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Experiments involving non-human animals (hereinafter referred to as animals) were the predominant technology in the life sciences from the 1920s to the 1970s. Increasingly, animal-based procedures have been complemented and superseded by other approaches; yet, they still have an enormous reputation as an apparent definitive answer to many scientific and, especially, regulatory questions. They have been questioned first for ethical reasons: Can we justify making animals suffer for scientific inquiry? Simply said, people have different views on this question, but the general public views animal experimentation more and more critically. The animal research community has sought a compromise between those who would like to see the end to the use of animals sooner rather than later, and those who think animal research is indispensable. The societal response has included regulation and oversight of animal experiments (e.g., requiring formal justifications and permission), as well as support for the development of alternative methods.


open access book chapter