and training in the use of alternatives.
  • Developing alternative methods, and showing that they work, takes time and resources.
  • Many laws and regulations on product safety (from industrial chemicals to medicines) require information from animal tests. Getting these tests replaced takes time, especially when many different countries are involved.

What we are doing

Related weblinks

  • Altweb - Alternatives to Animal Testing Website 
  • Animal Free Research UK - Replacing Animals in Medical Research
  • FRAME - Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments
  • NC3Rs - National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research  

Read our blog

Wild animals used in vaccine tests: What's being done to help.

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