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August 23, 2011

The Future of Biomedical Research

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    Thousands of dogs are currently used in experiments each year in the U.S., along with rabbits, chimpanzees, mice, cats, guinea pigs, and other animals. iStockphoto

Decades ago, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar predicted that the use of animals in experimentation was temporary and that these experiments would someday be completely replaced by more innovative methods.

At the time, Medawar’s prediction was a bold claim that seemed to have little basis in reality. However, just a few years later, animal use in biomedical research began to decline—and continued to decline substantially over the next few decades—even while funding for biomedical research increased dramatically.

In fact, biomedical research is increasingly emphasizing sophisticated tools and approaches, not animal “models.” Some experiments that were once done with animals are now carried out with new technologies and techniques that are typically faster, cheaper, and more effective than they ever were.

But there is still a long way to go until animal laboratories are a thing of the past.

That’s where The Humane Society of the United States comes in. We are on the forefront of a global effort to accelerate the replacement of animals in research with more modern experiments. We want to build on the momentum of scientific advances along with an ever-increasing concern for animal welfare to make the dream of fully replacing animals in experiments a reality. That’s why we are working to create long-term support within government, academia, industry, public interest organizations, and the public for the sake of scientific innovation, ethical responsiveness, and animal protection to reach this monumental goal.

As we work toward our goal of rendering the use of animals in biomedical research obsolete, we continue to strive to improve the lives of animals in laboratories. Please visit our page “Ten Ways to Help Animals in Labs” to take action.

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