Animal testing

Animal testing

Overview
Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo
In vivo
In vivo is experimentation using a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead organism, or an in vitro controlled environment. Animal testing and clinical trials are two forms of in vivo research...

 testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments. Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

 animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million used annually. Invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, mice, rats, birds, fish, frogs, and animals not yet weaned are not included in the figures; one estimate of mice and rats used in the United States alone in 2001 was 80 million.
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Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo
In vivo
In vivo is experimentation using a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead organism, or an in vitro controlled environment. Animal testing and clinical trials are two forms of in vivo research...

 testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments. Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate
Vertebrate
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata . Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds...

 animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million used annually. Invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, mice, rats, birds, fish, frogs, and animals not yet weaned are not included in the figures; one estimate of mice and rats used in the United States alone in 2001 was 80 million. Most animals are euthanized
Animal euthanasia
Animal euthanasia is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, an animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition. Euthanasia methods are designed to cause minimal pain and distress...

 after being used in an experiment. Sources of laboratory animals
Laboratory animal sources
Animals used by laboratories for testing purposes are largely supplied by dealers who specialize in selling them to universities, medical and veterinary schools, and companies that provide contract animal-testing services...

 vary between countries and species; most animals are purpose-bred, while others are caught in the wild or supplied by dealers who obtain them from auctions and pounds
Animal shelter
An animal shelter is a facility that houses homeless, lost, or abandoned animals; primarily a large variety of dogs and cats.Parrots, for example, are the third most common pet owned by people...

.

The research is conducted inside universities, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, farms, defense establishments, and commercial facilities that provide animal-testing services to industry. It includes pure research such as genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, developmental biology
Developmental biology
Developmental biology is the study of the process by which organisms grow and develop. Modern developmental biology studies the genetic control of cell growth, differentiation and "morphogenesis", which is the process that gives rise to tissues, organs and anatomy.- Related fields of study...

, behavioral studies
Ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

, as well as applied research such as biomedical research
Biomedical research
Biomedical research , in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the body of knowledge in the field of medicine...

, xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation , is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants...

, drug testing and toxicology tests
Toxicology testing
Toxicology testing, also known as safety testing, or toxicity testing, is conducted by pharmaceutical companies testing drugs, or by contract animal testing facilities such as Huntingdon Life Sciences and Inveresk Research International on behalf of a wide variety of customers, including the...

, including cosmetics testing
Testing cosmetics on animals
Testing cosmetics on animals is a form of animal testing, intended to ensure the safety and hypoallergenic properties of the products for use by humans...

. Animals are also used for education, breeding, and defense research. The practice is regulated to various degrees in different countries.

Supporters of the use of animals in experiments, such as the British Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, argue that virtually every medical achievement in the 20th century relied on the use of animals in some way, with the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences arguing that even sophisticated computers are unable to model interactions between molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and the environment, making animal research necessary in many areas. Animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

, and some animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

, organizations—such as PETA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

 and BUAV
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments...

—question the legitimacy of it, arguing that it is cruel, poor scientific practice, poorly regulated, that medical progress is being held back by misleading animal models, that some of the tests are outdated, that it cannot reliably predict effects in humans, that the costs outweigh the benefits, or that animals have an intrinsic right not to be used for experimentation.

Definitions


The terms animal testing, animal experimentation, animal research, in vivo testing, and vivisection
Vivisection
Vivisection is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure...

 have similar denotation
Denotation
This word has distinct meanings in other fields: see denotation . For the opposite of Denotation see Connotation.*In logic, linguistics and semiotics, the denotation of a word or phrase is a part of its meaning; however, the part referred to varies by context:** In grammar and literary theory, the...

s but different connotation
Connotation
A connotation is a commonly understood subjective cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to the word's or phrase's explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation....

s. Literally, "vivisection" means the "cutting up" of a living animal, and historically referred only to experiments that involved the dissection
Dissection
Dissection is usually the process of disassembling and observing something to determine its internal structure and as an aid to discerning the functions and relationships of its components....

 of live animals. The term is occasionally used to refer pejoratively to any experiment using living animals; for example, the Encyclopædia Britannica defines "vivisection" as: "Operation on a living animal for experimental rather than healing purposes; more broadly, all experimentation on live animals", although dictionaries point out that the broader definition is "used only by people who are opposed to such work". The word has a negative connotation, implying torture, suffering, and death. The word "vivisection" is preferred by those opposed to this research, whereas scientists typically use the term "animal experimentation".

History




The earliest references to animal testing are found in the writings of the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 in the 2nd and 4th centuries BCE. Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (Αριστοτέλης) (384–322 BCE) and Erasistratus
Erasistratus
Erasistratus was a Greek anatomist and royal physician under Seleucus I Nicator of Syria. Along with fellow physician Herophilus, he founded a school of anatomy in Alexandria, where they carried out anatomical research...

 (304–258 BCE) were among the first to perform experiments on living animals. Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, a physician in 2nd-century Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, dissected pigs and goats, and is known as the "father of vivisection." Avenzoar
Ibn Zuhr
Abū Merwān ’Abdal-Malik ibn Zuhr was a Muslim physician, surgeon and teacher in Al-Andalus.He was born at Seville...

, an Arabic physician in 12th-century Moorish Spain
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 who also practiced dissection, introduced animal testing as an experimental method of testing surgical procedures before applying them to human patients.

Animals have been used repeatedly through the history of biomedical research. The founders, in 1831, of the Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo , in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland is the largest zoo in Ireland and one of Dublin's most popular attractions. Opened in 1831, the zoo describes its role as conservation, study, and education...

—the fourth oldest zoo in Europe, after Vienna, Paris, and London—were members of the medical profession, interested in studying the animals both while they were alive and when they were dead. In the 1880s, Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist born in Dole. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of diseases. His discoveries reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and he created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax. His experiments...

 convincingly demonstrated the germ theory
Germ theory of disease
The germ theory of disease, also called the pathogenic theory of medicine, is a theory that proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases...

 of medicine by inducing anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

 in sheep. In the 1890s, Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

 famously used dogs to describe classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

. Insulin
Insulin
Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle....

 was first isolated from dogs in 1922, and revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. On November 3, 1957, a Russian dog
Russian space dogs
During the 1950s and 1960s the USSR used a number of dogs for sub-orbital and orbital space flights to determine whether human spaceflight was feasible. In this period, the Soviet Union launched missions with passenger slots for at least 57 dogs. The actual number of dogs in space is smaller, as...

, Laika
Laika
Laika was a Soviet space dog that became the first animal to orbit the Earth – as well as the first animal to die in orbit.As little was known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika's mission, and the technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, there...

, became the first of many animals to orbit the earth
Animals in space
Animals in space originally only served to test the survivability of spaceflight, before manned space missions were attempted. Later, animals were also flown to investigate various biological processes and the effects microgravity and space flight might have on them...

. In the 1970s, antibiotic treatments and vaccines for leprosy
Leprosy
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

 were developed using armadillos, then given to humans. The ability of humans to change the genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 of animals took a large step forwards in 1974 when Rudolf Jaenisch
Rudolf Jaenisch
Rudolf Jaenisch is a biologist at MIT. He is a pioneer of transgenic science, in which an animal’s genetic makeup is altered. Jaenisch has focused on creating transgenic mice to study cancer and neurological diseases....

 was able to produce the first transgenic mammal
Genetically modified organism
A genetically modified organism or genetically engineered organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one...

, by integrating DNA from the SV40
SV40
SV40 is an abbreviation for Simian vacuolating virus 40 or Simian virus 40, a polyomavirus that is found in both monkeys and humans...

 virus into the genome
Genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 of mice. This genetic research progressed rapidly and, in 1996, Dolly the sheep
Dolly the Sheep
Dolly was a female domestic sheep, and the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. She was cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and colleagues at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in Scotland...

 was born, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.

Toxicology
Toxicology
Toxicology is a branch of biology, chemistry, and medicine concerned with the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms...

 testing became important in the 20th century. In the 19th century, laws regulating drugs were more relaxed. For example, in the U.S., the government could only ban a drug after a company had been prosecuted for selling products that harmed customers. However, in response to the Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster
Elixir Sulfanilamide disaster
Elixir sulfanilamide was an improperly prepared sulfanilamide medicine that caused mass poisoning in the United States in 1937. It caused the deaths of more than 100 people...

 of 1937 in which the eponymous drug killed more than 100 users, the U.S. congress passed laws that required safety testing of drugs on animals before they could be marketed. Other countries enacted similar legislation. In the 1960s, in reaction to the Thalidomide
Thalidomide
Thalidomide was introduced as a sedative drug in the late 1950s that was typically used to cure morning sickness. In 1961, it was withdrawn due to teratogenicity and neuropathy. There is now a growing clinical interest in thalidomide, and it is introduced as an immunomodulatory agent used...

 tragedy, further laws were passed requiring safety testing on pregnant animals before a drug can be sold.

Historical debate



As the experimentation on animals increased, especially the practice of vivisection, so did criticism and controversy. In 1655, the advocate of Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

ic physiology Edmund O'Meara
Edmund O'Meara
Edmund O'Meara Irish physiologist and one of the last prominent champions of the medical ideas of Galen. Son of Dermod O'Meara who was a physician, poet and author...

 said that "the miserable torture of vivisection places the body in an unnatural state." O'Meara and others argued that animal physiology could be affected by pain during vivisection, rendering results unreliable. There were also objections on an ethical basis, contending that the benefit to humans did not justify the harm to animals. Early objections to animal testing also came from another angle — many people believed that animals were inferior to humans and so different that results from animals could not be applied to humans.

On the other side of the debate, those in favor of animal testing held that experiments on animals were necessary to advance medical and biological knowledge. Claude Bernard
Claude Bernard
Claude Bernard was a French physiologist. He was the first to define the term milieu intérieur . Historian of science I. Bernard Cohen of Harvard University called Bernard "one of the greatest of all men of science"...

, known as the "prince of vivisectors" and the father of physiology—whose wife, Marie Françoise Martin, founded the first anti-vivisection society in France in 1883—famously wrote in 1865 that "the science of life is a superb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen". Arguing that "experiments on animals ... are entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man...the effects of these substances are the same on man as on animals, save for differences in degree," Bernard established animal experimentation as part of the standard scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

.

In 1896, the physiologist and physician Dr. Walter B. Cannon said “The antivivisectionists are the second of the two types Theodore Roosevelt described when he said, ‘Common sense without conscience may lead to crime, but conscience without common sense may lead to folly, which is the handmaiden of crime.’ ” These divisions between pro- and anti- animal testing groups first came to public attention during the brown dog affair
Brown Dog affair
The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection that raged in Edwardian England from 1903 until 1910. It involved the infiltration of University of London medical lectures by Swedish women activists, pitched battles between medical students and the police, police protection for...

 in the early 1900s, when hundreds of medical students clashed with anti-vivisectionists and police over a memorial to a vivisected dog.
In 1822, the first animal protection law
Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822
The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the long title "An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle"; it is sometimes known as Martin's Act, after the MP and animal rights campaigner Richard Martin. It was one of the first...

 was enacted in the British parliament, followed by the Cruelty to Animals Act (1876)
Cruelty to Animals Act 1876
The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom which set limits on the practice of, and instituted a licensing system for animal experimentation, amending the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849...

, the first law specifically aimed at regulating animal testing. The legislation was promoted by Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

, who wrote to Ray Lankester
Ray Lankester
Sir E. Ray Lankester KCB, FRS was a British zoologist, born in London.An invertebrate zoologist and evolutionary biologist, he held chairs at University College London and Oxford University. He was the third Director of the Natural History Museum, and was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal...

 in March 1871: "You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night." Opposition to the use of animals in medical research first arose in the United States during the 1860s, when Henry Bergh
Henry Bergh
Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in April, 1866, three days after the first effective legislation against animal cruelty in the United States was passed into law by the New York State Legislature...

 founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty towards animals...

 (ASPCA), with America's first specifically anti-vivisection organization being the American AntiVivisection Society (AAVS), founded in 1883. Antivivisectionists of the era generally believed the spread of mercy was the great cause of civilization, and vivisection was cruel. However, in the USA the antivivisectionists' efforts were defeated in every legislature, overwhelmed by the superior organization and influence of the medical community. Overall, this movement had little legislative success until the passing of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act, in 1966.

Care and use of animals



Regulations


The regulations that apply to animals in laboratories vary across species. In the U.S., under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide), published by the National Academy of Sciences, any procedure can be performed on an animal if it can be successfully argued that it is scientifically justified. In general, researchers are required to consult with the institution's veterinarian and its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees are of central importance to the application of laws to animal research in the United States. Most research involving laboratory animals is funded by the United States National Institutes of Health or other federal agencies...

 (IACUC), which every research facility is obliged to maintain. The IACUC must ensure that alternatives, including non-animal alternatives, have been considered, that the experiments are not unnecessarily duplicative, and that pain relief is given unless it would interfere with the study. Larry Carbone, a laboratory animal veterinarian, writes that, in his experience, IACUCs take their work very seriously regardless of the species involved, though the use of non-human primates always raises what he calls a "red flag of special concern." A study published in Science magazine in July 2001 confirmed the low reliability of IACUC reviews of animal experiments. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the three-year study found that animal-use committees that do not know the specifics of the university and personnel do not make the same approval decisions as those made by animal-use committees that do know the university and personnel. Specifically, blinded committees more often ask for more information rather than approving studies.

The IACUCs regulate all vertebrates in testing at institutions receiving federal funds in the USA. Although the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act do not include purpose-bred rodents and birds, these species are equally regulated under Public Health Service policies that govern the IACUCs. Animal Welfare Act regulations are enforced by the USDA, whereas Public Health Service regulations are enforced by OLAW and in many cases by AAALAC.

Numbers



Accurate global figures for animal testing are difficult to obtain. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments...

 (BUAV) estimates that 100 million vertebrates are experimented on around the world every year, 10–11 million of them in the European Union. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics reports that global annual estimates range from 50 to 100 million animals. None of the figures include invertebrates such as shrimp and fruit flies. Animals bred for research then killed as surplus, animals used for breeding purposes, and animals not yet weaned are also not included in the figures.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the total number of animals used in that country in 2005 was almost 1.2 million, but this does not include rats and mice, which make up about 90% of research animals. In 1995, researchers at Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy estimated that 14–21 million animals were used in American laboratories in 1992, a reduction from a high of 50 million used in 1970. In 1986, the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment reported that estimates of the animals used in the U.S. range from 10 million to upwards of 100 million each year, and that their own best estimate was at least 17 million to 22 million.

In the UK, Home Office figures show that 3.2 million procedures were carried out in 2007, a rise of 189,500 since the previous year. Four thousand procedures used non-human primates, down 240 from 2006. A "procedure" refers to an experiment that might last minutes, several months, or years. Most animals are used in only one procedure: animals either die because of the experiment or are euthanized afterwards.

Invertebrates




Although many more invertebrates than vertebrates are used, these experiments are largely unregulated by law. The most used invertebrate species are Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila melanogaster is a species of Diptera, or the order of flies, in the family Drosophilidae. The species is known generally as the common fruit fly or vinegar fly. Starting from Charles W...

, a fruit fly, and Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans
Caenorhabditis elegans is a free-living, transparent nematode , about 1 mm in length, which lives in temperate soil environments. Research into the molecular and developmental biology of C. elegans was begun in 1974 by Sydney Brenner and it has since been used extensively as a model...

, a nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

 worm. In the case of C. elegans, the worm's body is completely transparent and the precise lineage of all the organism's cells is known, while studies in the fly D. melanogaster can use an amazing array of genetic tools. These animals offer great advantages over vertebrates, including their short life cycle and the ease with which large numbers may be studied, with thousands of flies or nematodes fitting into a single room. However, the lack of an adaptive immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 and their simple organs prevent worms from being used in medical research such as vaccine development. Similarly, flies are not widely used in applied medical research, as their immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 differs greatly from that of humans, and diseases in insects can be very different from diseases in vertebrates.

Vertebrates




In the U.S., the numbers of rats and mice used is estimated at 20 million a year. Other rodents commonly used are guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. Mice are the most commonly used vertebrate species because of their size, low cost, ease of handling, and fast reproduction rate. Mice are widely considered to be the best model of inherited human disease
Genetic disorder
A genetic disorder is an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes, especially a condition that is present from before birth. Most genetic disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions....

 and share 99% of their gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

s with humans. With the advent of genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 technology, genetically modified mice can be generated to order and can provide models for a range of human diseases. Rats are also widely used for physiology, toxicology and cancer research, but genetic manipulation is much harder in rats than in mice, which limits the use of these rodents in basic science.
Nearly 200,000 fish and 20,000 amphibians were used in the UK in 2004. The main species used is the zebrafish, Danio rerio
Danio rerio
The zebrafish, Danio rerio, is a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family of order Cypriniformes. It is a popular aquarium fish, frequently sold under the trade name zebra danio, and is an important vertebrate model organism in scientific research.-Taxonomy:The zebrafish are...

, which are translucent during their embryonic stage, and the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Over 20,000 rabbits were used for animal testing in the UK in 2004. Albino rabbits are used in eye irritancy tests because rabbits have less tear flow than other animals, and the lack of eye pigment in albinos make the effects easier to visualize. Rabbits are also frequently used for the production of polyclonal antibodies.

Cats and dogs

Cats are most commonly used in neurological research. Over 25,500 cats were used in the U.S. in 2000, around half of whom were used in experiments which, according to the American Anti-Vivisection Society
American Anti-Vivisection Society
The American Anti-Vivisection Society is an organization created with the goal of eliminating a number of different procedures done by medical and cosmetic groups in relation to animal cruelty in the United States. It seeks to help the betterment of animal life and human-animal interaction through...

, had the potential to cause "pain and/or distress".

Dogs are widely used in biomedical research, testing, and education — particularly beagles, because they are gentle and easy to handle. They are commonly used as models for human diseases in cardiology, endocrinology, and bone and joint studies, research that tends to be highly invasive, according to the Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States , based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million....

. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Report for 2005 shows that 66,000 dogs were used in USDA-registered facilities in that year. In the U.S., some of the dogs are purpose-bred, while most are supplied by so-called Class B dealers licensed by the USDA to buy animals from auctions, shelters, newspaper ads, and who are sometimes accused of stealing pets.

Non-human primates


Non-human primates (NHPs) are used in toxicology tests, studies of AIDS and hepatitis, studies of neurology
Neurology
Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue,...

, behavior and cognition, reproduction, genetics
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

, and xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation , is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants...

. They are caught in the wild or purpose-bred. In the U.S. and China, most primates are domestically purpose-bred, whereas in Europe the majority are imported purpose-bred. Rhesus monkeys, cynomolgus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and owl monkeys are imported; around 12,000 to 15,000 monkeys are imported into the U.S. annually. In total, around 70,000 NHPs are used each year in the United States and European Union. Most of the NHPs used are macaque
Macaque
The macaques constitute a genus of Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. - Description :Aside from humans , the macaques are the most widespread primate genus, ranging from Japan to Afghanistan and, in the case of the barbary macaque, to North Africa...

s; but marmoset
Marmoset
Marmosets are the 22 New World monkey species of the genera Callithrix, Cebuella, Callibella, and Mico. All four genera are part of the biological family Callitrichidae. The term marmoset is also used in reference to the Goeldi's Monkey, Callimico goeldii, which is closely related.Most marmosets...

s, spider monkey
Spider monkey
Spider monkeys of the genus Ateles are New World monkeys in the subfamily Atelinae, family Atelidae. Like other atelines, they are found in tropical forests of Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil...

s, and squirrel monkey
Squirrel monkey
The squirrel monkeys are the New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae.Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical forests of Central and South America in the canopy layer. Most species have parapatric or allopatric ranges in the Amazon, while S...

s are also used, and baboon
Baboon
Baboons are African and Arabian Old World monkeys belonging to the genus Papio, part of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. There are five species, which are some of the largest non-hominoid members of the primate order; only the mandrill and the drill are larger...

s and chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

s are used in the U.S; in 2006 there were 1133 chimpanzees in U.S. primate centers. The first transgenic primate was produced in 2001, with the development of a method that could introduce new genes into a rhesus macaque
Rhesus Macaque
The Rhesus macaque , also called the Rhesus monkey, is one of the best-known species of Old World monkeys. It is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and its tolerance of a broad range of habitats...

. This transgenic technology is now being applied in the search for a treatment for the genetic disorder
Genetic disorder
A genetic disorder is an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes, especially a condition that is present from before birth. Most genetic disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions....

 Huntington's disease
Huntington's disease
Huntington's disease, chorea, or disorder , is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and dementia. It typically becomes noticeable in middle age. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea...

. Notable studies on non-human primates have been part of the polio vaccine development, and development of Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain...

, and their current heaviest non-toxicological use occurs in the monkey AIDS model, SIV
Simian immunodeficiency virus
Simian immunodeficiency virus , also known as African Green Monkey virus and also as Monkey AIDS is a retrovirus able to infect at least 33 species of African primates...

. In 2008 a proposal to ban all primates experiments in the EU has sparked a vigorous debate.

Sources



Animals used by laboratories are largely supplied by specialist dealers. Sources differ for vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Most laboratories breed and raise flies and worms themselves, using strains and mutants supplied from a few main stock centers. For vertebrates, sources include breeders who supply purpose-bred animals; businesses that trade in wild animals; and dealers who supply animals sourced from pounds, auctions, and newspaper ads. Animal shelter
Animal shelter
An animal shelter is a facility that houses homeless, lost, or abandoned animals; primarily a large variety of dogs and cats.Parrots, for example, are the third most common pet owned by people...

s also supply the laboratories directly. Large centers also exist to distribute strains of genetically-modified animals; the National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...

  Knockout Mouse Project, for example, aims to provide knockout mice
Knockout mouse
A knockout mouse is a genetically engineered mouse in which researchers have inactivated, or "knocked out," an existing gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA...

 for every gene in the mouse genome.

In the U.S., Class A breeders are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell animals for research purposes, while Class B dealers are licensed to buy animals from "random sources" such as auctions, pound seizure, and newspaper ads. Some Class B dealers have been accused of kidnapping pets and illegally trapping strays, a practice known as bunching. It was in part out of public concern over the sale of pets to research facilities that the 1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act was ushered in — the Senate Committee on Commerce reported in 1966 that stolen pets had been retrieved from Veterans Administration facilities, the Mayo Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Harvard and Yale Medical Schools. The USDA recovered at least a dozen stolen pets during a raid on a Class B dealer in Arkansas in 2003.

Four states in the U.S. — Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, and Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 — require their shelters to provide animals to research facilities. Fourteen states explicitly prohibit the practice, while the remainder either allow it or have no relevant legislation.

In the European Union, animal sources are governed by Council Directive 86/609/EEC, which requires lab animals to be specially bred, unless the animal has been lawfully imported and is not a wild animal or a stray. The latter requirement may also be exempted by special arrangement. In the UK, most animals used in experiments are bred for the purpose under the 1988 Animal Protection Act, but wild-caught primates may be used if exceptional and specific justification can be established. The United States also allows the use of wild-caught primates; between 1995 and 1999, 1,580 wild baboons were imported into the U.S. Over half the primates imported between 1995 and 2000 were handled by Charles River Laboratories, Inc.
Charles River Laboratories, Inc.
Charles River Laboratories, Inc. is an American corporation specializing in a broad spectrum of pre-clinical and clinical laboratory services for the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries. It is the world's largest supplier of animals for laboratory experimentation and has...

, or by Covance
Covance
Covance, Inc. , formerly Corning Incorporated, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, is a contract research organization , providing drug development and animal testing services...

, which is the single largest importer of primates
International primate trade
The international trade in primates sees 32,000 wild non-human primates trapped and sold on the international market every year. They are sold mostly for use in animal testing, but also for food, for exhibition in zoos and circuses, and for private use as companion animals.-Countries involved:The...

 into the U.S.

Pain and suffering




The extent to which animal testing causes pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 and suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

, and the capacity of animals to experience and comprehend them, is the subject of much debate.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 about 670,000 animals (57%) (not including rats, mice, birds, or invertebrates) were used in procedures that did not include more than momentary pain or distress. About 420,000 (36%) were used in procedures in which pain or distress was relieved by anesthesia, while 84,000 (7%) were used in studies that would cause pain or distress that would not be relieved.

In the UK, research projects are classified as mild, moderate, and substantial in terms of the suffering the researchers conducting the study say they may cause; a fourth category of "unclassified" means the animal was anesthetized
Anesthesia
Anesthesia, or anaesthesia , traditionally meant the condition of having sensation blocked or temporarily taken away...

 and killed without recovering consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

, according to the researchers. In December 2001, 1,296 (39%) of project licenses in force were classified as mild, 1,811 (55%) as moderate, 63 (2%) as substantial, and 139 (4%) as unclassified. There have, however, been suggestions of systemic underestimation of procedure severity.

The idea that animals might not feel pain as human beings feel it traces back to the 17th-century French philosopher, René Descartes
René Descartes
René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

, who argued that animals do not experience pain and suffering because they lack consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

. Bernard Rollin
Bernard Rollin
Bernard E. Rollin is an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights and animal consciousness. He is a professor of philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University....

 of Colorado State University
Colorado State University
Colorado State University is a public research university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The university is the state's land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.The enrollment is approximately 29,932 students, including resident and...

, the principal author of two U.S. federal laws regulating pain relief for animals, writes that researchers remained unsure into the 1980s as to whether animals experience pain, and that veterinarians trained in the U.S. before 1989 were simply taught to ignore animal pain. In his interactions with scientists and other veterinarians, he was regularly asked to "prove" that animals are conscious, and to provide "scientifically acceptable" grounds for claiming that they feel pain. Carbone writes that the view that animals feel pain differently is now a minority view. Academic reviews of the topic are more equivocal, noting that although the argument that animals have at least simple conscious thoughts and feelings has strong support, some critics continue to question how reliably animal mental states can be determined. The ability of invertebrate species of animals, such as insects, to feel pain and suffering is also unclear.

The defining text on animal welfare regulation, "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" defines the parameters that govern animal testing in the USA. It states "The ability to experience and respond to pain is widespread in the animal kingdom...Pain is a stressor and, if not relieved, can lead to unacceptable levels of stress and distress in animals." The Guide states that the ability to recognize the symptoms of pain in different species is vital in efficiently applying pain relief and that it is essential for the people caring for and using animals to be entirely familiar with these symptoms. On the subject of analgesics used to relieve pain, the Guide states "The selection of the most appropriate analgesic or anesthetic should reflect professional judgment as to which best meets clinical and humane requirements without compromising the scientific aspects of the research protocol". Accordingly, all issues of animal pain and distress, and their potential treatment with analgesia and anesthesia, are required regulatory issues in receiving animal protocol approval.

Euthanasia



There is general agreement that animal life should not be taken wantonly, and regulations require that scientists use as few animals as possible. However, while policy makers consider suffering to be the central issue and see animal euthanasia as a way to reduce suffering, others, such as the RSPCA, argue that the lives of laboratory animals have intrinsic value. Regulations focus on whether particular methods cause pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 and suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

, not whether their death is undesirable in itself. The animals are euthanized at the end of studies for sample collection or post-mortem examination
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

; during studies if their pain or suffering falls into certain categories regarded as unacceptable, such as depression, infection that is unresponsive to treatment, or the failure of large animals to eat for five days; or when they are unsuitable for breeding or unwanted for some other reason.

Methods of euthanizing laboratory animals are chosen to induce rapid unconsciousness and death without pain or distress. The methods that are preferred are those published by councils of veterinarians. The animal can be made to inhale a gas, such as carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 and carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, by being placed in a chamber, or by use of a face mask, with or without prior sedation or anesthesia. Sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

s or anesthetics such as barbiturate
Barbiturate
Barbiturates are drugs that act as central nervous system depressants, and can therefore produce a wide spectrum of effects, from mild sedation to total anesthesia. They are also effective as anxiolytics, as hypnotics, and as anticonvulsants...

s can be given intravenously
Intravenous therapy
Intravenous therapy or IV therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means "within a vein". Therapies administered intravenously are often called specialty pharmaceuticals...

, or inhalant anesthetics may be used. Amphibians and fish may be immersed in water containing an anesthetic such as tricaine. Physical methods are also used, with or without sedation or anesthesia depending on the method. Recommended methods include decapitation
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

 (beheading) for small rodents or rabbits. Cervical dislocation
Cervical dislocation
Cervical dislocation, "breaking the neck" or "snapping the spine" are terms used to describe this killing method intended to be quick and painless...

 (breaking the neck or spine) may be used for birds, mice, and immature rats and rabbits. Maceration (grinding into small pieces) is used on 1 day old chicks. High-intensity microwave irradiation
Irradiation
Irradiation is the process by which an object is exposed to radiation. The exposure can originate from various sources, including natural sources. Most frequently the term refers to ionizing radiation, and to a level of radiation that will serve a specific purpose, rather than radiation exposure to...

 of the brain can preserve brain tissue and induce death in less than 1 second, but this is currently only used on rodents. Captive bolts may be used, typically on dogs, ruminants, horses, pigs and rabbits. It causes death by a concussion to the brain. Gunshot may be used, but only in cases where a penetrating captive bolt may not be used. Some physical methods are only acceptable after the animal is unconscious. Electrocution
Electric shock
Electric Shock of a body with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current through the skin, muscles or hair. Typically, the expression is used to denote an unwanted exposure to electricity, hence the effects are considered undesirable....

 may be used for cattle, sheep, swine, foxes, and mink after the animals are unconscious, often by a prior electrical stun. Pithing
Pithing
Pithing is a slaughtering technique in which the brain of the animal is destroyed by a tool called a pithing cane or rod, which is inserted into the hole which is created by captive bolt stunning. Trained slaughtermen will be experienced in the use of captive bolt weapons...

 (inserting a tool into the base of the brain) is usable on animals already unconscious. Slow or rapid freezing, or inducing air embolism
Air embolism
An air embolism, or more generally gas embolism, is a pathological condition caused by gas bubbles in a vascular system. The most common context is a human body, in which case it refers to gas bubbles in the bloodstream...

 are acceptable only with prior anesthesia to induce unconsciousness.

Pure research


Basic or pure research investigates how organisms behave, develop, and function. Those opposed to animal testing object that pure research may have little or no practical purpose, but researchers argue that it may produce unforeseen benefits, rendering the distinction between pure and applied research—research that has a specific practical aim—unclear. Pure research uses larger numbers and a greater variety of animals than applied research. Fruit flies, nematode worms, mice and rats together account for the vast majority, though small numbers of other species are used, ranging from sea slugs
California sea slug
The California sea hare also known as the California sea slug, scientific name Aplysia californica, is a species of sea slug, specifically a sea hare, a marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the sea hare family, Aplysiidae....

 through to armadillo
Armadillo
Armadillos are New World placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one"...

s. Examples of the types of animals and experiments used in basic research include:
  • Studies on embryogenesis
    Embryogenesis
    Embryogenesis is the process by which the embryo is formed and develops, until it develops into a fetus.Embryogenesis starts with the fertilization of the ovum by sperm. The fertilized ovum is referred to as a zygote...

     and developmental biology
    Developmental biology
    Developmental biology is the study of the process by which organisms grow and develop. Modern developmental biology studies the genetic control of cell growth, differentiation and "morphogenesis", which is the process that gives rise to tissues, organs and anatomy.- Related fields of study...

    . Mutants are created by adding transposon
    Transposon
    Transposable elements are sequences of DNA that can move or transpose themselves to new positions within the genome of a single cell. The mechanism of transposition can be either "copy and paste" or "cut and paste". Transposition can create phenotypically significant mutations and alter the cell's...

    s into their genome
    Genome
    In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

    s, or specific genes are deleted by gene targeting
    Gene targeting
    Gene targeting is a genetic technique that uses homologous recombination to change an endogenous gene. The method can be used to delete a gene, remove exons, add a gene, and introduce point mutations. Gene targeting can be permanent or conditional...

    . By studying the changes in development these changes produce, scientists aim to understand both how organisms normally develop, and what can go wrong in this process. These studies are particularly powerful since the basic controls of development, such as the homeobox
    Homeobox
    A homeobox is a DNA sequence found within genes that are involved in the regulation of patterns of anatomical development in animals, fungi and plants.- Discovery :...

     genes, have similar functions in organisms as diverse as fruit flies and man.

  • Experiments into behavior, to understand how organisms detect and interact with each other and their environment, in which fruit flies, worms, mice, and rats are all widely used. Studies of brain function, such as memory and social behavior, often use rats and birds. For some species, behavioral research is combined with enrichment strategies for animals in captivity because it allows them to engage in a wider range of activities.

  • Breeding experiments to study evolution
    Evolution
    Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

     and genetics
    Genetics
    Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

    . Laboratory mice, flies, fish, and worms are inbred
    Inbreeding
    Inbreeding is the reproduction from the mating of two genetically related parents. Inbreeding results in increased homozygosity, which can increase the chances of offspring being affected by recessive or deleterious traits. This generally leads to a decreased fitness of a population, which is...

     through many generations to create strains with defined characteristics. These provide animals of a known genetic background, an important tool for genetic analyses. Larger mammals are rarely bred specifically for such studies due to their slow rate of reproduction, though some scientists take advantage of inbred domesticated animals
    Selective breeding
    Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

    , such as dog or cattle breeds, for comparative
    Comparative genomics
    Comparative genomics is the study of the relationship of genome structure and function across different biological species or strains. Comparative genomics is an attempt to take advantage of the information provided by the signatures of selection to understand the function and evolutionary...

     purposes. Scientists studying how animals evolve use many animal species to see how variations in where and how an organism lives (their niche
    Ecological niche
    In ecology, a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food...

    ) produce adaptation
    Adaptation
    An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

    s in their physiology and morphology
    Comparative anatomy
    Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of organisms. It is closely related to evolutionary biology and phylogeny .-Description:...

    . As an example, stickleback
    Stickleback
    The Gasterosteidae are a family of fish including the sticklebacks. FishBase currently recognises sixteen species in the family, grouped in five genera. However several of the species have a number of recognised subspecies, and the taxonomy of the family is thought to be in need of revision...

    s are now being used to study how many and which types of mutations are selected to produce adaptations in animals' morphology during the evolution of new species.

Applied research


Applied research aims to solve specific and practical problems. Compared to pure research, which is largely academic in origin, applied research is usually carried out in the pharmaceutical industry, or by universities in commercial partnerships. These may involve the use of animal model
Animal model
An animal model is a living, non-human animal used during the research and investigation of human disease, for the purpose of better understanding the disease without the added risk of causing harm to an actual human being during the process...

s of diseases or conditions, which are often discovered or generated by pure research programmes. In turn, such applied studies may be an early stage in the drug discovery
Drug discovery
In the fields of medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology, drug discovery is the process by which drugs are discovered or designed.In the past most drugs have been discovered either by identifying the active ingredient from traditional remedies or by serendipitous discovery...

 process. Examples include:
  • Genetic modification of animals to study disease. Transgenic animals have specific genes inserted, modified or removed, to mimic specific conditions such as single gene disorders, such as Huntington's disease
    Huntington's disease
    Huntington's disease, chorea, or disorder , is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and dementia. It typically becomes noticeable in middle age. HD is the most common genetic cause of abnormal involuntary writhing movements called chorea...

    . Other models mimic complex, multifactorial diseases with genetic components, such as diabetes
    Diabetes mellitus
    Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

    , or even transgenic mice that carry the same mutations that occur during the development of cancer
    Cancer
    Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

    . These models allow investigations on how and why the disease develops, as well as providing ways to develop and test new treatments. The vast majority of these transgenic models of human disease are lines of mice, the mammalian species in which genetic modification is most efficient. Smaller numbers of other animals are also used, including rats, pigs, sheep, fish, birds, and amphibians.

  • Studies on models of naturally occurring disease and condition. Certain domestic and wild animals have a natural propensity or predisposition for certain conditions that are also found in humans. Cats are used as a model to develop immunodeficiency virus vaccines and to study leukemia
    Leukemia
    Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

     because their natural predisposition to FIV and Feline leukemia virus
    Feline leukemia virus
    Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus that infects cats. FeLV can be transmitted between infected cats when the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions is involved. If not defeated by the animal’s immune system, the virus can be lethal...

    . Certain breeds of dog suffer from narcolepsy
    Narcolepsy
    Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, or dyssomnia, characterized by excessive sleepiness and sleep attacks at inappropriate times, such as while at work. People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia...

     making them the major model used to study the human condition. Armadillo
    Armadillo
    Armadillos are New World placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one"...

    s and humans are among only a few animal species that naturally suffer from leprosy
    Leprosy
    Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

    ; as the bacteria responsible for this disease cannot yet be grown in culture, armadillos are the primary source of bacilli
    Bacilli
    Bacilli refers to a taxonomic class of bacteria. It includes two orders, Bacillales and Lactobacillales, which contain several well-known pathogens like Bacillus anthracis .-Ambiguity:...

     used in leprosy vaccines.

  • Studies on induced animal models of human diseases. Here, an animal is treated so that it develops pathology
    Pathology
    Pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease. The word pathology is from Ancient Greek , pathos, "feeling, suffering"; and , -logia, "the study of". Pathologization, to pathologize, refers to the process of defining a condition or behavior as pathological, e.g. pathological gambling....

     and symptoms that resemble a human disease. Examples include restricting blood flow to the brain to induce stroke
    Stroke
    A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

    , or giving neurotoxin
    Neurotoxin
    A neurotoxin is a toxin that acts specifically on nerve cells , usually by interacting with membrane proteins such as ion channels. Some sources are more general, and define the effect of neurotoxins as occurring at nerve tissue...

    s that cause damage similar to that seen in Parkinson's disease
    Parkinson's disease
    Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system...

    . Such studies can be difficult to interpret, and it is argued that they are not always comparable to human diseases. For example, although such models are now widely used to study Parkinson's disease, the British anti-vivisection interest group BUAV
    British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
    The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments...

     argues that these models only superficially resemble the disease symptoms, without the same time course or cellular pathology. In contrast, scientists assessing the usefulness of animal models of Parkinson's disease, as well as the medical research charity The Parkinson's Appeal, state that these models were invaluable and that they led to improved surgical treatments such as pallidotomy
    Pallidotomy
    Pallidotomy is a procedure where a tiny electrical probe is placed in the globus pallidus , which is then heated to 80 degrees celsius for 60 seconds, to destroy a small area of brain cells...

    , new drug treatments such as levodopa
    Levodopa
    L-DOPA is a chemical that is made and used as part of the normal biology of some animals and plants. Some animals including humans make it via biosynthesis from the amino acid L-tyrosine. L-DOPA is the precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine , and epinephrine collectively...

    , and later deep brain stimulation
    Deep brain stimulation
    Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain...

    .

Xenotransplantation



Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation , is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants...

 research involves transplanting tissues or organs from one species to another, as a way to overcome the shortage of human organs for use in organ transplant
Organ transplant
Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one body to another or from a donor site on the patient's own body, for the purpose of replacing the recipient's damaged or absent organ. The emerging field of regenerative medicine is allowing scientists and engineers to create organs to be...

s. Current research involves using primates as the recipients of organs from pigs that have been genetically-modified to reduce the primates' immune response
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 against the pig tissue. Although transplant rejection
Transplant rejection
Transplant rejection occurs when transplanted tissue is rejected by the recipient's immune system, which destroys the transplanted tissue. Transplant rejection can be lessened by determining the molecular similitude between donor and recipient and by use of immunosuppressant drugs after...

 remains a problem, recent clinical trials that involved implanting pig insulin-secreting cells into diabetics did reduce these people's need for insulin.

Documents released to the news media by the animal rights organization Uncaged Campaigns
Uncaged Campaigns
Uncaged Campaigns is a Sheffield, UK, based anti-vivisection, not-for-profit organisation and a registered company limited by guarantee.-History:...

 showed that, between 1994 and 2000, wild baboons imported to the UK from Africa by Imutran Ltd, a subsidiary of Novartis
Novartis
Novartis International AG is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, ranking number three in sales among the world-wide industry...

 Pharma AG, in conjunction with Cambridge University and Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; Eye, Suffolk; New Jersey in the U.S., and Japan...

, to be used in experiments that involved grafting pig tissues, suffered serious and sometimes fatal injuries. A scandal occurred when it was revealed that the company had communicated with the British government in an attempt to avoid regulation.

Toxicology testing


Toxicology testing, also known as safety testing, is conducted by pharmaceutical companies testing drugs, or by contract animal testing facilities, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; Eye, Suffolk; New Jersey in the U.S., and Japan...

, on behalf of a wide variety of customers. According to 2005 EU figures, around one million animals are used every year in Europe in toxicology tests; which are about 10% of all procedures. According to Nature, 5,000 animals are used for each chemical being tested, with 12,000 needed to test pesticides. The tests are conducted without anesthesia
Anesthesia
Anesthesia, or anaesthesia , traditionally meant the condition of having sensation blocked or temporarily taken away...

, because interactions between drugs
Drug interaction
A drug interaction is a situation in which a substance affects the activity of a drug, i.e. the effects are increased or decreased, or they produce a new effect that neither produces on its own. Typically, interaction between drugs come to mind...

 can affect how animals detoxify
Xenobiotic metabolism
Xenobiotic metabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that modify the chemical structure of xenobiotics, which are compounds foreign to an organism's normal biochemistry, such as drugs and poisons...

 chemicals, and may interfere with the results.

Toxicology tests are used to examine finished products such as pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s, medication
Medication
A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.- Classification :...

s, food additives, packing materials, and air freshener, or their chemical ingredients. Most tests involve testing ingredients rather than finished products, but according to BUAV, manufacturers believe these tests overestimate the toxic effects of substances; they therefore repeat the tests using their finished products to obtain a less toxic label.

The substances are applied to the skin or dripped into the eyes; injected intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously; inhaled either by placing a mask over the animals and restraining them, or by placing them in an inhalation chamber; or administered orally, through a tube into the stomach, or simply in the animal's food. Doses may be given once, repeated regularly for many months, or for the lifespan of the animal.

There are several different types of acute toxicity
Acute toxicity
Acute toxicity describes the adverse effects of a substance that result either from a single exposure or from multiple exposures in a short space of time...

 tests. The ("Lethal Dose 50%") test is used to evaluate the toxicity of a substance by determining the dose required to kill 50% of the test animal population
Statistical population
A statistical population is a set of entities concerning which statistical inferences are to be drawn, often based on a random sample taken from the population. For example, if we were interested in generalizations about crows, then we would describe the set of crows that is of interest...

. This test was removed from OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 international guidelines in 2002, replaced by methods such as the fixed dose procedure
Fixed Dose Procedure
The Fixed Dose Procedure , proposed in 1984 by the British Toxicology Society, is a method to assess a substance's acute oral toxicity. In this procedure the test substance is given at one of the four fixed-dose levels The Fixed Dose Procedure (FDP), proposed in 1984 by the British Toxicology...

, which use fewer animals and cause less suffering. Nature writes that, as of 2005, "the LD50 acute toxicity test ... still accounts for one-third of all animal [toxicity] tests worldwide."

Irritancy can be measured using the Draize test
Draize test
The Draize Test is an acute toxicity test devised in 1944 by Food and Drug Administration toxicologists John H. Draize and Jacob M. Spines...

, where a test substance is applied to an animal's eyes or skin, usually an albino rabbit. For Draize eye testing, the test involves observing the effects of the substance at intervals and grading any damage or irritation, but the test should be halted and the animal killed if it shows "continuing signs of severe pain or distress". The Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States , based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million....

 writes that the procedure can cause redness, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or even blindness. This test has also been criticized by scientists for being cruel and inaccurate, subjective, over-sensitive, and failing to reflect human exposures in the real world. Although no accepted in vitro alternatives exist, a modified form of the Draize test called the low volume eye test may reduce suffering and provide more realistic results and this was adopted as the new standard in September 2009. However, the Draize test will still be used for substances that are not severe irritants.

The most stringent tests are reserved for drugs and foodstuffs. For these, a number of tests are performed, lasting less than a month (acute), one to three months (subchronic), and more than three months (chronic) to test general toxicity (damage to organs), eye and skin irritancy, mutagen
Mutagen
In genetics, a mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material, usually DNA, of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level. As many mutations cause cancer, mutagens are therefore also likely to be carcinogens...

icity, carcinogen
Carcinogen
A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes...

icity, teratogenicity, and reproductive problems. The cost of the full complement of tests is several million dollars per substance and it may take three or four years to complete.

These toxicity tests provide, in the words of a 2006 United States National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

 report, "critical information for assessing hazard and risk potential". Nature reported that most animal tests either over- or underestimate risk, or do not reflect toxicity in humans particularly well, with false positive results being a particular problem. This variability stems from using the effects of high doses of chemicals in small numbers of laboratory animals to try to predict the effects of low doses in large numbers of humans. Although relationships do exist, opinion is divided on how to use data on one species to predict the exact level of risk in another.

Cosmetics testing




Cosmetics testing on animals is particularly controversial. Such tests, which are still conducted in the U.S., involve general toxicity, eye and skin irritancy, phototoxic
Phototoxic
Phototoxicity is a chemically induced skin irritation requiring light . The skin response resembles an exaggerated sunburn. The involved chemical may enter into the skin by topical administration or it may reach the skin via systemic circulation following ingestion or parenteral administration...

ity (toxicity triggered by ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 light) and mutagenicity.

Cosmetics testing is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the UK, and in 2002, after 13 years of discussion, the European Union (EU) agreed to phase in a near-total ban on the sale of animal-tested cosmetics throughout the EU from 2009, and to ban all cosmetics-related animal testing. France, which is home to the world's largest cosmetics company, L'Oreal
L'Oréal
The L'Oréal Group is the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company. With its registered office in Paris and head office in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France, it has developed activities in the field of cosmetics...

, has protested the proposed ban by lodging a case at the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 in Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, asking that the ban be quashed. The ban is also opposed by the European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients, which represents 70 companies in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy.

Drug testing



Before the early 20th century, laws regulating drugs were lax. Currently, all new pharmaceuticals undergo rigorous animal testing before being licensed for human use. Tests on pharmaceutical products involve:
  • metabolic tests, investigating pharmacokinetics
    Pharmacokinetics
    Pharmacokinetics, sometimes abbreviated as PK, is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to the determination of the fate of substances administered externally to a living organism...

     – how drugs are absorbed, metabolized
    Drug metabolism
    Drug metabolism is the biochemical modification of pharmaceutical substances by living organisms, usually through specialized enzymatic systems. This is a form of xenobiotic metabolism. Drug metabolism often converts lipophilic chemical compounds into more readily excreted polar products...

     and excreted
    Excretion
    Excretion is the process by which waste products of metabolism and other non-useful materials are eliminated from an organism. This is primarily carried out by the lungs, kidneys and skin. This is in contrast with secretion, where the substance may have specific tasks after leaving the cell...

     by the body when introduced orally, intravenously, intraperitoneally, intramuscularly, or transdermally
    Transdermal patch
    A transdermal patch is a medicated adhesive patch that is placed on the skin to deliver a specific dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream. Often, this promotes healing to an injured area of the body. An advantage of a transdermal drug delivery route over other types of...

    .

  • toxicology tests, which gauge acute
    Acute toxicity
    Acute toxicity describes the adverse effects of a substance that result either from a single exposure or from multiple exposures in a short space of time...

    , sub-acute, and chronic toxicity
    Chronic toxicity
    Chronic toxicity is a property of a substance that has toxic effects on a living organism, when that organism is exposed to the substance continuously or repeatedly. Compared with acute toxicity.Two distinct situations need to be considered:...

    . Acute toxicity is studied by using a rising dose until signs of toxicity become apparent. Current European legislation demands that "acute toxicity tests must be carried out in two or more mammalian species" covering "at least two different routes of administration". Sub-acute toxicity is where the drug is given to the animals for four to six weeks in doses below the level at which it causes rapid poisoning, in order to discover if any toxic drug metabolites
    Drug metabolism
    Drug metabolism is the biochemical modification of pharmaceutical substances by living organisms, usually through specialized enzymatic systems. This is a form of xenobiotic metabolism. Drug metabolism often converts lipophilic chemical compounds into more readily excreted polar products...

     build up over time. Testing for chronic toxicity can last up to two years and, in the European Union, is required to involve two species of mammals, one of which must be non-rodent.
  • efficacy studies, which test whether experimental drugs work by inducing the appropriate illness in animals. The drug is then administered in a double-blind controlled trial
    Randomized controlled trial
    A randomized controlled trial is a type of scientific experiment - a form of clinical trial - most commonly used in testing the safety and efficacy or effectiveness of healthcare services or health technologies A randomized controlled trial (RCT) is a type of scientific experiment - a form of...

    , which allows researchers to determine the effect of the drug and the dose-response curve.
  • Specific tests on reproductive function, embryonic toxicity, or carcinogenic potential can all be required by law, depending on the result of other studies and the type of drug being tested.

Education, breeding, and defense


Animals are also used for education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and training; are bred for use in laboratories; and are used by the military to develop weapons, vaccines, battlefield surgical techniques, and defensive clothing. For example, in 2008 the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency used live pigs to study the effects of improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

 explosions on internal organs, especially the brain.

There are efforts in many countries to find alternatives to using animals in education. Horst Spielmann, German director of the Central Office for Collecting and Assessing Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, while describing Germany's progress in this area, told German broadcaster ARD
ARD (broadcaster)
ARD is a joint organization of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters...

 in 2005: "Using animals in teaching curricula is already superfluous. In many countries, one can become a doctor, vet or biologist without ever having performed an experiment on an animal."

Ethics



Viewpoints




The ethical questions raised by performing experiments on animals are subject to much debate, and viewpoints have shifted significantly over the 20th century. There remain disagreements about which procedures are useful for which purposes, as well as disagreements over which ethical principles apply to which species. The dominant ethical position worldwide is that achievement of scientific and medical goals using animal testing is desirable, so long as animal suffering and use is minimized. The British government has additionally required that the cost to animals in an experiment be weighed against the gain in knowledge. Some medical schools and agencies in China, Japan, and South Korea have built cenotaph
Cenotaph
A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάφιον = kenotaphion...

s for killed animals. In Japan there are also annual memorial services (Ireisai 慰霊祭) for animals sacrificed at medical school.

A wide range of minority viewpoints exist. The view that animals have moral rights (animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

) is a philosophical position proposed by Tom Regan
Tom Regan
Tom Regan is an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights theory. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, where he taught from 1967 until his retirement in 2001....

, among others, who argues that animals are beings with beliefs and desires, and as such are the "subjects of a life" with moral value and therefore moral rights. Regan still sees ethical differences between killing human and non-human animals, and argues that to save the former it is permissible to kill the latter. Likewise, a "moral dilemma" view suggests that avoiding potential benefit to humans is unacceptable on similar grounds, and holds the issue to be a dilemma in balancing such harm to humans to the harm done to animals in research. In contrast, an abolitionist view in animal rights
Abolitionism (animal rights)
Abolitionism within the animal rights movement is the idea that focusing on animal welfare reform not only fails to challenge animal suffering, but may prolong it by making the exercise of property rights over animals appear acceptable. The abolitionists' objective is to secure a moral and legal...

 holds that there is no moral justification for any harmful research on animals that is not to the benefit of the individual animal. Bernard Rollin
Bernard Rollin
Bernard E. Rollin is an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights and animal consciousness. He is a professor of philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University....

 argues that benefits to human beings cannot outweigh animal suffering, and that human beings have no moral right to use an animal in ways that do not benefit that individual. Another prominent position is that of philosopher Peter Singer
Peter Singer
Peter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher who is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne...

, who argues that there are no grounds to include a being's species in considerations of whether their suffering is important in utilitarian
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

 moral considerations.

Although these arguments have not been widely accepted, governments such as the Netherlands and New Zealand have responded to the concerns by outlawing invasive experiments on certain classes of non-human primates, particularly the great apes
Great Apes
Great Apes may refer to*Great apes, species in the biological family Hominidae, including humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans*Great Apes , a 1997 novel by Will Self...

.

Prominent cases


Various specific cases of animal testing have drawn attention, including both instances of beneficial scientific research, and instances of alleged ethical violations by those performing the tests.

Muscle physiology

The fundamental properties of muscle physiology were determined with on work done using frog muscles (including the force generating mechanism of all muscle, the length-tension relationship, and the force-velocity curve), and frogs are still the preferred model organism due to the long survival of muscles in vitro and the possibility of isolating intact single-fiber preparations (not possible in other organisms). Modern physical therapy
Physical therapy
Physical therapy , often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention,and rehabilitation...

 and the understanding and treatment of muscular disorders is based on this work and subsequent work in mice (often engineered to express disease states such as muscular dystrophy).

University of California, Riverside

1985 was a pivotal year in the debate about animal research in the United States, with the enactment of amendments to the Animal Welfare Act. Britches
Britches (monkey)
Britches was a stump-tailed macaque monkey born into a breeding colony at the University of California, Riverside . He was removed from his mother at birth, had his eyelids sewn shut, and had an electronic sonar device attached to his head — a Trisensor Aid, an experimental version of a blind...

, a macaque monkey, was born that year inside the University of California, Riverside
University of California, Riverside
The University of California, Riverside, commonly known as UCR or UC Riverside, is a public research university and one of the ten general campuses of the University of California system. UCR is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically and economically diverse universities in the United...

, removed from his mother at birth, and left alone with his eyelids sewn shut, and a sonar sensor on his head, as part of an experiment to test sensory substitution
Sensory substitution
Sensory substitution means to transform the characteristics of one sensory modality into stimuli of another sensory modality. It is hoped that sensory substitution systems can help handicapped people by restoring their ability to perceive a certain defective sensory modality by using sensory...

 devices for blind people. The Animal Liberation Front
Animal Liberation Front
The Animal Liberation Front is an international, underground leaderless resistance that engages in illegal direct action in pursuit of animal liberation...

 raided the laboratory on April 20, 1985, removing Britches and 466 other animals, and reportedly inflicting $700,000-worth of damage to equipment. A spokesman for the university said the allegations of mistreatment were false, and that the raid caused long-term damage to its research projects. The National Institutes of Health conducted an eight-month investigation and concluded that no corrective action was necessary.

Huntingdon Life Sciences


In 1997, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

 filmed staff inside Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences
Huntingdon Life Sciences is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire; Eye, Suffolk; New Jersey in the U.S., and Japan...

 (HLS) in the UK, Europe's largest animal-testing facility, hitting puppies, shouting at them, and simulating sex acts while taking blood samples. The company said the employees were dismissed. Two pleaded guilty to "cruelly terrifying dogs," and were given community service orders and ordered to pay £250 costs, the first lab technicians to have been prosecuted for animal cruelty in the UK. The broadcast of the video on Britain's Channel 4 Television in March 1997 triggered the formation of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is an international animal rights campaign to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences , Europe's largest contract animal-testing laboratory. HLS tests medical and non-medical substances on around 75,000 animals every year, from rats to primates...

 (SHAC), an international leaderless resistance
Leaderless resistance
Leaderless resistance, or phantom cell structure, is a political resistance strategy in which small, independent groups , including individuals , challenge an established adversary such as a government. Leaderless resistance can encompass anything from non-violent disruption and civil disobedience...

 campaign to close HLS, which has been criticized for its sometimes violent tactics. In January 2009, several British SHAC activists were jailed for blackmailing companies linked to HLS.

Roslin Institute


In February 1997 a team at the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the birth of Dolly the sheep, a ewe that had been cloned
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 from tissue taken from another adult sheep. Dolly was produced through nuclear transfer
Nuclear transfer
Nuclear Transfer is a form of cloning. The steps involve removing the DNA from an oocyte , and injecting the nucleus which contains the DNA to be cloned. In rare instances, the newly constructed cell will divide normally, replicating the new DNA while remaining in a pluripotent state...

 to an unfertilised oocyte
Oocyte
An oocyte, ovocyte, or rarely ocyte, is a female gametocyte or germ cell involved in reproduction. In other words, it is an immature ovum, or egg cell. An oocyte is produced in the ovary during female gametogenesis. The female germ cells produce a primordial germ cell which undergoes a mitotic...

, and was the only lamb that survived from 277 attempts at this technique. Dolly appeared to be a normal sheep, living for six years and giving birth to several lambs, but was euthanized in 2003 after contracting a progressive lung disease. Although the production of Dolly was a scientific breakthrough, it was controversial, since it showed that not only could cloned animals be produced for use in farming, but also that it would now be, in principle, possible to clone a human being.

University of Cambridge


The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is a British animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments...

 (BUAV) raised concerns about primate experiments at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 in 2002. In a series of court cases, the BUAV alleged that monkeys had undergone surgery to induce a stroke, and were left alone after the procedure for 15 hours overnight. Researchers had trained the monkeys to perform certain tasks before inflicting brain damage and re-testing them. The monkeys were only given food and water for two hours a day, to encourage them to perform the tasks. The judge hearing BUAV's application for a judicial review rejected the allegation that the Home Secretary had been negligent in granting the university a license. The British government's chief inspector of animals conducted a review of the facilities and experiments. It concluded the veterinary input at Cambridge was "exemplary"; the facility "seems adequately staffed"; and the animals afforded "appropriate standards of accommodation and care."

Columbia University

CNN reported in October 2003 that Catherine Dell'Orto, a veterinarian at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, had approached the university's Institute of Comparative Medicine about the treatment of baboons who were undergoing surgery as part of an experiment into stroke treatment. She said the baboons, who were in some cases having an eyeball removed, were left to suffer in their cages after the surgery. She alleged there was systemic maltreatment, poor record-keeping, and other violations of regulations, according to CNN. She presented her evidence in October 2002 and, dissatisfied with the response, contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals two months later.

In March 2003, a lab technician shot video inside the lab, which according to The New York Daily News showed primates in cages without pain medication; the video included one baboon with a metal cylinder screwed into its head, according to the newspaper. Dell'Orto told the newspaper that primates were often not euthanized or given painkillers after surgery; she said other primates had torn their fingers off out of fear. The U.S. Department of Agriculture upheld Dell'Orto's complaint that there was shoddy record-keeping, and that 11 animals had been provided with "inadequate or questionable care." They found no evidence that the experiments violated federal guidelines or that there had been retaliation against Dell'Orto. CNN reported that Columbia responded by ordering better record-keeping, a review of the veterinary care program, and tighter criteria for euthanasia of laboratory animals.

Covance

In 2004, German journalist Friedrich Mülln shot undercover footage of staff in Covance
Covance
Covance, Inc. , formerly Corning Incorporated, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, is a contract research organization , providing drug development and animal testing services...

, Münster, Europe's largest primate-testing center, making monkeys dance in time to blaring pop music, handling them roughly, and screaming at them. The monkeys were kept isolated in small wire cages with little or no natural light, no environmental enrichment, and high noise levels from staff shouting and playing the radio (video). Primatologist
Primatology
Primatology is the scientific study of primates. It is a diverse discipline and researchers can be found in academic departments of anatomy, anthropology, biology, medicine, psychology, veterinary sciences and zoology, as well as in animal sanctuaries, biomedical research facilities, museums and zoos...

 Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE , is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National...

 described the living conditions of the monkeys as horrendous. Another primatologist, Stephen Brend, told BUAV that using monkeys in such a stressed state is bad science, and trying to extrapolate useful data in such circumstances is what he called an untenable proposition. In 2004 and 2005, PETA shot footage inside the company in the United States. According to The Washington Post, PETA said an employee of the group filmed primates being choked, hit, and denied medical attention when badly injured. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Covance $8,720 for 16 citations, three of which involved lab monkeys; the other citations involved administrative issues and equipment.

Threats to researchers


In 2006, a primate researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

 (UCLA) shut down the experiments in his lab after threats from animal rights activists. The researcher had received a grant to use 30 macaque
Macaque
The macaques constitute a genus of Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. - Description :Aside from humans , the macaques are the most widespread primate genus, ranging from Japan to Afghanistan and, in the case of the barbary macaque, to North Africa...

 monkeys for vision experiments; each monkey was anesthetized for a single physiological experiment lasting up to 120 hours, and then euthanized. The researcher's name, phone number, and address were posted on the website of the Primate Freedom Project
Primate Freedom Project
]The Primate Freedom Project is a 501 not-for-profit grassroots abolitionist animal rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. It is dedicated to ending the use of nonhuman primates in biomedical and harmful behavioral experimentation...

. Demonstrations were held in front of his home. A Molotov cocktail
Molotov cocktail
The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons...

 was placed on the porch of what was believed to be the home of another UCLA primate researcher; instead, it was accidentally left on the porch of an elderly woman unrelated to the university. The Animal Liberation Front
Animal Liberation Front
The Animal Liberation Front is an international, underground leaderless resistance that engages in illegal direct action in pursuit of animal liberation...

 claimed responsibility for the attack. As a result of the campaign, the researcher sent an email to the Primate Freedom Project stating "you win," and "please don’t bother my family anymore." In another incident at UCLA in June 2007, the Animal Liberation Brigade placed a bomb under the car of a UCLA children's ophthalmologist who experiments on cats and rhesus monkeys; the bomb had a faulty fuse and did not detonate. UCLA is now refusing Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act (United States)
The Freedom of Information Act is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure...

 requests for animal medical records.

These attacks, as well as similar incidents that caused the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

 to declare in 2002 that the animal rights movement had "clearly taken a turn toward the more extreme," this prompted the US government to pass the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a United States federal law that prohibits any person from engaging in certain conduct "for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise." The statute covers any act that either "damages or causes the loss of any real or...

 and the UK government to add the offense of "Intimidation of persons connected with animal research organisation" to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005
The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom aimed primarily at creating the Serious Organised Crime Agency, it also significantly extended and simplified the powers of arrest of a constable and introduced restrictions on protests in the...

. Such legislation, and the arrest and imprisonment of extremists may have decreased the incidence of attacks.

Alternatives to animal testing



Scientists and governments state that animal testing should cause as little suffering to animals as possible, and that animal tests should only be performed where necessary. The "three Rs" are guiding principles
Moral obligation
The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in layman's terms. Generally speaking, when someone says of an act that it is a "moral obligation," they refer to a belief that the act is one prescribed by their set of values.Moral philosophers differ as to...

 for the use of animals in research in most countries:
  1. Replacement refers to the preferred use of non-animal methods over animal methods whenever it is possible to achieve the same scientific aim.
  2. Reduction refers to methods that enable researchers to obtain comparable levels of information from fewer animals, or to obtain more information from the same number of animals.
  3. Refinement refers to methods that alleviate or minimize potential pain, suffering or distress, and enhance animal welfare for the animals still used.


Although such principles have been welcomed as a step forwards by some animal welfare groups, they have also been criticized as both outdated by current research, and of little practical effect in improving animal welfare.

See also

  • Bateson's cube
    Bateson's cube
    Bateson's cube is a model of the cost-benefit analysis for animal research developed by Professor Patrick Bateson, president of the Zoological Society of London.Bateson's cube evaluates proposed research through three criteria:...

  • Human subject research
  • Krogh's principle
  • Preclinical imaging
    Preclinical imaging
    Preclinical imaging is the visualization of animals for research purposes, such as drug development. Imaging modalities have long been crucial to the researcher in observing changes, either at the organ, tissue, cell, or molecular level, in animals responding to physiological or environmental changes...

  • The People's Petition
    The People's Petition
    The People's Petition was an online campaign to express support for medical experimentation using animals in the United Kingdom. Within a year of launch the number of signatures exceeded 21,850 and included Tony Blair, the then-serving Prime Minister....

  • Women and animal advocacy
    Women and animal advocacy
    Several writers have argued that the animal advocacy movement — embracing animal rights, animal welfare, and anti-vivisectionism — has been disproportionately initiated and led by women....


Further reading and external links