World Day for Animals in Laboratories: Save Our Monkeys urges use of alternatives instead of primates in experiments

24/04/2014

April 24th is World Day for Animals in Laboratories, an international event to commemorate the millions of animals who suffer and die in laboratories around the world. Save Our Monkeys is using this important day to highlight the wide range of alternatives available that can replace animals in experiments. We are calling on the Mauritius Government to adopt the use of these humane techniques and not allow primates and other animals to suffer in cruel tests with the introduction of the Pre-Clinical Research Bill. 

Alternative methods are becoming big business with a market value estimated to be worth over 17 billion dollars by 2018. Due to advances in technology, there is a wide range of more human-relevant approaches to studying, understanding and ultimately contributing to the cure of many diseases.  And with the highest ever drug failure rate in human trials (96%)  because they are not safe or do not work, even though they have ‘passed’ animals tests, we believe there is no excuse for the continued testing on primates or other animals to continue.

There are a number of exciting developments in alternatives which are already saving animals’ lives. Such methods include growing human cells and tissues in the laboratory (‘in vitro’ or ‘test-tube’ techniques); scanning and imaging human patients; studies in the clinic and of human populations; computer and mathematical models.

Examples include:

Microdosing shows great promise to revolutionize drug development and predictive drug toxicology. By administering an extremely small dose (approximately 1% of the estimated pharmacological dose) of a potential new drug to human volunteers, important and predictive human-specific data can be obtained, with no need for animal data

‘Human body on a chip’ technology (known as ‘microfluidics’) enables the effects of new drugs to be analysed on major human tissues that are grown on the chip, and that have a circulatory system between them, as they do in a human body.