• Question: Have you tested anything on animals yet? If so are you going to change how much you do that because animals shouldn't have to be forced to go through that?

    Asked by mazzy7642 to Alejandra, Ana, Daniel, Sophie, Todd, Zach on 13 Mar 2017. This question was also asked by big john, SeanMcGeough03.
    • Photo: Alejandra Aranceta

      Alejandra Aranceta answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      Hi Mazzy,

      Thankfully I don’t have to test anything on animals (I am against it). As you rightly say so, animals shouldn’t be forced to go through that! A lot of techniques are being developed now a days to minimise the animal use in research, like printing an organ (yes, printing!!!). I’m looking forward to hear more about this technology!!!

    • Photo: Daniel Morse

      Daniel Morse answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      Hi Mazzy,

      Great question!! Part of my project is working on a tissue model that represents the roof of the mouth so that I can look at infections, and the whole point of the model system is that we reduce the need for animal testing.

      However. Personally, I am not completely against animal testing where is absolutely necessary. For example, in drug trials which have the potential to prolong human life or cure an infection/disease, it is often necessary to, in the first instance, test it on a living whole organism (like an animal, rat etc) as the behaviour of cells, tissues and organs might be different to what we see in the lab. In this case, it is a necessity before human trials, but of course, if we can reduce this, it is of huge benefit to everyone, and this is something scientists are very aware of, and have been working hard toward doing.

    • Photo: Todd Burton

      Todd Burton answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      Hi Mazzy,

      I haven’t tested anything in a live animal, but i have taken cells from a rat. I agree that there should be any unnecessary testing on animal and the number of animals should be reduced as much as possible. We need to create better models so that less animals can be used in testing. I hope that the initial work that i do currency using rat cells will mean that better models can be created in the future.

      There is an organisation called NC3R looking into replacement, reduction and refinement of animcal in research, that you can take a look at if you’re interested.

    • Photo: Sophie Cox

      Sophie Cox answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      Hi Mazzy,

      Our group do test some of our research in animals. I realise that this is quite controversial and I agree it isn’t very nice for the animals but it is sometimes an important step before using a medical produce in humans. While there is a lot of great research going on to find other ways to test things, and I fully support it, sometimes these are not complex enough to replicate the environment of a living animal/human. I definitely think it is important to minimise the use of animals.

      Hopefully it will reassure you to know that we have to justify our use of animals to a ethics committee before we are allowed to use them. This is to ensure that we have minimised any pain/harm to the animals as well as the number of animals that we need to use. I also find it reassuring that the laboratories in which our animal research is done take really good care of them.

    • Photo: Ana Gallego

      Ana Gallego answered on 14 Mar 2017:

      This is a very good question.

      It is difficult. In general, for medical things, either drugs or devices, you need to somehow make sure that it is safe to use and it is not going to make you more sick. There is a big list of medicines that have been invented in the past that because they didn’t do any proper testing or not long enough, it ended up bringing A LOT of health problems and complications to those who took it.

      There are very few people that would like to subject their bodies to medical testing, because things can go wrong and you can be affected for the rest of your life.

      This is the main reason why medical stuff is tested in animals, because it is a bit faster than testing in humans and you wouldn’t be affecting a human’s life.

      I agree with you, there should not be any need to test in animals, especially for things such as cosmetics.

      I guess the future is synthetic skin or organs so that way we don’t have to depend on a living being.