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Animal testing is defined as the use of non-human animals in research and development projects, for purposes of determining the

safety of substances such as foods or drugs. (Dictionary, 2013) Animal testing/research was first majorly noted during the late nineteenth when Louis Pasteur administered anthrax to sheep and showed the importance of vaccines with his germ theory. (Murnaghan, 2010) Animal testing over the years has provided us with crucial information in regards to the development of medicines and other medical research. It has helped Doctors and Scientists alike to create life-saving solutions to what were life threatening disease. Take the discovery of insulin for example, made by Dr. Fredrick Banting and Charles Best. From the studies they carried out, using dogs and cows, they managed to understand better the affliction that was and is Diabetes. They were able to use the research to isolate Insulin from the pancreases of dogs and to see its effect on other dogs with Diabetes. Without this research, the amount of people that could have died would have been unimaginable. However, these experiments took place in 1921, a time when technology was simply nothing more than a futuristic idea. So, why is it that in an age where technology and science has greatly increased, innocent animals continue to be inhumanly treated? Is it not reasonable to say that, medical research and medical technology has improved vastly over the last 100 years, yet the most prevalent way of researching medicines, food, cosmetics etc. is still animal testing? There are many different types of animal testing methods. Some of which include Toxicity Tests such as the Inhalation test, Irritancy tests such as the Draize test and tests like Skin Irritancy tests. The purpose of Toxicity Tests like the Inhalation test is to test the toxicity or irritancy of substances or products in an attempt to measure the short term poisoning potential (acute toxicity) of a substance. Most times to determine how much of a chemical or substance it takes to kill an animal within a set time. The test involves spraying a product around the head and body of animals, strapping an inhalation mask to the animals head, or putting animals into a sealed chamber while the test substance is pumped into the atmosphere (Humane Education, 2008) The most common products tested using this method are aerosol based like hairspray, deodorant and oven cleaners. Another more commonly known type of animal testing is the Draize testing method. The objective of this method is to determine the level of irritancy in a product or substance when used by humans. These tests are carried out on rabbits by dripping products into their eyes over a period of usually seven days. To stop them from struggling, rabbits are locked into stocks so they are unable to move. (Humane Education, 2008) The products tested in this manner are that of toiletries, cosmetics and other household products such as cleaning detergents. Irritancy tests like skin irritancy testing, tests personal toiletry products such as soap, shampoos, and body lotions etc. They are performed to determine the level or irritancy or reaction of substances applied to the skin. To carry out this procedure a patch on the animals skin is shaved off and slightly abraded and a substance is applied to the skin. (Humane Education, 2008) But are these cruel, invasive and inhumane methods really necessary when alternative methods are available? There have been almost fifty alternative methods to animal testing developed. Some of these alternative methods include in vitro test methods that are based on human call and tissue culture, computerised patient-drug databases and virtual drug trials, computer models and stimulations, stem call and genetic testing methods, non-invasive imaging techniques such as MRIs and CT Scans, microdosing which is when humans are given very low doses of a drug to test the effects on the body. (NEAVS, 2013) However, many ethical issues regarding Animal Research have arisen. Due to this, researchers have been urged to be guided by the three Rs principal, first described by Russell and Burch in 1959. They stand for Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. Replacement refers to the use of non-animal research such as in vitro, or computer modelling in the place of animals. Reduction is basically when

researchers use methods that mean they can still gather the results and information needed from experiments but by using less animals in the process. While refinement is when the severity of the methods are taken into account and the welfare of the animal is put first. An EU Directive called Directive 2010/63/EU has been put in place and is based solely on the 3Rs. It lays down minimum standard for housing and care, regulates the use of animals through a systematic project evaluation requiring inter alia assessment of pain, suffering distress and lasting harm caused to the animals [and] it requires regular risk-based inspections. (EU, 2013) There are many positive and negative aspects associated with Animal Research. Some people believe it is vitally important for the safety of humans and for the development of new medicines. Others, while seeing the benefit, also believe that the inhumane nature of Animal Research should become something of the past. It is the 21st Century after all, and with the vast improvement in technology and medical research as is, Animal Testing should really only be a last resort.