Animal testing is currently required by law in the U.S. for nearly all new medicines and drugs, medical equipment and pesticides Americans use every day. But should animal testing be banned?  My answer to that question is a resounding Yes. Here’s why. 

I don’t understand why the inhumane, and in my mind barbaric, practice of testing drugs on animals is still happening in the 21st century.  Technology has come so far. Reliable and even better alternatives to animal testing of new medications and other pharmaceutical products are available. 

Subjecting helpless animals to a life of abuse and anguish is a form of intentional animal cruelty.  Toxic substances being orally force feed, forced inhalation for hours at a time, and forced skin contact is an everyday occurrence for lab animals worldwide. 

Should Animal Testing Be Banned?  Alternatives to animal testing. Stop animal testing
Should Animal Testing Be Banned?

The two industries that have used and abused animals in product testing are the Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics industries.  In my earlier post on CrueltyFree Makeup and Cosmetics I discussed testing makeup and other cosmetics on animals, and provided a list of “cruelty free” makeup and cosmetics brands. 

Today I want to talk about animal testing in the pharmaceutical industry, which is horrific, and a bit more complicated. 

There is a lot of debate going on amongst scientists, legislators and other parties. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that prescription drugs be tested on animals before they can be placed in human trials for testing. Sadly, we have a long way to go to convince the FDA that there are non-animal testing methods believed by many scientists to be as effective or even more effective than testing on animals.


There are many scientists and medical professionals who are questioning the inhumane practice of testing drugs and medical treatments on live animals. They’re questioning not just from a humane aspect, but from an effectiveness aspect as well.

From what I’ve been reading, animal testing is Outdated, Cruel, and in so many cases, Unreliable! Many scientists and medical professionals believe that testing on animals often results in misleading safety and effectiveness data, which can ultimately impair the advancement of new human medicines and medical treatments.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) maintains that they support and adhere to the provisions of applicable laws, regulations, and policies governing animal testing, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy of Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. In all cases where animal testing is used, the FDA advocates that research and testing derive the maximum amount of useful scientific information from the minimum number of animals and employ the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability. 

There is some oversight and enforcement to ensure animals used for testing are treated in reasonably humane conditions. However, reports of outrageous abuses of lab animals continue!



Weeks ago I saw horrific undercover video footage taken at an animal testing facility. I cannot get that disturbing video out of my mind. A helpless, tortured Beagle, whose stomach was forcibly being pumped full of huge doses of a toxic substance, just to test a pharmaceutical company’s newest drug.

An undercover employee took video showing, in horrid detail, how the pharmaceutical testing company inhumanely uses and abuses helpless dogs and other animals to test pharmaceutical products for various drug companies.

Imagine a syringe being forced down your throat to inject a chemical into your stomach, or being restrained and forced to breathe sickening vapours for hours. That’s the cruel reality of animal testing for millions of mice, rabbits, dogs and other animals worldwide” – Humane Society International  

The video had been re-posted, from the Humane Society, on actress Katherine Heigl’s Instagram page. Katherine is a longtime animal welfare advocate and animal rescuer, tirelessly fighting animal cruelty.  I couldn’t bear to watch the whole video, it was too awful. It made me cry, it made me gag, it left me in despair. 

That video is what inspired me to write this post, as well as my post on CrueltyFree Makeup and Cosmetics.  People need to know the torture these helpless animals are put through. More importantly, they need to know that there are now effective alternatives to animal testing.

In the U.S. alone Tens of millions of live animals, including dogs and cats, are subjected to what amounts to daily torture in order to bring new pharmaceutical drugs and other medical treatments and products to market. 

Testing and experimentation on animals for medical purposes has actually been going on for centuries. Some of the earliest evidence of testing on live animals can be found in ancient Greek writings.

Should Animal Testing Be Banned?  Stop Animal Testing. Testing drug products on animals.
95% of drugs shown to be safe and effective in animal tests Fail in human trials

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act of 1938 required extensive toxicity testing on animals before a new drug could be deemed safe to begin human trials testing and bring new drugs and other pharmaceutical products to the market. And it’s continued decade after decade.



The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stated that 95% of all drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they either don't work or are dangerous. So basically, 95 of every 100 successful animal testing trials Fail during subsequent human clinical trials!

There is a mounting body of evidence demonstrating the inability of animal testing to effectively predict the efficacy and safety of drugs in humans.


Cruelty Free International senior research scientist Dr Jarrod Bailey explains that: “More than 90% of drugs entering clinical trials fail, despite positive results in preclinical animal tests. Most of these drugs fail for reasons of toxicity and poor efficacy that were not detected in animals.” 

Toxicity and other adverse health effects are often not predicted during animal testing, but show up in human trials. These drugs later fail during human trials due to these issues.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) research director Christina Dodkin highlights the converse is also true: “Substances that might be safe and effective in humans may be rejected or delayed at animal trials due to animal toxicity, potentially hindering the development of effective treatments for humans.”

Dodkin points out another issue, that many of the diseases that treatments are being tested on animals for do not naturally occur in these animals. Therefore, slightly different, artificial versions of the diseases are used for the pre-clinical stage of animals.   Wow. Artificial versions of the diseases they’re testing for are being created?! I’m no scientist, but wouldn’t that significantly skew results, making them invalid?

The Humane Society International maintains they have “ been instrumental in securing “mandatory alternatives” requirements in Brazil and South Korea, whereby it is illegal for a company to conduct animal experimentation if a non-animal approach is available.” 

I’m grateful to organizations like the Humane Society for working hard to end animal testing!

Opposition to the use of nonhuman animals in medical research arose in the United States during the 1860s, when Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), with America's first specifically anti-vivisection organization being the American AntiVivisection Society (AAVS), founded in 1883.”


What is Vivisection? I found several definitions of “Vivisection”; “The practice of performing operations on live animals for the purpose of experimentation or scientific research (Oxford Languages/Google)”  and  the cutting of or operation on a living animal usually for physiological or pathological investigation (Wikipedia)” and  Vivisection is surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure (Webster dictionary)”  No matter which definition you use, it makes my skin crawl.


In 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act , the first law specifically aimed at regulating animal testing was enacted in the U.K. The legislation was even promoted by Charles Darwin, (known for his theory of evolution by natural selection), who wrote to British biologist Ray Lankester in March 1871:


“You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night."

Bear in mind that Darwin’s statement was made in 1871!  Have we come far enough since then?

As you can see, there have been various types of opposition to the abuse of animals for animal testing purposes dating back to the 1800’s.  With all the advancement in science and technology, there are now truly viable alternatives to this cruel abuse of animals.




The FDA’s requirement that drug manufacturers prove the safety and tolerability of drugs before they can be placed in human clinical trials was an admirable goal when first enacted.  However, it no longer needs to be met by testing on live animals. Now there are effective alternative methods to animal testing.

In Vitro methods of testing use human cells and tissues.  Researchers have created Organs-On-Chips that contain human cells that have been grown to mimic the structure and function of human organs. These chips can be used for drug testing, disease research, and toxicity testing instead of using live animal for this testing. Several companies produce these chips now.

In Silico Modeling entails the use of computer models that simulate human biology and the progression of diseases. These models can accurately predict how new drugs will react in the human body, which can help replace animal testing for several types of drugs.

3D human cell and tissue models which can be used to assess the safety of drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and consumer products

Hurel Biochip consists of using microfluidic circuits lined with cells from human organs to predict complex human reactions.

*** Several of these alternative animal testing methods are actually funded and promoted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and it’s affiliates.  

In their article Are We Nearing the End of Animal Testing in Pharma? Pharmaceutical Technology stated that “Responding to lobbying and mounting evidence that animal testing is an insufficient predictor of drug safety in humans, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies have begun to move away from pre-clinical testing on animals." 




Thankfully, there are organizations out there who have taken on the job of fighting abuse against animals and rescuing lab animals from the life of torture that is animal testing. They are the watchdogs. They are the heroes of animal protection. Here are just a few initiatives that condemn animal testing and work to save animals from the horrors of animal testing.


4000 Beagles rescue initiative 

In July, 2022 the Humane Society, with support from their many shelter and rescue partners began removing 4,000 beagles from Envigo, a mass laboratory breeding facility in Cumberland, Virgina. that has been cited for numerous violations of animal welfare laws. During facility inspections by federal officials a history of mistreatment and endangerment to the beagles in their care was reported. Inadequate veterinary care, insufficient food, buildup of feces in the dogs’ living quarters, and the presence of food waste are some of those violations. 

The dogs at Envigo were being bred specifically to be sold to labs for drug experiments. A court order has shut Envigo (parent company Inotiv) down. This huge animal rescue is unprecedented!


The Beagle FreedomProject 

A non profit organization and the leading org for rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research. They have been rescuing animals used and abused in animal testing labs since 2010. They have saved thousands of animals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C., announced that it will stop conducting or funding studies on mammals by 2035. The move makes EPA the first federal agency to put a hard deadline on phasing out animal research.  I was kind of astounded by this one! It actually warms my heart a bit.

The EPA's decision "is a decisive win for taxpayers, animals, and the environment," says Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy at the White Coat Waste Project, a Washington, D.C. based animal activist group that has slammed such research as a waste of taxpayer money. "Animal tests are unreliable and misleading," he asserts.

We've made such enormous advancements in all areas of science and technology but we still haven’t abolished the cruel practice of testing new drugs on animals.

Clearly there are viable alternatives to the cruelty of laboratory animal testing, so why are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies insisting that animals continue to be used in the testing of human pharmaceutical products?  

A change in the inhumane use of animals in testing new drugs, medical treatments, and medical products is long overdue! Do you agree? Leave your thoughts in the comments, we love hearing from you!



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I used many wonderful sources for this article. Most of my sources included:

HumaneSociety InternationalPharmaceuticalTechnologyPETA

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LaylasWoof said...

Animals have souls, feelings and emotions and should not be used for any testing, I personally feel if they want to test a product on an animal then test it on a murderer or other dangerous criminal, this makes me sick inside and I will not buy products that have been tested on animals. We all need to speak out and put a stop to this

Anonymous said...

Given that in this day and age there ARE alternatives, testing on animals is inexcusable.

Tail Wag Wisdom said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Yes animals should be banned in testing. I do not believe that animals were put here for humans to control, manipulate, or torture. And just because we can, as humans, do something, doesn't me we should. It's called being a good human being and rising to our better angels. This whole subject angers me to a whole new level. There is simple no need. Period. You do what's right because it's right. Torturing anything isn't right. I applaud you for writing this article. I'll be sharing with all my pet parents.

Michelle & The Paw Pack said...

It's important that scientists continue to research and utilize alternatives to animal testing for sure.

Anonymous said...

There are so many alternatives to animal testing that it is not a convincing argument any more. Most big companies do it because China still demands it. Most fancy cosmetic houses test on animals becuase of China and there is a long way to go before we convince them animals come before profit.

Marjorie at Dash Kitten

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe in this day and age that animal testing is still going on...and your article on the cruelty-free makeup and cosmetics was also excellent and on point. As you have stated here, there so many other (and probably more viable) options today. How in the world can anyone do this type of testing on a living, breathing animal. My skin crawled and I felt so awful when my dogs would innocently get hurt, or needed surgery, I so empathized with them and did not want them hurting at all. To think of testing facilities and those poor dogs, I shudder. Cathy I had also viewed a video and it is so despicable and horrifying...beyond cruel. Still haunts me. Some may say "in the name of science" but as you stated there are many other options that do not include testing on living, breathing animals. They have feelings! Oh those poor dogs... I am SO glad for the humane society and for all the people who continue to fight this and one day, maybe, hopefully, there will be no more cruel methods of testing. Excellent awareness article, Cathy.

Britt K said...

I honestly cannot, for the life of me, understand why we (as a society) are still allowing for animal testing to occur. How have we not already moved past this? This is one area that we are seriously behind the times!

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