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Alternative methods to animal experimentation

​ If it is impossible to achieve the desired result, animal experiments must be replaced even in part with some other scientifically reliable method that does not require the use of an animal or with a method which allows reducing the total number of animals or the pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm caused to the animal concerned.

For educational and training purposes, living animals are often replaced by audio-visual technologies or developed diagnostic instrumentation and laboratory methods.
At the early stages of drug development, initial estimates on the effects of the new drug molecule at the cellular level may be based on advanced Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationship models (QSAR).
Bacterial cultures are used in testing drug or chemical mutagenicity.
Preliminary toxicity of substances on cellular and tissue level is studied on cell and tissue cultures.
Using living animals for toxicity testing of pharmaceuticals and in other chemical safety assessment is considered as the most difficult ethical issue in the research, even if the test results are beneficial for humans, animals and environment.
Safety tests have been developed since the 1980s by implementing the so-called alternative methods.
European organisation ECVAM (The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing) validate methods which reduce, refine or replace the use of animals for safety testing and efficacy/potency testing of chemicals, biological agents and vaccines.
Some alternative methods have already been approved and they have replaced animal testing in various research institutes.
Safety Tests of Cosmetic Ingredients
EU Directive prohibits, in general, the use of animals in the safety testing of cosmetic ingredients.
Moreover, EU countries are forbidden to import cosmetic products that have been tested by using living animals. Products for daily hygiene are also included to the group of cosmetic products.
Statistical information on the use of animals in experiments in Europe have been collected by the authorities since 1985 and, according to the statistics, no vertebrate animals were used in Finland for safety testing of cosmetic ingredients.
 
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