Benefits and Options for Using Animals in Research

By August 16, 2022 Research
Benefits and Options for Using Animals in Research

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The importance of living organisms and animal models in scientific inquiry has a long history. From Aristotle’s initial findings on biology to the contemporary period of pharmaceutical research, the use of animals in scientific study has always been present.

Even in popular culture, no picture of a lab is complete without small white mice. As another example, most people remember classical conditioning as a narrative about Pavlov’s dog drooling at the thought of food. The necessity for living organisms in science and study remains to this day, but much more emphasis is paid to how animals are handled.

Drug discovery requires the use of animals in studies. Investigating a prospective novel therapy requires a comprehensive knowledge of its toxicity, safety and effectiveness. Understanding the biological system’s consequences is necessary for obtaining this knowledge. In other words, it demands using an animal model and strict adherence to ethical treatment.

Before adding people to the mix, experimental methodologies and newly discovered compounds must be rigorously verified. Animal models serve as a dependable stand-in which enables the continuation of research by giving as much data as possible regarding how new medicines may influence future patients.

The purpose of medication development is to help future patients, but there is always an emphasis on the proper treatment of animals employed in preclinical research.

Guidelines for Ensuring the Health of Animals

Regarding the handling and care of animal models, several organizations, standards, and legislation have been created and implemented during the last century. The three Rs are among the strongest guiding concepts for the scientific community.

The 3Rs are a set of codified recommendations for the more ethical use of animals in scientific research. In addition to emphasizing eliminating any exposure to hazardous conditions, they austerely promote novel laboratory procedures and practices:

  • Replacement. Conduct tests and experiments without using animal models
  • Reduction. More research with fewer animal models
  • Refinement. Improve strategies and procedures to guarantee the welfare of animal models

The 3Rs are designed to enable researchers to proceed while protecting the well-being and safety of animal models, with a heavy focus on ensuring the use of animals in research is really required; adhering to the 3Rs results in the creation of better tests and assays for more effective research that ensures more relevant data.

When animals must be used in the study (as is commonly the case in biomedical science) the 3Rs assure ethical treatment and stimulate the employment of alternative models.

Facilitating the Use of Animals in Research

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) is a prominent non-profit organization which promotes the ethical treatment of animals in scientific research. The AAALAC developed a voluntary certification and evaluation scheme for institutions throughout the globe to fulfill particular requirements for the use of animal models in research, plus the definition of what is not considered an animal.

Institutions must comply with local rules, regional laws, and the criteria outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals to acquire accreditation. As research advances worldwide, the AAALAC’s unbiased international standard helps with ensuring animal welfare.

Transparent and widely accepted standards facilitate the advancement of knowledge, while ensuring the humane care of animal models.

Zebrafish as an Ethical Animal Model

Benefits and Options for Using Zebrafish in ResearchThe rising emphasis on the ethical treatment of animals in research has substantially boosted the need for alternative animal models. At the intersection of the 3Rs, zebrafish have emerged as an excellent option. The intrinsic characteristics and natural behaviour of the tiny vertebrate fish enable more ethical research using a very human-like animal model.

The zebrafish embryos are totally transparent and permit direct viewing without damaging the animal. In addition, the majority of organs are created by Day 5 post-fertilization. According to European law, these fish are not considered animals when they are subjected to studies during these early stages of life.

The pharmaceutical industry’s rapid speed and fierce rivalry generate powerful incentives to discover remedies rapidly and comprehend developing ailments. The fight against time necessitates large volume, cost-effective sample numbers to remain competitive.

Maintaining zebrafish also comes with benefits for any experiments looking to ensure reproducibility. With hundreds of eggs maturing in just a few days, these small fish are well adapted to large-scale experimentation without altering their natural behaviour.

Zebrafish provide an ethical option compared to traditional animal models while also allowing for faster testing at a larger scale.

To learn more about ethical animal treatment in research, visit Rondaxe online or call us at (315) 469-2800 today.

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