What is the FDA doing to reduce animal use?

NAVS remains committed to ending the exploitation of all animals used in science. And while the replacement of all animals in science will always be our goal, we wanted to share with you a step that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking to reduce the reliance on dog models in veterinary medicine.

The FDA recently proposed a study to validate the use of an alternative approach for comparing the safety and efficacy of generic versions of veterinary drugs to those of previously-approved non-generic versions of the same drugs. Historically, some of these tests have been carried out in a manner that meant that the dogs used in the research would be euthanized at the end of the study.

In the new proposed study, the effect of antiparasitic drugs will be tested in dogs who will have their blood samples taken. The dogs will be retired at the end of the study. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that, “By using the data we generate from these blood tests to establish a clear benchmark for how these drugs are absorbed in the dogs’ blood, we expect to be able to use these data to develop informative tools that can model the absorption of drugs in the future, rather than requiring the drugs to be tested on live dogs.”The FDA estimates that this new approach may save the lives of hundreds of animals over the course of just a few years.   

While the steps the FDA is taking may eliminate the use of dogs in these very limited veterinary studies, we remain concerned about the fact that dogs are being used for these studies at all, as well as about the FDA’s heavy reliance on data collected from dogs for other purposes, including studies designed to predict the safety of drugs in people.

NAVS provided comments to the FDA on this new proposal and used the opportunity to urge the agency to take even bigger steps to reduce and replace animal use. One thing we asked the FDA to do was to re-examine their testing requirements which call for animal use, as the use of animal models as stand-ins for humans can give rise to misleading results because of the intrinsic differences between humans and other species.

Just because the FDA has historically relied on animal experiments does not mean they need to continue to do so. NAVS will continue to demand that the FDA broadens its efforts to reduce and replace animal experiments by prioritizing the adoption of animal-free alternatives. And through the International Foundation for Ethical Research, NAVS will continue to support the development of these alternatives which will save the lives of more animals while advancing smarter, more human-relevant health solutions.

Your donation today will help fund human-relevant alternatives that can replace the use of dogs—and all animals—in science.




“Concept Paper: Alternative Methods for Evaluating Locally Acting, Non-systemically Absorbed Drugs in Canine Disintegrating or Chewable, Single Layer Combination Drug Products.” FDA Website.

“FDA Proposes Study with Intent of Eliminating Use of Dogs in Certain Types of Research,” November 2018.  FDA Website.

Doughman, E. “FDA Study Aims to Reduce Number of Dogs Used for Research,” Laboratory Equipment, November 2018.

This entry was posted in News and tagged on January 22, 2019.
Comments are closed.