While Science First brought you many exciting stories in 2016, these topped the list.
Progress on Human “Organs-on-Chips”
Over the past year, we have highlighted “organ-on-a-chip” microdevices multiple times in Science First, because they have the potential to reduce animal use in many areas of study, including drug development, toxicity testing and disease modeling. These devices serve as human-relevant models if populated with human cells and overcome other limitations of animal models, including ethical issues, time and cost. Through the International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER), NAVS is currently funding work in this area.
NAVS Gets Student Choice Legislation Introduced in Two States
Through our nationwide CHOICE (Compassionate Humane Options in Classroom Education) initiative, student choice bills, which guarantee the right of students who object to dissection to utilize alternatives without being penalized, were introduced and given public hearings in Hawaii and Maryland. Although the bills did not pass during the last legislative session, we are optimistic that student choice legislation will be introduced and passed in 2017, in these states and several others.
NAVS Supports the Next Generation of Humane Scientists
NAVS is proud to support the research of students who aspire to develop and use non-animal methodologies that have the potential to replace animal use in science. Through our work with IFER, we have helped support the humane research of seven graduate students this year. We also selected three outstanding high school students to receive our Humane Science Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix. We continue to be inspired by these young scientists and look forward to the progress they make on their research over the coming year.
Latest Statistics Indicate a Reduction of Animal Use in Research in the U.S.
NAVS is encouraged that the number of Animal Welfare Act (AWA)-covered animals used in research, testing and teaching in the U.S. has been decreasing in recent years. According to the most current 2015 animal use statistics, the U.S. reported a reduction of 66,831 animals from 2014 to 2015, representing an 8% decrease in animal use. The total number of AWA-covered animals used in experimentation and teaching in the U.S. last year was 767,622, compared to 834,453 in 2014. This is the lowest number of animals used on record. While these statistics offer an incomplete picture of animal use, we are optimistic that 2017 will bring more transparency, as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is still considering our petition for rulemaking which demands more openness about animal use.
The Waste of Animal Experiments is Highlighted Multiple Times
Over the past year, we have shared with you many publications that have described flaws in animal experiments, including poorly-designed studies without bias-reducing measures in animal models that don’t accurately mimic humans. This research is misleading, wastes animal lives and is an impediment to scientific advancement. We are optimistic that more researchers will move away from animal models in light of these limitations and refocus their efforts on more human-based models to best increase the chances of improving human health and well-being.
We look forward to 2017 and hope the new year brings more advancements in science that help end the suffering of animals.
Please help NAVS continue to speak on behalf of the animals who cannot speak for themselves by making a donation today.