Animal Chaplain April 2024

April 24 is World Day for Laboratory Animals, highlighting the plight of the 115 million animals who suffer and die in laboratories worldwide each year.  While there is more to do, 2024’s commemoration involves an important new development.  The National Institutes of Health, a major funder of research in the United States, has committed to promoting non-animal science.  NIH will now provide funding and training opportunities for animal-free science; it has created a new Common Fund program that will ensure resources are available for implementing human-relevant, non-animal technology.  Non-animal options for research include cell models and computer models. 

The NIH decision followed a similar move by the European Union, and a bipartisan Congressional Letter to NIH from members of Congress led by Representative Nancy Mace (R.-S.C.) and Representative Ted Lieu (D.-Ca.).  As stated in the letter, “NIH’s own startling statistic shows that 95% of new drugs fail in human trials and 90% of basic research fails to lead to human therapies.” 

Animal advocacy organizations believe this NIH decision will lead to better outcomes for humans and could prove to be a turning point in the history of research.