Animal use in pharmacology education and research: the changing scenario

Indian J Pharmacol. May-Jun 2014;46(3):257-65. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.132153.


The use of animals in research and education dates back to the period when humans started to look for ways to prevent and cure ailments. Most of present day's drug discoveries were possible because of the use of animals in research. The dilemma to continue animal experiments in education and research continues with varied and confusing guidelines. However, the animal use and their handling vary in each laboratory and educational institution. It has been reported that the animals are being subjected to painful procedures in education and training unnecessarily. The extensive use of animals in toxicity studies and testing dermatological preparations has raised concerns about the ways animals are sacrificed for these "irrelevant experiments". On the other side of the coin are scientists who advocate the relevant and judicious use of animals in research so that new discoveries can continue. In this review, we discuss the evolution of the use of animals in education and research and how these have been affected in recent times owing to concerns from animal lovers and government regulations. A number of computer simulation and other models have been recommended for use as alternatives to use of animals for pharmacology education. In this review we also discuss some of these alternatives.

Keywords: Alternatives; animal experiments; pharmacology education; regulations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Experimentation* / ethics
  • Animal Experimentation* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research
  • Drug Discovery
  • Government Regulation
  • Pharmacology / education*