BY RHIANN MOORE
With modern science being what it is there’s really no excuse for why big businesses continue to animal test. When companies like Lush Cosmetics, Avalon Organics, Too Faced are able to succeed while advocating for anti-animal testing laws, it brings to question why big companies like The Body Shop, Revlon and Maybelline still bother. They could move on to more accurate and humane practices, but they fail too. For those who have not yet made the choice to exclusively invest in cruelty-free products, here are five solid alternatives to animal testing that show it is nothing but laziness and unnecessary cruelty that keeps businesses from evolving.
Basically every type of human and animal cell can be grown in a lab these days. Human cells grown in labs are also far closer to ours than those of animals. Though these are purely scientific cell cultures they are still a better option than live bunnies that we don’t happen to have a lot in common with. Human cells have actually been used to create innovations such as “organs-on-chips”. These are an excellent alternative to animal testing, this technology has allowed for immense developments in cancer research, AIDS and kidney disease. They are also regularly used as an alternative for chemical testing, vaccine production and the development of drugs.
Donations from human volunteers, whether healthy or carrying diseases, can provide a reliant and relevant study for human biology – far more reliable than animal testing. Human tissues are released during surgery from volunteers or post-mortem. These alternative tests have allowed for leads in understanding Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
Not to shock you, but computers are pretty sophisticated these days. That means researchers have been able to develop models that simulate human biology and the progression of diseases. They are able to replace animal testing by estimating the likelihood of a substance being dangerous to a human.
While studies done on unwilling animals are done crudely, studies done on human volunteers are surprisingly safe. There are rapidly advancing technologies that have allowed for sophisticated scanning machines and recording techniques that safely study humans. Microdosing is also an option for volunteers who are willing to test incredibly small portions of drugs in their systems.
Human Patient Simulators
While they are fairly freaky to look at, there are harmless human simulations that bleed, convulse and die. These simulators are used to teach students physiology and pharmacology. They give students far more realistic lessons, while dissecting animals teaches them very little about what it will be like to work on a human. These simulators are increasing in popularity, almost entirely taking over animal dissection in classrooms.
Because animal testing typically only predicts human reactions about 72% of the time, it seems like it’s time for big companies to move on to better options. Alternatives are not only kinder they are ridiculously more accurate.