Q: Is there a circumstance when it is appropriate to use the word alternative when referring to nonanimal based modalities?

YES. Seven out of the nine main accepted ways animals are used in science are scientifically viable, as outlined below. Our concern is solely with the first 2 categories, highlighted in red, which are not valid uses and fail human patients. The remaining 7 categories are viable, for which there are more efficient, less expensive human-biology based methods which can correctly be referred to as ‘alternatives’, because the original did actually work in the first place.

Animals are used in science today in at least nine different ways:

  1. 1. Animals are used as predictive models of humans for research into such diseases as cancer and AIDS.
  2. 2. Animals are used as predictive models of humans for testing drugs or other chemicals.
  3. 3. Animals are used as “spare parts”, such as when a person receives an aortic valve from a pig.
  4. 4. Animals are used as bioreactorsor factories, such as for the production of insulin or monoclonal antibodies, or to maintain the supply of a virus.
  5. 5. Animals and animal tissues are used to study basic physiological principles.
  6. 6. Animals are used in education to educate and train medical students and to teach basic principles of anatomy in high school biology classes.
  7. 7. Animals are used as a modality for ideas or as a heuristic device, which is a component of basic science research.
  8. 8. Animals are used in research designed to benefit other animals of the same species or breed.
  9. 9. Animals are used in research in order to gain knowledge for knowledge sake.

← FAQs