Philosophy - Index > Testing - Index

Clinical Trials
Support grows for animal-free labs
30 Nov 2005

In recent decades, the public has become increasingly sensitized to animal welfare issues. Of the various uses of animals that engender social concern, animal use in laboratories is among the most controversial. Many consumers have become increasingly willing to base their decision of which personal care and household products to purchase on whether or not a company conducts safety testing using animals. Many companies have committed to the use and development of exclusively non-animal tests, and others have invested millions of dollars to move in that direction. 1

Similarly, this controversy is expected to influence charitable giving, since some health charities still fund medical research using animals. Past surveys have suggested that a substantial portion of the public would, if given the choice, preferentially support health charities that do not fund animal experimentation. To assess long-term trends in giving preferences, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) conducted a series of public opinion surveys over nine years to gauge changing attitudes about charitable giving and animal experiments.

PCRM commissioned Opinion Research Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey, to conduct random telephone surveys of the general adult public in November 1996, November 2001, and July 2005 that asked individuals about their views on donating to health charities that do or do not fund animal research.

The surveys show that a steadily increasing percentage of respondents view the allocation of donations to animal experiments as unnecessary and prefer to donate to charities that fund only human-based research. In the 2005 survey, 71 percent of respondents said it is important to them that their donations be used for innovative non-animal research rather than animal experiments. Sixty-seven percent said they are more likely to donate to a health charity that has a policy of never funding animal experiments than to one that does - an increase of 20 percent from 2001 and 31 percent from 1996.

Support for humane giving, generally higher in younger age groups, is now growing faster in older populations. In 1996, 70 percent of young people were more likely to support health charities that never funded animal experiments, compared to 35 percent of those over age 65. But in 2005, while the average percentage of those under age 35 who support humane giving increased to a new high of 81 percent (a 16 percent increase), on average 55 percent of older donors felt similarly, an increase since 1996 of 57 percent.

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