Animal experimentation is a controversial topic. While many would agree that ideally, it should not happen at all, it is difficult to deny advances in medical progress – for humans and animals – that can follow the humane use of animals in an experimental setting. The aim, these days, should be to replace animals with non-living experiments, to reduce the number of animals used, and to refine experiments so that they are as efficient as possible. But is this happening enough in Ireland?
Over 228000 animals were used for testing in Ireland last year. Nearly 160000 of these were for used for testing the safety, quality and potency of medicines – a requirement under EU law for new drugs. This is the aspect that really bothers me – it’s form filling, box ticking stuff that could surely be equally well done on cell cultures. It can be difficult to argue against it – “safety is so important” – but when you look into it in detail, there are alternatives that wouldn’t involve animals suffering yet they’d be just as safe.
My radio interview on East Coast FM this week discussed this topic – to listen, see below.