So what is animal testing?
Photographer : id
Each year, over a million animals around Australia are being used in tests for the purpose of science. But, is this a good thing or bad thing? Well, animal testing has definitely been of benefit to both humans and animals in the past, however, there are concerns about the pain an animal may suffer as a result of tests and the impact generally to animal welfare.
There are three main types of animal testing:
1. Product testing
—animals are used to test the safety of products for consumption. Typically, these are linked to cosmetic testing, such as makeup and soap and stuff like that.
—tests are performed for advancements in medicine and science, such as experiments with new drugs.
3. Education and training
—these tests range from a high school dissection of a frog to training medical students at Uni.
Why do some people support testing?
Why do some people disapprove of testing?
- Animals are used to test stuff instead of us humans.
- Animal testing is considered the best way to trial new products and drugs, and to effectively train medical students.
- People support testing because it has helped save the lives of millions of humans and animals. Many new drugs for humans and animals, such as anesthetics, antibiotics, antiseptics and vaccines, are the result of testing.
What is the law on animal testing in Australia?
- They believe testing is cruel to animals—that we don’t have the right to jab needles into them.
- Many tests result in pain, suffering and even death of the animal.
- They believe that animal testing is no longer necessary because there are many alternatives to it.
Animal testing is legal in Australia but there are laws to ensure the protection of animal welfare. Each state and territory has different laws covering animal testing, but all require testing to be approved by an authority and meet certain requirements.
The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes is the basis for all practices and procedures in Australia. The code ensures that animal testing is:
What is being done to reduce testing?
People have been trying to reduce, or entirely get rid of, the use of animals in science for many years. In 1959 British researchers Russell and R. Burch created the ‘three R’s:
- Replacement—to totally or partially replace the use of animals with non-living materials
- Reduction—to reduce the number of animals used to obtain the information needed by researchers
- Refinement—to decrease the pain and suffering of procedures to animals that still have to be used.
Applying the three R’s in laboratories in Australia is a requirement outlined in the Code of Practice.
An alternative test is anything that reduces the pain that animals feel, the number of animals used or stops using animals altogether. For information about what types of alternatives tests there are, go to Alternatives to Animal Testing on the Web at http://altweb.jhsph.edu/.
What is happening now?
How do I know this?
- A Senate inquiry was announced in June 2005 after the Democrats Senator, Andrew Bartlett, introduced the Nation Animal Welfare Bill (NAW).
- The purpose of the NAW is to ‘promote humane, responsible and accountable care, protection and use of domestic animals, livestock, wildlife and animals kept for scientific purposes, and the standards required to achieve this end, and for related purposes’. This bill may lead to a national law, instead of a code, that promotes humane treatment of animals and a standard of care and use for testing.
Alternatives to Animal testing on the Web, FAQs, http://altweb.jhsph.edu/education/FAQs.htm#question01.
Animal Liberation, Drug testing, http://www.animalliberation.org.au/drugs1.html.
Baker, R 2005, ‘Sacrificed for science’, The Age, June 25.
Choose Cruelty Free, Animal Testing, http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au/tests.html.
National Health and Medical Research Council 2004, Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, 7th ed, NHMRC, http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/_files/ea16.pdf.
NSW Agriculture 2003, ‘Three R’s’, Animal Ethics Infolink, http://www.animalethics.org.au/reader/arrp-3rs.
Osborn, A 2002, ‘Deal to ban cosmetics animal tests blemished, say critics’, The Guardian, November 9, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/08/10363084...
People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals, Animal Testing 101, http://www.stopanimaltests.com/animalTesting101.asp.