How can you prevent animal testing? – SWR2

Science and the pharmaceutical industry try to avoid, improve, or replace animal testing. Is its end looming?















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How can animal testing be prevented?

In 2020 in Germany alone, more than two and a half million animals died during or after experiments: mice and rats, as well as cats and monkeys.

Avatars of animal testing speak volumes and are heartbreaking. But it does not replace rational arguments like these animal welfare law. Then You can just tryas it is called at the “physiologically inferior animal”. In other words, on the animal that best endures the pain, suffering, and fear that occurs.

Illegal emissions experiments on monkeys by Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler

Just one example of illegal animal experiments: toxicity tests for diesel exhaust gases on cynomolgus monkeys commissioned by VW, BMW and Daimler in the US in 2014 would be illegal in Germany under the Animal Welfare Act. On the other hand, because it was possible to perform experiments on mice with a lower level of sensory physiology. On the other hand, due to the existence of well-established alternative methods.

Animal suffering is divided into three degrees of severity

In behavioral research, putting monkeys on a short-term diet could indeed be considered a first-class animal experiment. You should Short periods of reduced feeding Interpreted as suffering for the animal. This would then be an animal experiment with the lowest three degrees of intensity.

The most serious are experiences in which moderate pain, Cause suffering and fear will. These include surgical interventions under anesthesia or in the case of placing a permanent catheter, which is classified as Class II risk.

Grade 3 includes target tumor initiation

The worst animal experiments in the third category Severe pain, suffering, or distress As well as targeted stimulation of carcinomas or toxicity tests that lead to death. Whether or not the test animal survives the experiment at all is not a criterion for classification.



Laboratory mice in a glass container of the Federal Research Center for Viral Diseases in Animals on Rim


imago pictures



IMAGO / Jens Koehler


Can animal testing be replaced with alternatives?

In basic research, the answer is simple. Because the researchers here pursue their own questions and research methods, and thus each experiment is different, it is difficult for the research itself to develop alternative methods.

a Ban on animal testing Today it can be considered profound and hardly justifiable Cut the freedom to search for basic research Look.

It differs in applied research such as pharmaceutical research. Because the tests here are standardized.

Low mouse price enables test series in pharmaceutical research

at pharmaceutical research The price for a mouse in animal testing starts at about $20. Because of this low price, entire groups of materials are tested to see if one of them is effective. There are different numbers on how many materials are disposed of. Rule of thumb: 9 out of 10.

These animal experiments cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future. But one way to reduce the number of animal experiments in pharmaceutical research is to Modify default materials On the computer, for example in pain and opioid research. Eventually, these hypothetical materials are sampled again in real animal experiments, but the number of animal experiments can generally be reduced.

Startups are modeling human organs as an alternative to animal experiments

Many startups take a different approach. We do not represent the active substances, but the people. The human body consists of 36 organs. These in turn are made up of different types of cells. The liver has four. These four combined in a small bowl make up a typical liver.

If these typical organs are connected to each other by thin channels, then the reactions of the body can be read. For example: How does the cream affect the liver through a small number of skin cells? Four interconnected model members are standard today. 15 times the price of a cheap mouse. A search for a system that connects ten members is currently underway. But the same applies here: No animal testing has been replaced, but many have been banned.

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