Alternatives‌ ‌to‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Testing‌

There are multiple alternatives to animal testing that yield equally reliable and valuable results for these essential industries.

Whether it’s in the drug industry or the beauty industry, the helpful and successful products you see lining shelves often have a secret: they were produced through rounds of animal testing.

It’s a component of product development that isn’t often publicized and for a good reason. Although products such as these need to be tested before they’re declared fit for human consumption and use, it’s often at the expense of innocent animals. 

At the least, these creatures are inconvenienced but often are terribly harmed in the production of products we use every day.

It isn’t easy to draw the line in value judgments. Looking at the good that medications and products can do for people can cause you to wonder about the morality and necessity of animal testing. However, while it’s important for products to go through testing before hitting the shelves, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of animals.

Instead, there are multiple alternatives to animal testing that yield equally reliable and valuable results for these essential industries.

Volunteer Studies

In many cases, specific products need to be tested to prove claims by the manufacturer that aren’t health-related. In the cases of many beauty products, volunteer studies are the perfect way to substantiate the claims of product benefits without subjecting animals to testing.

Even for certain medications, volunteer studies and trials are an essential part of the testing process. These studies can surpass the benefits of animal testing because, unlike animals, humans can communicate what they are thinking and how they are feeling.

If a product impacts a person’s health or well-being, they are easily able to communicate that. Animals, on the other hand, aren’t able to explain to us the kind of pain they are in or what their needs are. 

Likewise, animals can’t consent to testing involvement. People who know the risks and are interested in the product and what it claims to do can commit themselves to much more ethical testing procedures than those carried out on animals.

Human Tissues

In testing cases that could prove too dangerous for live human subjects, human tissues may be used as a successful substitute. In this case, human subjects can donate tissues from any number of organs or areas of the body.

This is an advantageous alternative to animal testing because it bypasses the use of live subjects altogether. Furthermore, it’s much easier to acquire tissue samples to match the testing needs of the product. 

For example, in testing a medication for liver tumors, liver tumor tissue can be used directly to measure the impact. This can yield more accurate results than those acquired in animal testing, as animal DNA and anatomy obviously differs from that of humans and cannot accurately predict or model the effects of product usage entirely.

Other Cell Cultures

For experiments that need to be conducted on a greater scale than can be achieved with small pieces of human tissue, cell cultures grown specifically for testing are an excellent alternative.

In this case, cells can be cultured from both human and animal donors and then grown into larger-scale replicas of human organs and tissue groups. These 3D structures and miniature models of organs and body parts are a safe and reliable way to test products that could harm living creatures.

Computer Models 

As technology becomes more and more advanced, it becomes more and more feasible to conduct product testing through specifically written software and programs. Many models already exist which can accurately predict functions of human organs and body systems. These models already outdo the results of animal testing.

These virtual experiments would be far preferred to animal or even live volunteer testing because it decreases the risk of adverse effects on live creatures. Software and programs can be easily altered and tweaked to adjust to the details of a specific regimen of testing, and they can be likewise changed to reflect new findings and directions in research. 

Final Thoughts

Product testing is an important phase in the process of bringing innovative and needed products to the market in both the medicine and beauty industries. However, there are plenty of more ethical and compassionate ways to achieve progress.

Many of these alternative models are already in practice for other types of short-term testing. Replacing animal testing with any of these means will help ensure that we can test products more reliably and accurately and take responsibility for our fellow creatures instead of taking advantage of them.


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