Why is Animal Testing Still Widely Used in Federally Funded Labs?

Animal testing is a bummer.

It looks like a lot of companies are still using animals for lab testing. This is despite the fact that many companies in testing industries have said that they aren’t using animal testing. Boo.

Here is a breakdown of the current discussion:

A team of people that work for PETA reported that there was about a 72 percent “increase in the number of animals being used in federally funded labs between 1997 and 2012.” The increase was mostly seen with mice. Here are the numbers reported in the Journal of Medical Ethics:

“The average number of lab animals used in a year rose from 74,619 to 128,846 over those 15 years.”

The study found that the majority of experiments that use mice concern gene modification. The data that was analyzed in the report was retrieved from species inventories found in the Animal Welfare Assurances that are “filed at least once every four years by NIH-funded institutions.”

While the study found that fewer “higher” animals (think cats, dogs, and chimpanzees) were used, other “lower” animals (rats, mice, and fish) are being used at a higher frequency. These “lower” animals still feel stress and pain, too, though. Also: mice, rats, and fish have “complex social and emotional cognitive lives.” To me, that news is heartbreaking.

The NIH disagrees with a portion of the above report, however. According to NBC News, the NIH says that while the numbers that were taken from the Animal Welfare Assurances are accurate, they do not accurately reflect the actual number of animals that are used in research studies. For that reason, the NIH does “not support the rationale and conclusions of the study.” Hmm.

What are your thoughts on animal testing? Are you against it? Do you think it’s necessary for scientific endeavors? It’s an incredibly complicated subject – we know – but we’d love to hear your opinions.

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Image: Mark Bray

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.