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Studies questioning the relevance of animal experimentation are increasingly appearing in prestigious scientific journals. Written by experts, published in highly respected scientific journals, they support our argumentation with valid facts and give considerable weight to the criticism of animal experimentation. In this section, you will find a selection of the most remarkable studies that criticise animal experiments. At this point, we would also like to refer to our scientific WIST congresses on the poor validity of animal experiments in 2016 and 2018. You can view the statements and original presentations of the top-class international speakers here >> (Text in German, YouTube-links to presentations in English).

In order of publication (most recent to least recent)

Publication bias leads to more animal testing

8th October 2023

The article addresses the “animal methods bias” in publishing: a preference for animal-based methods or even a request for them, which affects the likelihood of a manuscript being accepted for publication. Read more >>

Krebs, C.E. et al.: A survey to assess animal methods bias in scientific publishing. ALTEX 2023; 40(4): 665–676

Speeding up vaccine development thanks to fewer animal studies

15th August 2022

Using an extensive literature review and expert interviews, the authors examine why the development of the Pfizer/BioNTech Corona vaccine has been much faster than usual vaccine development. Read more >>

Ritskes-Hoitinga M. et al. The promises of speeding up: Changes in requirements for animal studies and alternatives during COVID-19 vaccine approval – A case study. Animals 2022; 12(13):1735

Poor reproducibility of animal test results confirmed in animal studies

10th August 2022

A study published in May 2022 in the journal PLOS Biology attests animal experiments poor reproducibility, i.e. repeatability. This means that the results even from identically designed animal experiments can be completely different. In order to find out, animal experiments on fear behaviour were performed on mice. Read more >> 

von Kortzfleisch VT et al. Do multiple experimenters improve the reproducibility of animal studies? PLOS Biology 2022; 20(5): e3001564 

Systematic reviews highlight limitations of animal testing in drug development

28th July 2022

Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga and Pandora Pound examine the importance of systematic reviews of animal studies and conclude that even if all animal studies were supposedly optimized, species differences hinder a reliable, safe translation of results to humans. Read more >>

Ritskes-Hoitinga M, Pound P. The role of systematic reviews in identifying the limitations of preclinical animal research, 2000 – 2022. JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the history of treatment evaluation 2022

Tuberous sclerosis: "Mouse models" mislead; important insights from human mini-brains

22th February2022

The search for the root cause of tuberous sclerosis, a neurodevelopmental disorder, has so far been conducted primarily in "mouse models." A study using mini-brains from patients now challenges those findings. Read more >>

Eichmüller LO et al. Amplification of human interneuron progenitors promotes brain tumors and neurological defects. Science 2022; 375(6579): eabf5546

Organ chip technology could reduce development costs of up to $700 million per drug

13th March 2021

The estimated reduction in costs would be primarily achieved by the highly increased predictivity of organ chips compared to animal testing, which would result in lower failure rates during the clinical phases. Read more >>

Franzen N et al. Impact of organ-on-a-chip technology on pharmaceutical R&D costs. Drug Discovery Today 2019; 24: 1720-1724

Cancer research efficiency and funding

23th November 2020

The success rate for cancer drugs is less than 4%; this rate has not changed significantly over 15 years. Read more >>

Marshall LJ et al. Patient-Derived Xenograft vs. Organoids: A Preliminary Analysis of Cancer Research Output, Funding and Human Health Impact in 2014–2019. Animals 2020; 10 (1923); doi:10.3390/ani10101923

Poor predictive value of animal testing in drug development

08th June 2020

Authors Lisa A. Kramer and Ray Greek describe the multiple problems for both patients and the pharmaceutical industry caused by poor predictive power of animal testing and offer potential solutions, for which legislative changes are needed. Read more >> 

Kramer LA, Greek R. Human stakeholders and the use of animals in drug development. Business and Society Review 2018; 123: 3-58

The unreliability of animal testing and its resulting harm to humans

08th January2019

American neurologist and preventive medicine and public health specialist Dr Aysha Akhtar sheds light on the problem of translatability of animal experimental data and its resulting harm. Read more >>

Akhtar A. The flaws and human harms of animal experimentation. Cambridge Quarterly Healthcare Ethics 2015; 24: 407-419

Animal studies on type 2 diabetes

23th October 2018

The authors of a 2018 study published in the journal ATLA discuss the limited translatability of "animal models" to humans in type 2 diabetes research and argue for a shift to human-based research methods. Read more >>  

Ali Z et al.  Animal Research for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Its Limited Translation for Clinical Benefit, and the Way Forward. ATLA 2018; 46: 13-22 

Limited predictive value of drug side effects from animal studies

11th June 2018

The predictability of animal test results with regard to serious side effects after drugs are launched on the market is only 19%, a Dutch study finds. Read more >>

van Meer PJK et al. The ability of animal studies to detect serious post marketing adverse events is limited. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 2012: 64(3); 345-349

Every third drug harms people

1st September 2017

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 71 of 222, or 32%, of new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2001 and 2010 showed safety concerns, and thus should have to be marked or be withdrawn from the market due to unexpected side effects. Read more >>

Downing N.S. et al. Postmarket safety events among novel therapeutics approved by US Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2010. JAMA 2017: 317(18); 1854-1863

Thalidomide: one of the saddest examples of the inadequacy of animal testing

3rd May 2017

This article, published in 2011, addresses the question of whether animal testing is a useful method, taking thalidomide as a historical example. Read more >>

Greek R et al. The History and Implications of Testing Thalidomide on Animals. The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law 2011: 11; 1-32

Deep brain stimulation (brain pacemaker) - not an achievement from animal experiments

23th December 2016

A review paper by Vittorio Sironi, Milan (Italy), published in 2011 in the journal Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, sheds light on the history of the development of deep brain stimulation. Read more >>

Sirioni VA. Origin and evolution of deep brain stimulation. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 2011: 5(42); 1-5

Chilled mice further distort already questionable animal test results

26th July 2016

In the journal Physiology in 2014, a paper evaluates whether keeping mice "chilled" by default in the lab, i.e., below their "comfort temperature", plays a role in the translatability of animal experiment’s results to humans. Read more >> 

Maloney SK et al. Translating Animal Model Research: Does It Matter That Our Rodents Are Cold? Physiology. 2014: 29, 413-420

Normalizing the unthinkable

22nd April 2016

A report from the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Working Group. The deliberate and routine abuse (infliction of harm, pain and suffering, trafficking, and death) of innocent animals capable of suffering should be unthinkable. However, animal experimentation is just that: the normalization of the unthinkable. Read more >>

Normalising the Unthinkable: The ethics of using animals in research. A report by the working group of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Edited by Andrew & Clair Linzley. Commissioned by The BUAV and Cruelty Free International. 2015

Taxpayer’s money wasted on basic research

29th April 2016

A 2014 article in The Lancet focuses on the waste of money in basic research. According to this evaluation, the "success rate" for clinical applications from basic biomedical research is 0.024%. Read more >>

Chalmers I et al. Research: increasing value, reducing waste 1: How to increase value and reduce waste when research priorities are set. The Lancet 2014: 383 (9912); 156–165, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62229-1 

No clinical relevance of approved animal experiments after 17 years

24th March 2016

Even after 17 years, there is no evidence that 17 animal experimentation projects from Bavaria have led to any clinical implementation. Read more >>

Lindl T, Völkl M. No clinical relevance of approved animal experiments after seventeen years. ALTEX 2011: 28; 242-243

Monkey brain experiments groundless and misleading

12th April 2016

A publication attests to the lack of benefit of monkey brain research and recommends that clinical research focusing on humans be conducted to yield relevant findings. Read more >>

Bailey J., Taylor K. Non-human Primates in Neuroscience Research: The Case Against its Scientific Necessity. ATLA 2016: 44, 43-69

The barriers to the application of human-based methods

24th March 2016

...and how to overcome them. Archibald et al. provide an overview of the reasons why animal testing continues despite the existence of non-animal methods. Read more >>

Archibald K et al. Barriers to the Uptake of Human-based Test Methods and How to Overcome Them. ATLA 2015: 43; 301-308

Animal testing for asthma is a flop

13th January 2016

An article published in the journal Drug Discovery Today in 2011 highlights the shortcomings of animal-based asthma research. Read more >>

Buckland GL. Harnessing opportunities in non-animal asthma research for a 21st-century science. Drug Discovery Today 2011: 16 (21-22); 914-927

Animal testing for Alzheimer’s is a misguided approach

09th December 2015

An article published in 2014 in the journal Drug Discovery Today concludes that standard mouse experiments on Alzheimer's disease are medically unsuccessful, and significant discoveries and therapies have been made without animal testing. Read more >>

Langley GR. Considering a new paradigm for Alzheimer´s disease research. Drug Discovery Today 2014: 19(8), 1114-1124

"Animal models" do not provide reliable information for clinical trials

21st September 2015

According to the authors of a study published in 2010 in the journal PlosMedicine, the utility of animal studies for predicting therapeutic options in the clinic remains controversial. Read more >>

Van der Worp BH et al. Can Animal Models of Disease Reliably Inform Human Studies? PlosMedicine 2010: 7; e10000245

Clinical failure rate increased: 95%

15th September 2015

The failure rate of animal testing in drug trials is even higher today than it was 10 years ago. Read more here >>, here >> and here >>

Aspirin severely harmful to animals, but not to humans

4th August 2015

Aspirin is one of the best known and oldest painkillers on the market. In 2009, renowned toxicologist Thomas Hartung published that this drug probably would not have made it to market approval if animal testing had been standard back then as it is today. Read more >>

Hartung T. Per aspirin ad astra. ATLA 2009 (37): 45-47

Imaging as a non-animal brain research method

04th August 2015

Brain research covers a wide space in animal experimentation. In 2015, we came across an interesting publication from 2000. Back then, scientists were already highlighting studies using imaging methods such as MRI, EEG, TMS or PET and research results from animal experiments. Read more >>

Langley G et al. Volunteer Studies Replacing Animal Experiments in Brain Research; ATLA 2000 (28), 315-331

The mouse is a "lousy model" for human immune research

29th July 2015

Mice are the most commonly used "experimental" animals. A 2008 article in the journal Immunity highlights criticisms of the so-called mouse model for human immune research. Read more >>

Davis MM. A Prescription for Human Immunology. Immunity 2008 (29): 835-838

Results from cancer research based on animal studies are misleading

29th July 2015

As early as 2005, in an article published in the British Medical Journal, the authors conclude that it is not animal testing that would reduce the problem of high cancer rates in society, but the development and application of rapid and reliable non-animal methods. Read more >>

Knight A et al. Which drugs cause cancer? BMJ USA 2005 (5), 479

Criticism on animal testing in the era of personalized medicine

25th February 2015

The authors of the study critically question animal testing in the era of "personalized" medicine. Using animals as "models" for the basic research on human diseases ignores the fundamental principles of personalized medicine. Read more >>

Greek R et al. Animal models in an age of personalized medicine. Personalized Medicine 2012: 9 (1), 47-64

ALS research on mice pointless

20th October 2014

According to an evaluation published in 2014 in Nature, there is no therapy in sight for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) despite decades of animal research. Read more >>

S. Perrin. Make mouse studies work. Nature 2014: 507; 423-425

Animal experiments for Alzheimer's fail across the board

08th August 2014

There is a huge gap between the results of animal studies for Alzheimer's disease research, and treatment and clinical reality. This is the conclusion of a recent review paper by American scientists published in the journal ALTEX. Read more >>

Sarah E. Cavanaugh, John J. Pippin, Neal D. Barnard. Animal Models of Alzheimer Disease: Historical pitfalls and a path forward. ALTEX 2014: 31(3), 279-302

Mice cannot smell men: Animal test results useless

19th June 2014

A study published in the journal Nature Methods in 2014 concludes that rodents exposed to male experimenters develop such stress reactions that the results are even more falsified. The stress influences the animals in such a way that they avoid showing pain. Read more >>

Mogil S. et al. Olfactory exposure to males, including men, causes stress and related analgesia in rodents. Nature Methods, 2014: 11, 629–632, DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2935

Study proves: No evidence of alleged benefits of animal testing

12th June 2014

According to the authors of a study published in 2014 in the British Medical Journal, there is a lack of evidence for the benefits of animal testing, and money invested in research involving animal experiments is being withheld from research that is meaningful to physicians and patients. Read more >>

Pound P, Bracken MB. How predictive and productive is animal research? BMJ 2014; 348:g3719

Risk of animal experimentation: Falsified studies in biomedicine mislead benefits

27th March 2014

Most drugs that work in tests on mice do not benefit humans. This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Science in 2013. Read more >>

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel. When mice mislead. Science 2013: 342; 922-925

Research on Multiple Sclerosis: animal experiments are a proven aberration

26th February 2014

A study published in 2014 by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) shows that animal experiments in Multiple Sclerosis research are misguided. Even within different animal "models" of MS a lack of translatability is shown and they react completely contrary to humans. Read more >>

Raddatz BBR et al. Transcriptomic Meta-Analysis of Multiple Sclerosis and Its Experimental Models. PLOS ONE 2014: 9, e86643

Animal experiments for Alzheimer's inefficient

13th December 2013

This scientific study suggests that animal studies for Alzheimer's are not transferable to humans. The researchers conclude that studies on human neurons are more useful and present a corresponding study model in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Read more >>

Mertens J et al. APP Processing in Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons Is Resistant to NSAID-Based y-Secretase Modulation. Stem Cell Reports 2013: 1(6); 491-498

Sick research: Animals as "models" for human mental illness

8th October 2013

An article in the medical journal Psychiatric Times highlights animal studies used in psychiatric research and concludes that they are not appropriate for studying human mental illness. Read more >>

Andre Menache. Are Animal Models Relevant in Modern Psychiatry. Psychiatric Times 29: 3, 2012

Huge differences between humans and mice

18th February 2013

A team of 39 scientists from 20 U.S. and Canadian research institutions published an extensive study in 2013 PNAS journal that determines mice and humans respond completely differently to inflammatory processes and other injuries. Read more >>

Seok J et al. Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases. PNAS 2013: 110(9); 3507-3512

Animal studies fail to predict human responses

17th January 2013

A study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences reconfirms that animal test results are not translatable to humans. According to their analysis, the authors conclude that even through improved standardization of "animal models," they are not suitable to predict human responses to drugs and other substances. Read more >>

Greek R, Menache A. Systematic Reviews of Animal Models: Methodology versus Epistemology. International Journal of Medical Sciences 2013: 10; 206-221

New study attests to poor quality of animal experiments

8. February 2009

A recent study once again attests to weak points in animal experimental research. The study, published at the end of November 2009 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, reveals an unclean and incomplete methodology in the planning and execution of animal experiments, as well as in the evaluation of the data and presentation of the results. Read more >>

Kilkenny C. et al. Survey of the Quality of Experimental Design, Statistical Analysis and Reporting of Research Using Animals. PLoS ONE 4(11): e7824, 2009 

"Animal models" fail to predict adverse effects for humans

29th January 2009

A scientific study published in 2009 shows that so-called "animal models" cannot predict potential risks to humans. The result proves that humans and animals as well as different animal species show only insufficient consistent reactions among each other. Read more >>

Shanks N. et al. Are animal models predictive for humans? Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 4:2, 2009

"We are not 70 kg rats"

11th September 2009

In Nature (2009), toxicologist Hartung criticizes the current practice of toxicology testing especially in the context of the EU chemical testing program REACH and points out strategies for a toxicology of the 21st century. Read more >>

Thomas Hartung. Toxicology for the twenty-first century. Nature, Vol. 460, 9 July 2009, 208- 212

Animal testing under attack

12th November 2008

In 2006, the renowned science journal Nature ran the headline "Animal experiments under fire for poor planning". The critical article was based on a recent study by British scientists. Read more >>

Perel P. et al. Comparison of treatment effects between animal experiments and clinical trials: systematic review. BMJ 334(7586); 197; 2007

Conditions under which animals are kept falsify animal experiment results

12th November 2008

The standard conditions under which rats, mice and other rodents are kept cause physical and psychological stress to the animals, which is why the use of animals for experimental purposes must generally be questioned for ethical and scientific reasons. Read more >>

Balcombe J. Laboratory Environments and Rodents' Behavioral Needs: A Review. Laboratory Animals, 2006, 40(3), 217-235

No implementation in human medicine after 10 years

12th August 2008

Animal experimentation in biomedical research - a review of the clinical relevance of approved animal experimentation projects: No evident implementation in human medicine within 10 years. Read more (in German) >>

Lindl T, Völkel M and Kolar R. Animal experiments in biomedical research. An evaluation of the clinical relevance of approved animal experimental projects: No evident implementation in human medicine within 10 years [Article in German]”, ALTEX 2005, 22(3), pp. 143–151

Where is the evidence that animal testing benefits humans?

12th November 2008

British scientists have found that the results of animal experiments often show no relevance to humans. They are calling for a review of animal research, questioning the benefits of animal testing for humans in general. Read more >>

Pound P. et al. Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans? BMJ 2004; 328:514–7

Touching alone induces stress in laboratory animals

12th November 2008

The scientific study proves that the even the normal handling of laboratory animals has a considerable influence on the results of animal experiments. Mere touching already causes strong stress symptoms in mice. Read more >>

Balcombe J. et al. Laboratory Routines Cause Animal Stress. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science 2004, 43, 42-51 

Considered unimportant by experts

12th November 2008

A literature search conducted at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, examined the citation frequency of 594 animal experimental studies over a ten-year period. Approximately 94 percent of the papers were cited less than 100 times over ten years, meaning they were considered unimportant by the scientific community. Read more >>

Dagg AI, Seidle TK. Levels of citation of nonhuman animal studies conducted at a Canadian Research Hospital. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2004; 7, 205-213

Suffering underestimated

12th November 2008

51 animal experiment applications approved in Bavaria between 1991 and 1993 were analysed, among others with regard to what extent the distress for the animals in the experiment really corresponded to the information given in the experiment application. Two-thirds of the applicants estimated the burden on the animals too low, none too high. Read more >>

Lindl T et al. Evaluation von genehmigten tierexperimentellen Versuchsvorhaben in Bezug auf das Forschungsziel, den wissenschaftlichen Nutzen und die medizinische Relevanz [in German]. Altex 2001; 18 (3); 171-178