The Nuremberg Code subverts human health and safety by requiring animal modeling

BMC Med Ethics. 2012 Jul 8:13:16. doi: 10.1186/1472-6939-13-16.


Background: The requirement that animals be used in research and testing in order to protect humans was formalized in the Nuremberg Code and subsequent national and international laws, codes, and declarations.

Discussion: We review the history of these requirements and contrast what was known via science about animal models then with what is known now. We further analyze the predictive value of animal models when used as test subjects for human response to drugs and disease. We explore the use of animals for models in toxicity testing as an example of the problem with using animal models.

Summary: We conclude that the requirements for animal testing found in the Nuremberg Code were based on scientifically outdated principles, compromised by people with a vested interest in animal experimentation, serve no useful function, increase the cost of drug development, and prevent otherwise safe and efficacious drugs and therapies from being implemented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Codes of Ethics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ethics, Research*
  • Female
  • Genetics
  • Helsinki Declaration
  • Human Experimentation / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Male
  • Models, Animal*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Research Subjects
  • Toxicity Tests* / ethics
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration