Medical research is essential for progress. However, conducting research and developing treatments at the cost of making an animal suffer is not acceptable to several people. Apart from growing humane concerns and mounting economical pressures, availability of limited funds from funding agencies have facilitated a marked decrease in the irrational use of animals in research. As per a study conducted by a medical research group, the number of animals used in medical research annually has decreased significantly during the last 20 years.
Researchers are now looking towards finding better alternatives to animal research. Latest scientific advancements and technological breakthroughs have now made it possible to reduce the use of animals in medical research. Science has developed valuable non-animal research models such as cell cultures, human tissue sections and computer-simulation models. Cell and tissue culture experiments are being used extensively in identifying the medical benefits or toxicity associated with a medical compound.
Inspite of all these developments, there would be certain situations such as blindness where the use of a complete animal model for research is inevitable. In these circumstances, proper awareness programs should be conducted for researchers regarding the handling of animals while conducting research.
Animal Ethics Committee should overview every miniature details in experiments involving animal use, including approving all research, teaching and testing procedures, supervising experiments, providing training to personnel about animal handling and maintaining proper animal care facilities. Ethics committee must ensure that the experiments being conducted do not harm the animal. Persons doing any research, teaching or experiment that is not approved by the Animal Ethics Committee should be prosecuted.