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Animal-free research


The difference between animals and men is that big, that results of animal experiments can not reliably be transferred to human beings. In research based on animal experiments it is assumed that the complex illness- and healing processes of man could be imitated by so called »animal models«, which means animals who have been made ill artificially. Important factors of the origin of illness like nutrition, habits of living, drugs like cigarettes and alcohol, environmental influences, stress and psychic or social factors are not taken into account in this way of research.

Due to this methodically wrong starting-point, animal experiments were not benificial for the treatment of the so called civilization-illness of man, including cardio-vascular diseaes, cancer, diabetes, rheumatic arthritis and allergies. Also animal experiments are not able to protect the consumer from damages caused by chemicals and drugs. Today a lot of so called in vitro methods are available, test methods which are carried out in a test-tube and thus do not use living animals. These innovative methods of research deliver - in contrast to the animal experiment - reliable, easily reproducable results, and besides these tests are more sensitive, cheaper and faster than tests on the living animal.

Examples for methods of research without animal experiments:

Cells and cultured cells

  • The EPISKIN ®- test with artificial, human skin makes it possible to assess how the skin reacts to corrosive effects and chemicals on the skin. This examination is normally carried out on rabbits or guineapigs.
  • Adding carcinogenical substances to normal cells leads an unnormal growth of these cells. This is how substances that can cause cancer can be detected in the transformation test.
  • Monoclonal antibodies are substances of the immune system which are used in many fields of research and diagnostic. Instead of the extremely cruel production in the peritoneal cavity of mice, biological reactors (like the glass mouse or tecno mouse) can be used for production.
  • With the PyroCheck test fever triggering substances (pyrogenes) can be tracked down in serums and infusion solutions by using human white blood cells. So far, the test was carried out on rabbits.
  • The human cornea with all its layers can be copied three-dimensional in the test tube e.g. to test ointments (»artificial cornea »).
  • With nerve cell cultures you can examine the release of neuro-transmitters (carrier substances) as well as their pharmacological effect. By this, drugs in the field of Parkinson´s disease, epilepsy and pain research can be tested.
  • Cell cultures of arteries which occur as debris in operations can be used in the arteriosclerosis research. This way, causes and treatment of vascular diseases can be examined.
  • Cultured heart muscle cells keep their contraction ability, even in a test-tube. With their help, physiological interrelations and the effect of heart drugs can be tested.

Incubated eggs

Instead of the cruel Draize test, where the substances are dripped into rabbit´s eyes to check the irritant effect of chemicals and cosmetic products, hen´s eggs can be used. With the HET-CAM-TEST, the test substance is dripped onto the membrane of the fine blood vessels of an incubated egg and the reaction can be watched.

Bacteria

With the Ames test using Salmonella bacteria, researchers can detect genetically harmful features of chemicals.

Computer systems

Screening with computer models is used to selsct and discard potential ineffective or toxic substances. By this method, animal experiments are not involved in finding new drugs.
Relevant findings within the field of the human-medical research can be won directly on human patients with modern, computer based imaging (tomography) showing organs in three-dimensional pictures. Imaging areas of the human brain during a certain brain performances is a useful research method in brain research.

Human based research

A lot of medical disciplines do not use animals and give - contrary to animal research - really relevant results for human beings, including:
Epidemiology, preventive treatment or precautionary medicine, clinical and rehabilitation research, psychotherapy, occupational and social medicine as well as natural healing. In toxicology (poison tests) it is more sensible, too, to use data of human poisoning cases instead of poisoning animals. Only documentation and analysis of real poisoning cases of human beings must be used for risk assessment. For example, symptoms like headache, dizziness or impaired concentration can be caused by substances, symptoms which can never be assessed in animal experiments.

Why are animal experiments still carried out?

Considering that animl experiments are useless and the in vitro research is developing rapidly, we have to ask ourselves why many animals still have to suffer and die in experiments. There are severel reasons:

  • In science, the outdated animal experiment has been established as a method of choice.
  • An enormous amount of research funds is poured into the animal experiment research.
  • In the world of science, researcher can only create a distinctive personal image for themselves by a long list of publication in peer review journals.
  • Animal experiments are common when persuing a university career e.g. writing one's doctoral thesis.
  • Animal experiments satisfy the scientific curiosity, the urge to discover the nature and their phenomenons into greatest detail.
  • Animal experiments have an alibi function for the pharmaceutical industry, as they can protect them from claims for compensation.
  • The finanicial support of research methods without the animal experiment is totally inadequate.
  • A method without animal experiment is only officially recognized, if their results concur with the ones of the corresponding animal experiment (so called validation). The animal experiment itself though has never been validated. It only has been and still is simply accepted by the scientists, although the results of the animal experiment are inaccurate, not reliably reproducible and can not be transferred on the human situation. The quality of new, more sensible test systems is therefore compared with a bad, outdated method. So really useful in vitro systems have only got a small chance of ever being recognized officially.