Animal experiments in research

Essay, 2010

9 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Table of Cotents

1. Introduction

2. What is an animal experiment and which animals are used

3. History of animal experiments

4. Areas employing experimental animals

5. The importance of animal experiments

6. Transferability of the results from animal experiments to human

7. Alternatives to animal experiments

8. Is it possible to dispense with animal experiments?

9. The three R’s

10. Conclusion


1. Introduction

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) estimates 100 million vertebrates are used for experimentations around the world every year. Animals get injected harmful substances, are infected with lethal viruses, are subjected to brain damage, heart attacks, stokes, cancers and are ultimately euthanized.

This leads to a huge controversy about the importance of experiments on animals and the right to perform those.

In view of the history of animal experiments, the areas in which experimental animals are used, the importance of vivisection and the transferability of the results from those to human, possible alternatives to animal testing and finally the regulations, existing to contain animal experiments, this paper shows that animal experiments are necessary and alternatives cannot replace them completely.

2. What is an animal experiment and which animals are used

In general animal experiments are described as the use of non human animals in scientific research. The German Animal Welfare Act, the primary piece of animal welfare legislation in Germany defines animal experiments as: “Experimental procedures or treatments of animals, if these may be linked to pain, suffering or damage to these animals, or on the hereditary material, if these may be linked to pain, suffering or damage to the animals with modified hereditary material or the animals which bear these.” This different perception already shows the moral problem of performing animal tests.

Due to this problem constraints for the performance of animal experiments still exist. In Germany they are only permitted for four purposes: research to maintain health in human or animals, detection of effects endangering the environment, checking the safety of drugs or chemicals and for basic research[1]. The legal regulations apply to all animal species, including worms, insects, cold blooded vertebrates, and warm blooded vertebrates.

Furthermore experiments on vertebrates are addicted to strict conditions and require approval if there is the possibility that they could be linked to pain, suffering or damage. Legally prescribed animal experiments, to test vaccines, the removal of organs, or for training and post-graduate training, require notification.

Nowadays animal experiments are primarily performed on rodents, particularly mice and rats. Rodents are used for cancer research, research about metabolic diseases, tests of drug activity and genome research, cats are used for heart surgery, neurophysiological studies, research of the development of hearing aids and for veterinary research, and farm animals are used for vaccine development and isolation, and for veterinary research. This is only a small sized section out of the domain of the use of animals in research, nevertheless it clarifies how important animal experiments are for humans.

3. History of animal experiments

Aristotle[2] (304-322 BCE) and Erasistratus[3] (304-322 BCE) were among the first people who performed experiments on living animals. In 1880, Louis Pasteur demonstrated the germ theory of medicine by including anthrax in sheep. In 1890, Ivan Pavlov used dogs to describe classical conditioning[4]. 1922 insulin was first isolated from dogs and revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. In 1970, antibiotic treatments and vaccines for leprosy were developed using armadillos and given to humans. 1974 Rudolf Jaenish produced the first transgenic mammal by integrating DNA from the SV40 virus[5] into the genome of mice. This was a huge step in the ability of humans to change the genetics of animals. In 1996 Dolly the sheep was born, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. And in the 20th century toxicology testing became important. All these results are fundamental for the development of medicine till this day.


[1] Basic research investigates how organisms behave, develop and function.

[2] greek philosopher

[3] greek dissector and physiologist

[4] Classical conditioning is a form of associative learning.

[5] SV40 is a DNA virus with the potential to cause tumors but it often persists as a latent infection.

Excerpt out of 9 pages


Animal experiments in research
University of Bayreuth
Essay writing II
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
442 KB
Animal experiments, Vivisection, Animal testing, Animals, Tierversuche, Thema Tierversuche
Quote paper
Cindy Härcher (Author), 2010, Animal experiments in research, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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