Confronting the bias towards animal experimentation (animal methods bias)

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ,Washington ,DC ,United States
Krebs, Catharine E.;
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ,Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing ,Baltimore ,MD ,United States
Herrmann, Kathrin

Laws and policies are in place around the world to promote the replacement and reduction of nonhuman animals in science. These principles are rooted not just in ethical considerations for animals, but also in scientific considerations regarding the limitations of using nonhuman animals to model human biology, health, and disease. New nonanimal research approaches that use human biology, cells, and data to mimic complex human physiological states and therapeutic responses have become increasingly effective and accessible, replacing the use of animals in several applications, and becoming a crucial tool for biomedical research and drug development. Despite many advantages, acceptance of these new nonanimal methods has been slow, and barriers to their broader uptake remain. One such barrier is animal methods bias, the preference for animal-based methods where they are not necessary or where animal-free methods are suitable. This bias can impact research assessments and can discourage researchers from using novel nonanimal approaches. This article provides an introductory overview of animal methods bias for the general public, reviewing evidence, exploring consequences, and discussing ongoing mitigation efforts aimed at reducing barriers in the shift away from animal use in biomedical research and testing.


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