International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems


Steven M. Niemi


Alternatives to animal experimentation are highly touted today by animal welfare advocates. Their campaign for adopting alternatives has caused much discussion and debate within and outside the biomedical community. This paper aimed to examine the controversy and assess the more common alternatives, including the bacterial mutagenicity assay or Ames test, cell culture, and mathematical models for toxicity prediction. Chemical safety testing is the most promising of the fields for alternatives where laboratory animals are used, and incorporating alternatives with live-animal assays is increasing. However, due to the limitations of alternatives in use currently, there is still a considerable need for in vivo systems. The veterinarian is central to the alternatives question regarding humane considerations and the usefulness of animals in science. An influential role for the veterinarian is to serve as an educator and mediator between the scientist using laboratory animals and the animal welfare proponent.