Animals used for Research

Animals are commonly used for scientific experiments to test the safety and efficacy of new drugs, vaccines, pesticides etc. Animal research has helped advance science, but it also raises ethical, social, and environmental concerns. Some of the main issues with animal research are:

Animal suffering : Many animals experience pain, distress & mutilation during experiments, and may be killed afterwards, often      in humanely. Animal welfare laws and regulations vary widely across countries and regions and may not adequately protect      animals.   

Human relevance : Animals are biologically different from humans in significant ways, such as anatomy, physiology, genetics, metabolism, and immune system. This limits the efficacy & validity of animal data to human health outcomes.

Cost and efficiency : Animal research is often expensive, time-consuming, and resource intensive. It also generates a large amount of waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Animal research may also delay or hinder the development of more innovative and effective methods that do not rely on animals.

Advantages of non-animal models : Human relevance | Ethical acceptability | Cost, efficiency and speed.

Examples of non-animal models : In vitro methods | Organ-on-a-chip methods | Body-on-chip methods | Computational methods | Stem cell methods | Clinical methods

Efficacy Of Testing Human Drugs On Animals

Most human diseases do not occur in non-human animals, and hence they are induced with the disease and experimented upon to either understand the disease or to find cures for the disease. Non-human animals vary significantly from humans, both genetically and physiologically. The interaction between genes in humans differs from that in non-humans which also adds to the complexity of the issue.

Human physiology and genetics vary from human to human i.e,. there is a vast difference within the same species and due to species differentiation, non-human animals vary even more when compared to humans. These animals are tested in controlled conditions in a laboratory as opposed to the diverse environmental factors that humans come in contact with. They are also kept in conditions that do not mimic their natural habitat which increases stress and this affects the outcomes of the experiments. This affects the extrapolation of animal testing results to human outcomes.

89% of new drugs fail when they reach human trials – half of which are due to the unpredicted toxicity that is not seen in non-human animal trials. Lifesaving drugs like penicillin, aspirin, paracetamol are harmful to non-human animals and would have never entered the market had the current regulatory testing standards been applied when these drugs were discovered.

There is growing acceptance within the scientific community for the need to move away from non-human animal testing by obsoleting their use and bringing in more technologically advanced science that effectively replicates human outcomes aiding more successes in biomedical research and toxicology testing.

The issue of non-human animal testing is tightly linked with human well-being, which means that moving away from these practices is ethically sound not just for the non-human animals used but also for humans that by extension bear the final consequences.

Methods available to change the ecosystem

Lobbying and advocacy : advocate for laws and regulations that promote the development and adoption of non-animal methods.

Education and awareness : Educate and raise awareness among policymakers, researchers, regulators, consumers, and the public about the ethical, scientific, and economic benefits of non-animal methods.

Collaboration and partnership  : Animal advocacy groups and Pharma Industry can collaborate and partner with each and with other stakeholders to develop, validate and promote non-animal methods.  

Positive Tailwinds 

Collaboration with the pharma industry is feasible as their commercial interests also are aligned to promoting non-animal methods, since taking the animals out of drug testing will likely reduce the time and cost of drug development.

Besides the above, regulators across the world are modifying regulations to allow use of non-animal models. The recently passed FDA Modernisation Act includes provisions that encourage the development and use of alternativetesting methods including the use of in-vitro and computer based models. Similarly, the EU Revised Guidelines on animal testing include recommendations for reducing and replacing animal testing in drug development. The guidelines require pharmaceutical companies to use non-animal testing methods whenever possible, and to provide scientific justification for any animal testing that is conducted. In India, the Ministry of Health recently amended the Clinical Trial rules to allow non-animal methods. 


However, the road to change is a very long one, with multiple challenges regulators are extremely wary of change new technologies take time to scale up and become available at affordable price points for the industry to adopt, amongst others.

Our Interventions 

  • Building a coalition of industry players to support the agenda to accelerate the transition – Dr Reddy’s is on board and a few large pharma players are being approached. BMGF has been contacted to become a stakeholder as they support this agenda in the US.
  • Advocacy with the government through the pharma industry to change the regulations. Representations have been made toinclude NAM in the PRIP scheme.
  • Supporting CPHMS (Centre for Predictive human modelling systems), a think-tank under the aegis of CSIR by raising funds to help them raise awareness amongst the scientific community.

Join The Cause

Each day we are partnering with NGOs to amplify their efforts. We cannot be more thrilled about it.