The three R’s are guideline principals that have been established to help researchers achieve the goal of more humane experimental techniques:
Replacement - The preferred use of non-animal methods over animal methods whenever possible.
Reduction – Finding methods to obtain comparable levels of information from fewer animals, or obtaining more information from the same number of animals.
Refinement - Alleviate or minimize potential pain, suffering or distress, and enhance animal welfare for the animals used.
These principles not only encourage alternatives to animal testing, but they aim to improve the welfare of the animals that are used in testing.
If these guidelines were enforced at all laboratories that test on animals, animal testing would be a much more ethical practice.
There are also already many great alternatives to animal testing thanks to modern technology, however we still have a long way to go.
Our government and consumers need to push American companies to fund and research animal testing alternatives.
Some alternatives already being used are:
Eyes from chickens and cows slaughtered for their meat are used as replacements for live rabbits in eye irritation testing.
Artificial human skin has been developed for use in skin irritation testing.
Computer operated crash test dummies now replace live animals in trauma testing of car crashes.
To treat accidental poisoning victims, physicians now use data collected by hospitals from previous poisoning cases, a much more accurate alternative to oral toxicity tests.
I wanted to conclude this issue with a video.
It’s not a shocking video of animals being tortured in laboratories, it is a video made by the Beagle Freedom Project, an organization that rescues beagles from animal testing.
In the video, beagles rescued from laboratories experience sunshine and grass for the first time in their lives. This video is a powerful example of hope.
We may not be able to completely end animal testing, but we can work together to greatly reduce the suffering of many of these animals.