Use of Animals in Scientific Research | A Complete Guide
Animal testing is routinely used in pharma industries, scientific research labs for testing of drugs, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, etc.
They are used as per provisions of animal laws after obtaining proper approvals.
Animals are used for following scientific works like
1. Study of anatomy and physiology
2. Evaluate drug toxicity
3. To a certain suitable dose
4. For the production of biologicals.
5. Study behavior of substances in the body
Types of animals used in research
1. Invertebrates like fruit fly (Drosophila), earthworms, snails, cockroaches
2. Birds like the hen, pigeons, etc.
3. Rodents (Mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs)
4. Large animals like dogs, monkeys, pigs, cats, etc.
The animals in experiments could experience severe pain and suffering. Hence, wild animals are avoided, and those grown in the labs are used.
The requirement to be followed in the process of animals experiments include
1. Well designed and clean animal house.
2. Suitable temperature, ventilation, humidity.
3. Unlimited access to food and water.
4. A Vet for a regular checkup of animal health.
5. Technical personnel for maintenance of the animal house.
Why are animals used for testing:
They are mostly used to safeguard humans from direct exposure of substances used by immediate internal consumption or external applications on the skin. The use of animals in experimentation helps to
Study anatomy and physiology: Here animals like frogs, rabbits, and even rats are taken for studying physiological systems like circulation, digestion, excretion, etc.
Besides lower animals like earthworms, mollusks, cockroaches are used to study their internal organization and function.
Evaluate toxicity: Animals are used for testing the harmful or poisonous effects of drugs, food supplements, etc. if any. If the substances fail to pass their test in animals due to severe adverse effects or toxicity, then they are not tried for human use.
Fixing the dose or quantity: Every drug, food nutrient, vitamins, supplements we take are recommended at fixed quantities or doses. These doses are in the safe range for consumption and also produce the desired effect on the body. Thus tests on animals help in fixing the correct dose or quantity of drugs or supplements to be in a safe and effective range.
To study the drug action: Animals have body function and physiology similar to humans and hence, they act to mimic human response and behavior to substances. The mechanism of muscle contraction, heartbeat, circulation is easily understood by a study on animals. Further how a drug acts in the body like by either rise in heartbeat, circulation or respiration rate can be understood by scientific testing on animals.
To know the time spent in the body: Animals studies of any substance helps in understanding the time spent by the substance in the body before its elimination by excretion. The more the time spent, the more the chances of poisoning, accumulation, adverse effects and the duration of its effects on the body. By conducting blood and urine tests on animals after administration of the test substance, it is possible to know the extent of time spent by the substance in the body.