Around three million tests were carried out on animals in the UK alone in 2005 in the name of medical research-and a new study suggests that most of it was needless suffering. Researchers studied six separate animal trials, and found that none of the results were replicable in humans. For example, according to two of these animal experiments, corticosteroids helped in cases of head injury, and yet, when tested on humans, they were of no benefit at all, while a heart drug that had proved effective in animals actually made the condition worse in humans.
The research team, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also found that many animal studies were poorly prepared, and most ignored even the most basic parameters for proper scientific testing. Their report also pointed out the very obvious fact that the biological differences between animals and humans are often so great that any results become meaningless. Meanwhile, groups such as FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) continue their good efforts to convince scientists to use organs, tissues, cells grown in culture and even mathematical modelling instead of living creatures. Even most drug companies agree that animal tests are useless, but claim they must be carried out as they are a required part of the licensing process (BMJ, 2007; 334: 197-200).