Medical research is currently progressing on a non-vegan path. Although it's a widespread opinion that objectives are attained and benefits are eventually gained by humanity, this is surely done at the expense of animal life. Statistical evidence strongly suggests, moreover, that the research method is extremely inefficient (quoting an extract from the source):

In 2004, the FDA estimated that 92 percent of drugs that pass preclinical tests, including “pivotal” animal tests, fail to proceed to the market. More recent analysis suggests that, despite efforts to improve the predictability of animal testing, the failure rate has actually increased and is now closer to 96 percent.

Reading above gives only half of the insight. What is not possible to tell is how many drugs would have been effective on humans but were stopped by the currently adopted metric of "not tested successfully on animal subjects"

It is clear that there is a need to find better techniques to progress in the field. By better I mean more targeted to humans, more efficient and less expensive. And of course I would like to restrain the field to techniques which are ethically acceptable from a vegan point of view.

Are there any promising techniques that could someday be used for research in place of animal experimentation?

  • I don't understand that blurb at all. It doesn't suggest anything regarding replacing animal testing with skipping it.
    – djechlin
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:17
  • Let's discuss your point of skipping the preclinical test. If you think this test is useless, can you argument why? Feb 2, 2017 at 17:35
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    Based on some of the answers seeming to miss the point a little, I also feel this post could use some clarification. Testing on non-human animals is done to avoid causing harm to humans, and I believe that you are asking how medical testing can continue to avoid harming humans, while extending the same consideration to non-human animals. Would you agree?
    – Zanna
    Feb 3, 2017 at 22:47
  • I don't personally agree that testing on non-human animals is usefull to avoid causing harm to humans and while this may sometimes work there is strong evidence that the two testings are not closely related (read op). Non-human animals experimentation seems more like a current human convention in research Feb 5, 2017 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


I've recently read an article from the NCBI stating that they are investigating with artificial skins

A range of models has been developed, including ex vivo human skin, usually obtained from cadavers or plastic surgery patients, ex vivo animal skin, and artificial or reconstructed skin models. Increasingly, largely driven by regulatory authorities and industry, there is a focus on developing standardized techniques and protocols. With this comes the need to demonstrate that the surrogate models produce results that correlate with those from in vivo human studies and that they can be used to show bioequivalence of different topical products

.. and having successful results with them

With this comes the need to demonstrate that the surrogate models produce results that correlate with those from in vivo human studies and that they can be used to show bioequivalence of different topical products


I think the most important change in the sense that it has the best ratio of effort/improvement is not a technological one but a legislative one:

  • The results of animal testing should be public, otherwise the test should be treated by law the same as pointless torture (which usually already is illegal). Now they are often company secrets, that's why

    • tests which are similar or even identical are unnecessarily repeated.
    • there is less public scrutiny and PR backlash.
    • studies can be repeated until the desired result is achieved without anyone finding out about it.
  • Animal testing is used for non-essential products like cosmetics. Animal testing should only be allowed for medical products and research.

Of course other scientific methods should be explored, but that has no guarantee of success. Simple law changes could reduce animal testing by a large factor with no reduction in quality of life for humans.

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