Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is the End to Animal Testing in Sight?

The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Institutes of Health have all signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" to develop new methods of evaluating the safety of drugs and chemicals for humans.

Martin Stephens of the Humane Society of the United States said, "We believe this is the beginning of the end for animal testing. We think the (conversion) process will take about 10 years."

Are government agencies finally realizing what animal rights activists have known for years? Testing on animals yields no results that are beneficial to humans.

So, what new methods do they plan on utilizing? Human cells and computerized testing machines. Am I the only one wondering why they're only realizing this now? I've never understood why scientists didn't just grow human cells in labs and test directly on those.

Regardless, this is a huge win for animals. I wonder if this has to do with the increasing pressure animal rights activists are putting on government agencies and corporations. I'd like to think so. Let's keep the pressure on them. When animal testing is a thing of the past, people will look back on it in horror and wonder why it was ever done in the first place. Let's send it to the history books as soon as possible.

Here's the article I came across in USA Today: Three U.S. agencies aim to end animal testing.


Anonymous said...

I'm vegan, I hate animal testing, I've read Animal Liberation and many other books.

Scientists aren't "just now realizing" that testing on humans would yield more beneficial test results - these are smart people. The problem is, the solution isn't as easy as saying "test on some human cells and use a computer".

If you're trying to test a medication's effectiveness, and trying to learn of any potential side effects, subjecting the medication to some human cells isn't sufficient. And building reliable computer models of the body's complex systems, and how those systems interact with one another, is *amazingly* difficult.

In the past, this simply wasn't possible due to insufficient hardware, software, and knowledge. The fact that we're approaching a time where this will be possible is a massive achievement.

phil said...

While it is true that it is a major victory for animals it is not the end of the line as far as animal abuses go. Animals will still be vivisected for the pursuit of neural sciences as well as any systemic research effort. We need to concentrate our efforts on new methods of modeling human like data including artificial intelligence research as well as computational modeling in order to asses the methodology of current practices and there replacement therein.

Billy said...

Thanks for the comments.

Companies use animals because they always have and it's easier than replacing current methods with new technology. Also, if they perform animal tests they can assure consumers their products are safe. This is completely false, as non-human animals and humans differ substantially.

Anyway, I agree that we need to focus our efforts on alternative methods. We also need to keep the pressure on the companies that do test on animals. We need to make it harder for them to continue to torture animals.