The Three R's:

-Replace the use of animals with alternative techniques

-Reduce the number of animals used

-Refine experiments to make sure animals suffer as little as possible


Why toxicity testing on animals does not work:

1. "Human exposures to environmental chemicals typically occur at low concentrations. However, if testing strategies were based on these low concentrations, many more animals, time, and money would be needed to detect adverse health effects in humans. Therefore, in order to maximize the detection of toxicities, animals are treated with very high doses of chemicals."

2. "Inbred strains of animals are routinely used for testing chemicals... However, humans are not inbred—we are quite heterogeneous genetically and thus potentially exhibit considerable variability in susceptibility to adverse effects from a chemical."

3. "The results are obtained primarily from rats and mice, and though rats and mice exhibit many of the same responses to chemicals as humans, there are also many differences...But since the differences among species are not all known, an uncertainty factor must be applied even to the animal data that are used"


Alternative methods:

  • "The new approach would involve measuring changes in the molecules of the cell in response to a chemical. With low concentrations of chemicals, these changes might be reversible and the cells might recover through adaptive responses"
  • "Creating a strategy for collecting data from human populations that have been exposed to chemicals already found in the environment. Population-based studies can provide information on toxicity pathways and health risks not revealed by traditional toxicity testing"
  • "Developing a suite of representative human cell lines that can be used for assessing toxicity"*

                 *Joanne Zurlo, senior scientist in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and director of science strategy for the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 


 More Reliable Methods:

  • Animal testing could be reduced with new research: "The team, led by chemistry, biomedical science and electrical engineering professor James Hickman, has developed a neuromuscular junction mimic. This allows researchers to monitor muscular function and its response to different treatments without using human or animal subjects." (Sept. 25, 2013)
  • Genomic assay as an alternative to animal testing: "The method developed by the group in Lund is based on human cells grown in a laboratory. The cells are exposed to a chemical and then parts of their genetic content are filtered out and transferred to a microchip." (June 14, 2013)
  • Artificial human livers engineered for drug testing and discovery: "This research advance is the firstdrug testing model available that can sensitively predict long-term drug responses in the liver...The ability to determine drug toxicity at an early stage would lead to significant cost savings for the pharmaceutical companies and consumers." (March 15, 2013)

Skin & Eye Testing:

3D Models:

  • Professorial chair to lead search for animal testing alternatives: "This branch of science is becoming increasingly accepted among the scientific community and it is vital that new and existing scientists and researchers are aware that successful alternatives to animal testing... special areas of focus would include 3D cell culture, 3D modelling and bioinformatics and regenerative medicine, with particular emphasis on diseases of the skin and the digestive tract." (Jan. 16, 2013)
  • Prostate Model for Cancer Research: "To better study the causes and development of this disease, Dr. Friederike J. Gruhl, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), is developing a three-dimensional model of the prostate." (Nov. 23, 2012)


  • Organs-on-Chips May Replace Animal Testing: "Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Univ. have mimicked pulmonary edema in a microchip lined by living human cells." (Sept. 11, 2012)


  • BASF Receives 2013 Animal Protection Research Prize: "BASF research scientists have developed completely animal testing-free methods and strategies that examine substances for skin sensitization, eye irritation and skin irritation. The predictive accuracies are at least as good as those provided by animal studies." (Dec. 2, 2013)
  • York Mathematicians to reduce animal testing: "The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) to joint fund an almost £750k grant into finding innovative ways to increase the efficiency of the protocols... A York-based, interdisciplinary team, lead by mathematician Dr Jon Pitchford, was one of only four research projects to be awarded a portion of this grant to investigate how mathematical techniques might be used to streamline the testing practices. Together with Dr James Cussens in Computer Science, Jon and his team plan to use a mathematical technique known as Bayesian Networks to exploit existing data." (Jan. 22, 2013)
  • LUSH Cosmetics Awards $400,000 to Innovators in Cruelty-Free Research: "LUSH Cosmeticsannounced the recipients of the first-ever LUSH Prize to eliminate animal testing. Created by the handmade-cosmetics firm, in conjunction with the not-for-profit Ethical Consumer group, the annual £250,000 ($400,000) prize is the largest monetary award in the alternative-testing sector to date." (March 12, 2012)