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What is Animal Testing?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 11 Mar 2021 | comments*Discuss
Animal Testing Uk Drugs Products

Animal testing is a phrase that most people have heard but are perhaps still unsure of exactly what is involved. Whether it is called animal testing, animal experimentation or animal research, it refers to the experimentation carried out on animals. It is used to assess the safety and effectiveness of everything from medication to cosmetics, as well as understanding how the human body works. While supporters believe it is a necessary practice, those opposed to animal testing believe that it involves the torture and Suffering Of Animals.

Understanding Animal Testing

Animal testing is conducted virtually everywhere and its uses are broad. In the UK, standards are quite strict with regards to animal testing and monitoring is similarly rigorous. Animal testing only occurs if there is no other viable alternative to the methods. Animal testing may take place at:
  • Universities
  • Medical schools
  • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Military defence establishments

Using Animal Testing

Animal testing is used for countless products and applications. Everything from toiletries to medications have likely been tested on animals at some point prior to their distribution. Some of the products that commonly involve animal testing are:
  • Cosmetics
  • Drugs
  • Food additives
  • Supplements
  • Household products
  • Pesticides
  • Industrial chemicals

Animal Testing for Medical Treatments

Virtually every available Medical Treatment today has, to some degree, involved animal testing. The animals themselves may be bred specifically for testing or they may be captured in the wild. There are also commercial establishments that sell animals specifically for use in animal testing facilities. Animals are considered to be similar to humans in terms of assessing safety, which means that there are Strict Requirements for testing on animals with regards to new drugs.

In the UK, for example, a new drug must have been tested on two different species of live mammal. However, those who are opposed to animal testing and view it as an unnecessary infliction of suffering cite that the stress an animal experiences will impact the accuracy of the results, rendering them useless. For now, however, animal testing is required before drugs and some other products are available for consumer use.

Continued Debate

Animal testing is a controversial subject. Because it is so controversial, the biases that exist on either side can skew the accurate definition of the practice. Those against it would reply that animal testing creates pain and suffering. They would tend to define animal testing as nothing more than animal suffering. Those who support animal testing may define it as experimentation that uses animals to benefit humans, where it saves lives and provides vital medical treatments.

Find out More

Read about the history of animal testing in our article Background and History of Animal Testing.

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I understand the need for animal testing in some situations. As a diabetic, I can't help but be grateful for the fact that animal testing was responsible for many of the medications that are continuing to save my life. However, some of the conditions are (even though touted as "least possible harm") just too distressing for me to not continue to hold the scientific community to continued scrutiny and accountability. The viral video of lab beagles touching grass for the first time and being socialized broke my heart. These are pack animals who were kept in isolation for years. The psychological damage done to them shows in their behavior. Timid and voiceless...devoid of any happiness. Had rescuers not stepped in, they would have been euthanized after their usefulness ended. Have we really done all we can to ensure a quality of life for these animals while still gathering scientific data? And let me say that, no matter the benefit to humanity, I believe it unconscionable to conduct testing to measure pain tolerance or time lapse of death. It does not change the outcome and the variables encountered makes this nothing more than morbid curiosity. Data could be more dependably gathered from any true (versus hypothetical) incidents should they happen - which I pray is never the case. Even though I cannot refute the benefits of some animal testing, I also cannot refute the benefits from continued scrutiny and activism to continue to push the scientific community into doing more to ensure the best care and constantly reevaluate their procedures. For it's when we stop looking and questioning that institutions would enthusiastically slide into cruel practices which would be more expedient and affordable.
Sandy - 7-Nov-20 @ 4:59 PM
why don't people stop this!?!?!?! I hate everyone who tests on animals. BTW it really helped with my assignment thanks!
Animal Luver - 28-Jan-20 @ 3:37 AM
i find thid controvertisty interesting it hs really helped my project and i am all the way against this matter it must BE STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
bob - 6-Jan-20 @ 2:26 PM
AnimalTestingIsWrong - 12-Dec-19 @ 2:21 PM
I think that animal testing is very wrong, if you are one that hurts innocent animals then shame on you because it's disgusting!!!!
Boobear18 - 21-Nov-19 @ 2:14 PM
This really helped me with my assignment/speech! thanks so much guys. Also comments gave me helpful ideas. You guys are the best. I also disagree.
Ocean man - 21-Aug-19 @ 10:38 AM
It is being pointed out many times on this website that animals are similar to humans. Well if that is so, then it speaks even more against the procedures that are being done on millions and millions of animals yearly. If you don't think of it as cruelty to: keep prisoner in cages in tiny (crowded) spaces, force horrible diseases, cut open wounds, inject chemicals, deprived from sleep, food and water etc etc… to be killed in the end for “tests” that over 90% do not serve human biology (yes, read some more scientific information elsewhere)? Sounds fun! If a single human would have to go through any of this, it would be called horribly cruel. You should try it yourself and then speak about it. It is a medieval thinking that humans should face and finally step into the 21st century. Glorifying this website that is only PRO animal testing is totally ignorant and obviously being used to ease your consciousness (seems some have none) and not searching for more answers elsewhere, shows the low level of empathy and (emotional) intelligence among pretty many people visiting this site. Well, that partially explains why animal tests still exist… Those who write that have a dog and are still for AT, can donate their dog for it, then they might feel what it means. Imagine then millions of innocent animals going daily through this! For me, very disappointing and one-sided website that is written for one-sided people who don’t want to see the truth except their own. The truth that it is (still) a very profitable machinery of the powerful pharmaceutic industry, might explain why it is still holding strongly to its cruel practices. Times are changing, but those who earn the big buck are of course the ones least interested to change. Maybe you should think about that. Or simply THINK! Not just with your mind, but with your heart as well.
May - 19-Jul-19 @ 2:22 PM
People are only seeing the side of how animals are suffering, and how they are being abused....But think about it people, what else would we do it on, another human? You are only hearing of the bad labs, some really do take care of the animals, they do their best to make the animals comfortable. The rats actually like to play in the smoke.
Grace - 22-Mar-19 @ 5:12 PM
I debated this topic in year 8, and had to say it was a good idea. It really is. I could bring my whole speech up again!
hattiegrace - 8-Mar-19 @ 4:37 AM
I think animal testing is so wrong people who agree to testing are rats so you would kill animals for your own happiness what is wrong with everyone these bratty people don’t care they just say oh Dirac just as long as I’m happy or some comments even say oh I am happy they kill animals wth wrong with you people
Luls - 13-Nov-18 @ 2:54 AM
I think it should never be done even if it benefits us because it hurts the helpless animals.
GHOST - 1-Nov-18 @ 2:33 PM
animaltesting is cruel and personally I think it should never be done.
hey - 23-Feb-18 @ 3:01 PM
These are my own opinions on animal testing - they are not perfect but they won't be far wrong.Written for the animals. Humans could be tested on more, slowly and in teensy ways.The public and prisoners can be experimented on (voluntarily), as long as they want to and are able to consent to it.They would need good rewards, and do so only at a small risk.People could be paid to be tested on instead of putting money into expensive animal maintenance. A lot of people get cancer these days, and some experimenters say that it becomes a matter of 'mouse cancer' to deal with, not human cancer.Animal tests are inaccurate in order to account for human ones.Not caring for an animal means not caring for a human. Computers in animation sounds like amazing new technology, it must be that the animal's senses and everything is recorded on the screen. They could invent a computer animal/human. Computer wizards need to be working on this new technology 24/7 and brainstorming, as we speak.Make a human robot with feelings someone! My knowledge nowadays of Pavlov's dog is that it had something implanted into its jaw, sounds like a mean animal experiment. We could all catch a mutating disease perhaps from the animals as they could live in dirty laboratories.I have seen footage of testers without gloves on when handling animals, and so then they touch the ingredients, and so on. Testers inject awful human diseases into animals and animals don't get these kind of diseases. They will stop animal testing in cosmetics, it is a question of when. Animal testing for food and drugs is next hopefully. The public want this stopped effective, immediately, and then the new ideas will spring forth. It is better to give 'animal test' a new name of 'animal abuse'. Chemicals for me are annoying, I like natural ingredients, that is the way of the future.
For the animals - 20-Nov-17 @ 4:31 AM
Thank you so much, i was searching up animal testing for my project and i found this site, my troubles are finally ended
BRAAAINZ - 25-Jan-17 @ 9:22 AM
Thanks for helping me to get some ideas about animal testing
Maliya - 7-Oct-16 @ 7:36 AM
Hey so i have a problem. Our school supports Jeans for Genes and we do lots of charity work. I'm a huge believer in no animal testing and I was researching about Jeans for Genes and apparently they use animal testing. I know its morally wrong but Im inclined to just let it go and go ahead promoting it but idk......
aaaaa - 22-Jul-16 @ 3:06 PM
I fond this syte extremly ittereting nd i fink it shud be gud 4 skool wrk
Debs - 30-Jun-16 @ 1:52 AM
Thanks!!!!!!! i am doing a assignment on Animal Testing in HASS (Humanties And Soacial Studies) i am in the top extended class for it and this website gave me all the steps for doing this project onec again THANKs!!
Eazy - 31-May-16 @ 2:37 AM
This helped with my research assignment soooo much! thank you!
dinosaur - 5-May-16 @ 1:06 AM
This site is very help full, as I was doing a project on animal testing and needed to know information this site as told me a lot but I am against this because we should not be hurting poor animals but at the same time I think this is a good idea because we would not of been able to survive with out testing on these animals.
jazzy - 11-Apr-16 @ 4:26 PM
i love this deeze nuts gatcha this web has cruel things im reporting it
cool beans - 24-Mar-16 @ 11:33 AM
I love love LOVE this site thx 4 all the info! so MEAN!!! :"(
Briannaisboss - 16-Mar-16 @ 12:37 PM
I love this site I was doing a project on animal testing and I foundthis site it gave me all the info I needed
Jot - 11-Jan-16 @ 2:08 PM
Cruel to monkeys they're no different to us,but not cruel to rats they are pests.It's all foryour own benefit. Inhumanity would be if it was tested on humans first.
Liya - 8-Dec-15 @ 6:46 PM
Swagger jagger - 3-Nov-15 @ 6:19 PM
Coooool fam, thats reallly awosome :) famalamadingdong
Shingly - 26-Oct-15 @ 3:33 PM
Thanks so much this really helps with my speech that I am preparing for school.
Kyla - 24-Aug-15 @ 8:19 AM
So So cruel, how can people do this to animals, they are living beings like us, what puts us above them??????
Dylan - 19-Aug-15 @ 11:01 AM
@Someone, There's a difference between testing potentially deadly things on babies and on rats bred for that purpose.Babies may not have a voice, but they're still human.Rats aren't.Personally, I think that if you feel so strongly about not testing on rats, you should volunteer to be given cancer and test a drug that may or may not kill you.If you aren't willing to, wouldn't it make sense to do it on not a human?
me - 20-May-15 @ 10:09 PM
I think animal testing is very crusial to animals because it is very bad i think by caitln jean laura mary mccourt
Katie - 13-May-15 @ 4:31 PM
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