Supporters of animal experimentation accuse animal rights advocates of hindering scientific progress. But the truth is that it’s the other way around—thanks to advances in technology, there is no longer any excuse to drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes or make rats impotent in studies that will prove useless to human health in the long run.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, acting commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, weighs in on the debate. "Consider just one stark statistic: Today, nine out of 10 compounds developed in the lab fail in human studies. They fail, in large part because they behave differently in people than they did in animal or laboratory tests."
Effective, affordable, and humane research methods include studies of human populations, volunteers, and patients as well as sophisticated in vitro, genomic, and computer-modeling techniques. These methods usually take less time to complete, cost only a fraction of what testing on animals would cost, and are not plagued with species differences that make extrapolation difficult or impossible—all this, without hurting animals.
Similarly, there are now hundreds of companies that take pride in their cruelty-free products, and the best schools in the world no longer use animals in their laboratories. You help animals every time you exercise your right to choose—whether it’s in the grocery store or in science class.