Although medical research charities are focussed on eliminating animal testing completely, a significant amount of work continues to be undertaken to arrive at this conclusion.
With the onus on finding alternative solutions for medical research, it appears that many of the different options that have developed within the scientific community are actually complementary to a proportion of the already established animal testing procedures which really is an extremely detrimental factor.
So what is the way forward? Is non-animal research possible? It seems that as toxicity and efficacy testing is standardised replacing them with non animal alternatives ought to be fairly straightforward. However, this category is just a tiny part of the whole issue as the testing of non-medical products which are used in agriculture, industry and domestic environments only accounts for just 3% of animal procedures. Furthermore, only one tenth of the animals are used in the development of new medicines.
In contrast to this, approximately 32% of animal procedures are categorised as fundamental research which means that the obstacles to substitution are more immense.
Another way to replace the use of animals is to enhance how information is used. This could be accomplished by use of epidemiological studies which, on some occasions, could avoid animal testing. This also implies that researchers can avoid repeating experiments as the information is already in existence.
Although the scientific issues that arise from animal experimentation are confronted in biomedical research, they are more variable and challenging and therefore often produce unpredictable results. This is because living organisms consist of various cell types which produce a considerable array of responses, functions and reactions within.
Whether or not the scientific approach has been fuelled by the ethical argument of non animal research, is a factor that continues to be unresolved. Until further investigations are carried out and the various scientific technologies such as stem cell culture, computer modelling, proteomics and brain research continue to develop it seems as though a degree of animal research and testing is likely to prevail.