Alternatives to Animal Experiments: Time to Focus on Replacement

Michael Balls


AATEX 12(2):145-154, 2007

The importance of the Three Rs concept of Russell and Burch is discussed, and it is argued that, while reduction and refinement can offer significant gains in terms of animal welfare and the quality of the data obtained from animal experiments, only replacement can provide a satisfactory escape from the high fidelity fallacy which underlies the inadequacy of animal procedures, not only in fundamental research on human diseases, but in particular, in the testing of chemicals, drugs and other chemical products in support of the enhancement and protection of human health. Some reasons for encouragement are discussed, but some current causes for concern are also identified, notably those related to the introduction of the EU REACH system for "new" and "existing" chemicals.

Key words: alternatives, animal experiments, drug development, REACH system, replacement, species differences, Three Rs, toxicity testing


(AATEX: Altern. Animal Test. EXperiment.: Alternatives to Animal Testing and EXperimentation)