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Alternatives to Animal Testing

Hey, I'm so glad you want to learn more about alternatives to animal testing!

It may not come as a surprise that today science has advanced so that there are cheaper, quicker, and more effective alternatives to animal testing in areas such as toxicity, neuroscience, and drug development. 

Alternatives to animal testing have been studied by researchers for years, and their effectiveness has been documented in peer reviewed scientific journals.

The Bad News

Unfortunately animal testing is still used because scientists today can easily compare test results on animals with previous test results on animals to give them confidence. Additionally, there are many bureaucratic hurdles in getting labs to adopt alternatives because it's easier to just simply follow the same approach that's always been followed. 

The Good News

The good news is that testing on animals has always been unreliable, and the new alternatives are much, much more accurate. This means with the right amount of pressure to adopt cruelty-free testing alternatives not only will science continue to advance at a much more rapid and accurate pace, but animals will no longer be subjected to lab tests. 

Alternatives to Animal Testing

There are three primary types of alternatives to animal testing for human products:

Cell Cultures – this can include growing human cells in a lab, or even creating 3D structures of human organs, which can provide more accurate results as animals, even monkeys, tend to have different reactions to human therapies than humans do.

Human Tissues – volunteers donate healthy or diseased tissue to be tested upon. These can be harvested during surgery (biopsies, cosmetic surgery, transplants, etc.) or from someone who has passed away and donated their organs.

Computer Models – sophisticated models can replicate the human body with near accuracy today. Models of the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, digest, and musculoskeletal systems already exist and can be used to conduct virtual experiments.

These tests have been proven to be more effective than animal testing because they allow for human results based on human anatomy/modeling.

For example, Cruelty Free International shares that the typical test used on pregnant rats to determine if a chemical or drug will be harmful to a developing human baby is only 60% accurate. However, a cell-based alternative has 100% accuracy in detecting toxic chemicals. Again, not surprising since human results based on human anatomy/modeling makes the most sense.

Additionally, animals are often immune to many of the diseases that humans get and even when they can have the same conditions their response to drugs and dosing is often very different. As an example, monkeys are resistant to high doses of paracetamol (acetaminophen) that are deadly to humans. Similarly, aspirin is toxic to many animals including cats, mice, and rats (commonly used for animal testing) but are safe for humans. 

Sources: Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal (peer reviewed), Cruelty Free International 

These statements are the opinion of BEAMMCO based on the scientific literature we've reviewed.