There are a variety of alternatives to animal testing, each of which helps save animal lives. In addition to preserving animal lives, the available alternatives to animal testing are reliable and efficient, unlike what many may believe. Additionally, by participating in methods that do not involve animals, the tests that are completed can take less time and cost less as well. Some of the other methods that can be used in place of animal testing include studies completed and tested on volunteers. Some of the more sophisticated techniques that are used include computer modelling, genomic and in vitro.

Some of the modern, forward-thinking companies are testing on human tissue instead of actual people or animals. Along with the human tissue, these types of companies make use of sophisticated computer technology in order to develop and test drugs. The testing that is completed on the tissue is done to see how the proteins and genes react. This method is one of the most effective alternatives to animal testing because the information gained is specific to human cells. Once you have completed this form of testing, there is no reason to go back to animal testing.

Other types of alternative testing methods—when speaking in terms of human population—are designed to find the root cause of a disease or condition. By researching and trying to find the root cause of different conditions, these researchers are able to provide the medical field with the information they need to develop preventative actions. These types of studies are helpful and can and have led to a variety of medical discoveries, some of which include the link between cancer and smoking, as well as the risk factors associated with heart disease. Animal-based studies were used as recently as 1994 and were the basis for executives to deny any link between smoking and cancer.

Human population studies also resulted in advanced information on the transmission of infectious diseases, such as AIDS. These studies helped researchers find information on how transmission can be prevented. Animal testing to find the same information has proven ineffective and has not led to breakthroughs in regards to the treatment and prevention of
AIDS. For instance, over 80 vaccines that were developed for HIV/AIDS have been successful during the testing on animals but have not been successful in human clinical trials.

Throughout the course of patient treatment studies, there is much that has been learned through the use of scanning technology. This scanning technology includes MRI, PET, CT and fMRI scans. These technologies have been able to show brain abnormalities in those with disorders such as schizophrenia.

In vitro studies are another type of alternative testing that is done instead of testing on animals. These types of tests are done on cell and tissue cultures, and are completed for drugs that are developed to treat and prevent cancer and AIDS. These types of studies are also completed for the production and testing of therapeutic proteins, antibiotics and vaccines. Some of the diseases that benefit from this type of testing include glaucoma, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and diabetes.

Additional resources on alternatives to animal testing:

  • Alternatives: This page is a comprehensive resource about the various alternative methods that exist for animal testing. Read through the different articles that discuss the details.
  • Alternatives to Animal Tests: This page is provided by the Humane Society, and provides you with brief information on the alternatives and how to choose the best alternative for the testing you need.
  • Using Computers to Assess the Heart: This article discusses the use of computers at diagnosing and finding out more information on the heart. These testing techniques are also useful in determining the effectiveness of particular drugs.
  • Animals in Product Testing: This article discusses the use of animals in product testing as well as the alternative testing methods that are available as options to choose from.
  • Ethics and Alternatives: Read about the ethics in testing and research with the use of animals as well as the available alternatives. This article also discusses the benefits of using these alternatives.
  • Animal Testing and Alternatives: Provided by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, this page provides you with information on animal testing as well as the benefits of using alternative methods.
  • Alternatives to Animal Testing: Read questions and answers on animal testing and the alternative options.
  • Give the Animals Five: Alternatives to Animal Testing: This article discusses five alternatives that can be used in place of animal testing.
  • Alternatives to Animal Use: This article briefly discusses animal use in research and the available alternative methods.
  • Alternatives to Animal Testing: Read about the alternative testing methods that are used in place of animals.
  • “Alternative” Medical Research: This page answers the question of whether there are any effective alternatives in place of animal use in research.
  • Animal Testing Questions and Answers: The ASPCA provides a factual and unbiased guide to understanding animal testing.
  • Non-Animal Testing Approach to EPA Labeling for Eye Irritation: This document from the Environmental Protection Agency provides information on the alternative methods to determine eye irritants in pesticides.
  • Finding Alternatives to Animal Research: This page talks about how animal toxicity tests will most likely be unheard of within 20 years.
  • Animals and Research: Alternatives to animal testing are described on this page from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

By Andrea.