Why are Animals Used in Research?

Around the world, research using animals has played an essential role in almost every major health advance for both humans and animals and is an important part of sustainability and environmental research.

Medical milestones such as antibiotics, anesthetics, heart valve replacements and vaccines to prevent rabies in companion animals have all involved animal research.  Much of this research is based on learning more about fundamental biological processes. 

In Canada, federal law requires animal models must be used to assess new therapies before any human clinical trials may be conducted. While we make every effort to minimize the use of animals in research, at some point the effectiveness of a new drug or treatment must be evaluated in a living organism before it is approved for human trials. 

Animal research goes far beyond therapeutic trials and medical procedures, and includes wildlife studies that focus on conservation, sustainability and understanding adaptation and biodiversity. 

Although it’s possible to conduct some health research using non-animal models, there currently is no comprehensive, scientifically proven alternative to humane animal research. Wherever animal research is necessary, there is oversight at multiple levels from funding applications through to protocol development and study monitoring.