skin cells are one thing. There is nothing you can do to replace a fully functioning animal or Human to test effects. So many variables, Hormones, chemicals, heart rate, etc. Source below is from the UK http://www.pro-test.org.uk/2006/03/facts-about-animal-research.html
Without animal research, medicine as we know it today wouldn’t exist. Animal research has enabled us to find treatments for cancer, antibiotics for infections, vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly and debilitating viruses and surgery for injuries, illnesses and deformities.
According to the US based, Foundation for Biomedical Research: “Animal research has played a vital role in virtually every major medical advance of the last century - for both human and veterinary health. From antibiotics to blood transfusions, from dialysis to organ transplantation, from vaccinations to chemotherapy, bypass surgery and joint replacement, practically every present-day protocol for the prevention, treatment, cure and control of disease, pain and suffering is based on knowledge attained through research with lab animals
But animal research hasn’t benefited humans alone. Animals also have improved healthcare and a longer lifespan. Farm animals, household pets, wild species and endangered species are all benefiting from the research conducted through animals. There are vaccines for rabies, distemper, tetanus, parvo virus and numerous other illnesses in cats, dogs and countless other domesticated animals. Cats now have a treatment for Feline Leukemia. It’s obvious that animal research benefits all living species and that we are all able to live longer, healthier, happier lives because of it.
In fact, seven out of the ten most recent Nobel Prizes in medicine, were based on animal research. Here’s a link
citing a list of 71 of the Nobel Prizes won in the last 103 years using animal models, including what animal they used.Examples of the Benefits from Animal Research and the Animals Involved:Smallpox
(cow) has now been eradicated from earth, Polio
has been eradicated from North America and people in countries all over the world are being successfully treated (mouse and monkey). Insulin
is now able to help controldiabetes
(dog, fish). There are vaccines
(sheep), and rabies
(dog, rabbit). A short list, far from comprehensive, of some of the achievements made possible by medical research and the animal used to develop it
An understanding of the Malaria
lifecycle (pigeon), tuberculosis
(guinea pig, rat, mouse), and the function of neurons
The discovery of anticoagulants
(mouse), open heart surgery
and cardiac pacemakers
(rat, guinea pig), treatment for leprosy
(armadillo), organ transplantations
(dog, sheep, cow, pig), laproscopic surgical techniques
(pig), and a drug for AIDS treatment
(monkey)Number of Animals Used
The number of procedures and experiments involving animals in 2004 for the United Kingdom was exactly 2,854,944. The number of animals used is slightly less than this because some experiments used a particular animal more than once.
In the UK in 2004, the a wide variety of institutions used animal research. The percentages of each are as follows: universities (42.1 %); commercial organizations (33.3 %); non-profit organizations (4.9 %); government departments (2.4 %); National Health Service hospitals (0.9 %); public health laboratories (0.6 %); other public bodies (15.8 %).
The Types of Animals Used
The animals used for research in the United Kingdom must be specially bred by registered license holders. Research is not performed on stray animals or unwanted pets. This is strictly illegal. The use of chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas is also banned. The majority of research is conducted on rodents, with a smaller percentage using fish, reptiles, and birds. A very small percentage is conducted in larger mammals. The exact percentages for animals used in the UK in 2004 were
:84% Rats, mice and other rodents
. All specially bred laboratory species12% Fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds
(including many fertilised hen’s eggs)1% Small mammals other than rodents
, mostly rabbits and ferrets2.6% Sheep, cows, pigs and other large mammals
0.3% Dogs and cats
. Specially bred for research. No strays or unwanted pets can be used0.15% Monkeys, such as marmosets and macaques
. Chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas have not been used in this country for over 20 years and their use is now banned.Alternatives
One of the most common questions asked is why scientists don’t use alternatives to animals.
Living organisms are incredibly complex and scientists still only understand a very small fraction of the structures, chemicals, interactions and metabolic pathways in humans and animals. The only way for scientists to learn more about them is through organisms that possess these traits. That’s why animal research is so important for the future of medicine and the ability to treat and cure diseases.
What few people realize is that multiple tests involving cells, DNA, proteins, and in-vitro techniques are used in the initial stages of biomedical research. It’s only when a point is reached where no experimental model can be substituted for a living organism.
When working to learn new information in science, the process starts at the smallest level possible. This is often work done with DNA from cell lines or the proteins that cause disease. As scientists and researchers learn more about their topic, the level of complexity increases in the models they study. They may move on to bacterial cells, then mammalian (animal and human) cells, then into entire organs and eventually into animals. We don’t currently have the technology to make computer programs or other methods of replicating the intricate and highly sensitive models that an entire living animal provides us with.
So asking why alternatives aren’t used is a misleading question. The experiments used that aren’t performed in animals are complementary to the experiments performed in animals and help researchers understand the big picture of a disease or system.
If there are any methods that can be used before an animal to learn new information, British law dictates they must be used.Types of Animal Research
Animal research falls under three broad categories
1. Pure research
2. Applied research
3. Toxicology researchMedical Research Council
The Medical Research Council was established in 1913 in order to study diseases and illnesses and look for ways of treating or curing them.
As they explain in their informational booklet, they study diseases through multiple models to best understand the mechanisms involved in the health aspects they research, using humans, cell cultures and animals.
Thanks to the recent genomic revolution, sequencing of the human genome and many animal genomes, they now have a much greater understanding of which particular species share similar or different aspects of the human body, allowing animal research to become much more specific and targeted. It has enabled scientists to make educated decisions on which animals will serve as excellent models of varying diseases.
The MRC states that approximately 30% of their research uses animals and the remainder of studies conducted are in other models, like those listed above.