Expert Opinions

Scientists and other experts have voiced their concerns that studies conducted on dogs and other animals do not adequately reflect human conditions.

The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Europe, hosted a workshop on the use of dogs in biomedical research and the article published as a result states:

“From an animal welfare perspective, concerns arise from the fact that animal experiments cause pain, distress and harm. Housing may restrict “natural” behavior and some animals may develop dysfunctional behaviors.”1

Dr. James Serpell, Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, states:

“Normal behavioral and physiological responses in dogs may be modified by the influence of human presence. Such effects raise concerns about the reliability of dogs as animal models.”2

The NIH reported the following statements from Dr. Elias Zerhouni, who served as their director from 2002 to 2008:

“We have moved away from studying human disease in humans,” he lamented. “We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included.” With the ability to knock in or knock out any gene in a mouse—which “can’t sue us,” Zerhouni quipped—researchers have over-relied on animal data. “The problem is that it hasn’t worked, and it’s time we stopped dancing around the problem…We need to refocus and adapt new methodologies for use in humans to understand disease biology in humans.”

Dr. Aysha Akhtar, a neurologist and public health specialist with the Food and Drug Administration stated:

“What the evidence is showing is that we can get much better answers about human health and diseases and develop more effective therapies if we use human-based tests instead of animal experiments.”

[1]Hasiwa, Nina, Jarrod Bailey, Peter Clausing, Mardas Daneshian, Marianne Eileraas, Sándor Farkas, István Gyertyán et al. “Critical evaluation of the use of dogs in biomedical research and testing in Europe.” ALTEX 28, no. 4 (2011): 326.