Are animal experiments useless for humans?
The validity of the animal model for humans is demonstrated by the development of commonly used drugs that save millions of human lives, but also by the validation for the safety of use of most of the consumer products, with which we come into contact on a daily basis. . Currently, only alternative or "complementary" methods, such as computer simulations or in vitro (ie "test tube") cell studies, are unable to adequately reproduce the numerous interactions between cells, organs and systems that occur in complex organisms. They are widely used for preliminary studies, allowing to identify in simplified systems the mechanism through which substances act and providing important information to substantially reduce the number of animals used.
The "affirmation that" experiments carried out on animals are useless for humans "has been and still is a subject of great debate among the international scientific community, animal welfare associations all over the world and, in a transversal way, also affects the common citizen What is contested are the alleged and inhuman cruelties inflicted on animals, and the uselessness of this type of experimentation.
In reality, sensitivity to animal welfare is very strong even within the scientific community itself which, under this impulse, has supported the need to implement, throughout Europe, a series of laws to protect animal welfare, such as the Legislative Decree No. 26/2014, which transposes a European directive and which promotes the development and application of alternative methods, with the aim of replacing the animal model. For this purpose, anyone who has to undertake an animal experimentation must apply for a specific authorization, demonstrating that for such research there are no alternative methods and therefore the animal model cannot be replaced by them.
In fact, experimentation on animals is neither a whim nor a sadistic amusement for the researcher, but in some cases a necessity for the progress of biology and medicine. According to an editorial appeared in one of the most accredited scientific journals in the world, "Nature", interrupting it would be a danger to science. In 2017, at the request of the European Commission, the 2009 Opinion of the Scientific Community on Health and Environmental Risk was revised, providing for both an accurate analysis of the research sectors in which the absence of the animal model could become critical for the progress. scientifically, and also by focusing perspectives on the development of substitute testing methods.
1. Letter from Senator for life Elena Cattaneo. Available on the site: Repubblica
2. Davies Kay. Animal tests, Nature: "Prohibiting them is a danger to science".Republic. Editorial
3. European Commission. Scientific Committees. Final opinion on the need for non-human primates in biomedical research, production and testing of products and devices (update 2017)