Necessary, evil or a necessary evil?
Animal research has been considered either necessary, evil or a necessary evil depending on who you speak with. In the wake of several recent studies that reveal the shortcomings of animal research, some are changing their stance, moving away from viewing the research as “necessary” to a middle ground of the “necessary evil” perspective. The shift isn’t entirely surprising, as some of the problems identified in today’s animal studies are that animal experiments are poorly designed, conducted, reported and reviewed. For example:
The survey of 271 UK and US studies found, for example, that only 59 per cent included the aim of the research and 4 per cent failed to report how many animals were used.
One outcome of this recent evaluation of animal research is an international effort to establish guidelines and regulations for studies including animals, with the UK taking the lead in doing so. The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), established by the UK Government, has published the ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines. The ARRIVE guidelines are intended to improve the standards of reporting animals used in research, and in so doing, ensure that every animal life used counts.