Animal Testing Has Been Around Longer Than You Might Think

Kori Williams - Author

Mar. 13 2023, Published 12:53 p.m. ET

A Mouse
Source: Getty Images

In recent years, resistance to animal testing has been on the rise. Activists in the field have continued to fight for not only the safety of animals but the implementation of testing practices that are just as safe if not more so for humans. Unfortunately, there are still many industries and countries around the world that continue to do this.

Although it may seem like forever, how long has animal testing been around?

Article continues below advertisement

It's safe to say that this is not a new practice that began within the last few decades. In fact, its reach spans centuries — longer than any of us have been alive. It feels like only recently that things have begun to change. The U.S. has just lifted the requirement on animal testing for the pharmaceutical industry.

Rabbit Testing
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

How long has animal testing been around?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, animal testing stretches back as far as Early Grecian times. Scientists and physicians including Aristotle, Erasistratus, and Galen all used the practice in their work and it's because of them that we have the knowledge we do in fields like anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, and more today.

In addition, a physician named Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) who lived during the 12th century, also tested on animals. He used it as a way to practice surgical procedures and methods before he would perform surgery on humans. This time period was also when animals started to become an important aspect of drug testing.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: Getty Images

In terms of cosmetics testing, the Humane Society states that animals was first used in the U.S. in 1938. The Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act was signed into law that year and it required certain safety regulations around makeup and skincare. Companies began using animals to comply with the law although it isn't a requirement.

Article continues below advertisement

Testing pharmaceuticals on animals is no longer required in the U.S.

According to a Jan. 12, 2023 article in NPR, the U.S. has ended the requirement that drugs have to be tested on animals before they can be moved on to human trials. Passed on Sep. 9, 2022, it's being called the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 and it states that instead, "cell-based assays and computer models" can be used to "investigate the safety and effectiveness of a drug."

Senator Rand Paul
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

In addition, the new law states that animal studies are no longer required to "obtain a license for a biological product that is biosimilar or interchangeable with another biological product."

In a statement, Senator Rand Paul said that this new law will "needless suffering and death of animal test subjects" while also getting safer drugs on the market quicker since they no longer have to go through this process. He also stated that animal testing is "not supported by current science."

While this law is a step in the right direction, it simply isn't enough. The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 is only lifting the requirement that animal testing be involved in the process of pharmaceuticals. It doesn't directly ban the practice or make it a crime to participate in so many companies may not feel compelled to change their ways if they do test on animals. And because it only focuses on drugs, other laws would need to be passed to effect those areas.

More from Green Matters

Latest Politics & Policy News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.