Millions wasted on animal tests

I WONDER how many readers know that every drug available has been tested on animals, because that’s still a legal requirement, and how many know that non-animal testing methods would have been better, since more than 90 per cent of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human trials (Leader, 27 April).

When drug companies waste millions of pounds by developing animal tests, they are just tweaking the same flawed system, and innumerable studies show that studying human diseases in dogs or rats is beset with problems, because the results concern the wrong species. The development of cutting-edge non-animal methodologies that can accurately predict what happens in human beings is exciting, progressive science that works.

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It is reprehensible that in 2012 to 2013, the government provided just 0.02 per cent of biosciences funding to projects aimed at replacing, reducing or refining animal experiments. We urgently need to get rid of old-fashioned animal experiments and arm scientists with sophisticated, humane research tools for the sake of people and animals.

Ben Williamson, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, London