Timeline of animal testing

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This is a timeline of animal testing, attempting to describe the use of non-human animals for scientific research and emergence of policies regulating testing. Most Nobel Prizes in Medicine have involved some form of animal research.[1]

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Time period Development summary
Ancient history Animals testing is early documented in the history of biomedical research. Aristotle and Erasistratus already perform experiments on living animals. Greek physician Galen also conducts experiments on animals to advance the understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Arab physician Ibn Zuhr introduces animal testing as an experimental method for testing surgical procedures before applying them to human patients.[2]
17th century Debates on the ethics of animal testing are already conducted in the seventeenth century.[2] Throughout the Age of Enlightenment, physiological experiments on animals are carried out for the purpose of scientific progress. However, the moral acceptability of inducing suffering in animals in the name of scientific advancement also becomes an issue raised in opposition of vivisection before the end of the century.[3]
18th century The century marks the rise of moral consideration for animals. Scientists like Stephen Hales and Albrecht Von Haller are known to be concerned about the moral justification of experimenting on animals.[3]
19th century By the beginning of the century, the topic of discussion is not if animals can feel or not and to what extent, but rather, whether vivisection is justifiable based on the benefit for humans derived from it. While the second half of the nineteenth century marks the beginning of scientifically meaningful and medically relevant animal research, this period also sees opposition to vivisection becoming widespread in England.[3]
20th century Before 1900, animal models were mainly used to study the pathophysiology of infections.[4] Drug testing using animals becomes important in the twentieth century.[2] The 1950s marks the beginning of a new concern for animals on the part of scientists and the public.[5]
21st century Recently, the practice of using animals for biomedical research has come under severe criticism by animal protection and animal rights groups, with several countries passing laws to make the practice more ‘humane’.[2] However it has been estimated that 100 million vertebrates are experimented on around the world every year,[6] with 10–11 million of them in the European Union.[7]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Location
300 Scientific development Writings of ancient civilizations all document the use of animal testing. These civilizations, led by men like Aristotle and Erasistratus, use live animals to test various medical procedures.[8]
1242 Scientific development Using animals to study blood circulation, Syrian Arab physician Ibn al-Nafis manages to theorize about the human blood circulatory system. His theories are eventually proven hundreds of years later by William Harvey.[8]
1596–1650 Scientific development French philosopher René Descartes performs vivisections on animals under his belief that animals are ‘machine-like’, interpreted as a belief that animals can not feel pain.[3] France
1660 Animal testing Anglo-Irish scientist Robert Boyle theorizes that living beings need air to live – something unknown at the time. Using animals, Boyle tests and proves his theories.[8] United Kingdom
1700s Animal testing Scientists like Stephen Hales and Luigi Galvani use animals to prove their scientific theories. Some of the theories proved during the 1700s include animation caused by electricity, respiration as combustion, and blood pressure theories.[8]
1724–1804 Ethical Development German philosopher Immanuel Kant acknowledges the sentience of non-human species.[3]
1783 Animal testing A sheep, duck and rooster are sent up in the newly invented hot-air balloon. The balloon flies for 3.2 kilometers and lands safely.[9]
1783–1855 Animal testing French physiologist François Magendie lives. Magendie is considered among the most infamous of his time for the types of experiments he conducts and the cruelty they entail. A notorious vivisector, Magendie would shock even many of his contemporaries with the live dissections performed by him at public lectures in physiology.[3] France
1840s Animal testing Animal experimentation becomes routine after the discovery of anesthetic allows for experiments on animals to continue with less guilt due to less pain inducement.[3]
1866 Organization Philantropist Henry Bergh founds the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which would press unsuccessfully for laws to abolish experiments involving animals in the 1860s and 1870s.[10] United States
1875 Organization The Victoria Street Society for the Protection of Animals Liable to Vivisection is founded. It is the first society for animal protection.
1876 Legal Great Britain passes the Cruelty to Animals Act.[8] However, the Act's implementation permits "a great amount of pain and suffering to animals", and the adequacy of anaesthetics is questionable.[11] United Kingdom
1880 Animal testing French biologist Louis Pasteur uses sheep and anthrax to prove the theory that germs are harmful and what causes illness. He eventually develops the practice of pasteurization, which consists in boiling the milk to kill bacteria and germs.[8] France
1883 Organization American philanthropist Caroline Earle White establishes the American Anti-Vivisection Society.[10] United States
1890s Animal testing Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov uses dogs to describe classical conditioning.[12] Russia
1901 Animal testing German physiologist Emil von Behring uses guinea pigs to test his theories on diphtheria, and later uses the findings to create an immunization for humans. Von Behring would be awarded the Nobel Prize for his advancement of medicine.[8] Germany
1920 Animal testing English electrophysiologist Edgar Adrian experiments on a frog to prove the way the brain sends signals for communication. Adrian is later awarded the Nobel Prize for his findings.[8]
1921 Animal testing Canadian scientist Frederick Banting uses dogs, and later cows, to experiment with the pancreas and insulin to develop a treatment for diabetes.[8]
1938 Policy The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires safety testing of drugs on animals before they can be marketed.[2][13] United States
1940s Animal testing By experimenting on guinea pigs, Corwin Hinshaw finds that antibodies found in the soil could help cure tuberculosis.[8]
1940s Animal testing American medical researcher Jonas Salk uses monkeys to isolate and vaccinate against the polio virus.[8]
1949 Animal testing Albert II becomes the first monkey in space on June 4, 1949. He reaches an altitude of 83 miles (134 km), but dies on impact when the parachute fails.[9]
1950s Animal testing Scientists use rodents, dogs, cats, monkeys, and rabbits to test the use of anesthesia.[8] In the 1950s, the Soviet Union launches a total of 12 dogs on various suborbital flights. Stray dogs are used since they are thought to be capable of handling extreme cold.[9]
1951 Organization The Animal Welfare Institute is founded.[5]
1957 (November 3) Animal testing Laika becomes the first animal sent into orbit.[14] Russia
1959 Ethical Development William Russell and Rex Burch publish The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique.[5]
1960 Animal testing American cardiovascular surgeon Albert Starr pioneers heart valve replacement surgery in humans after a series of surgical advances in dogs.[15] United States
1963 Animal testing France launches the first cat into space. Félicette reaches an altitude of 160 km and lands safely.[9] France
1963 Animal testing South African biologist Sydney Brenner proposes research into nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, primarily in the area of neuronal development.[16]
1964–1966 Animal testing China launches mice, rats and dogs into space.[9] China
1966 Policy The United States Congress passes the Animal Welfare Act, a federal law regulating animal use in the United States.[5] United States
1968 Animal testing Medics and scientists use dogs to attempt the replacing of a heart valve. Other studies using animals today include the studying of AIDS and leprosy.[8]
1968 Animal testing First animals are sent in deep space and to circle the Moon. The Soviet Zond 5 becomes the first spacecraft to circle the satellite, carrying a payload of two Russian tortoises, wine flies, mealworms, plants, seeds and bacteria.[9]
1970s Animal testing Australian psychiatrist John Cade uses lithium salts in guinea pigs in his investigation to find a treatment for depression and other manic conditions.[8]
1974 Animal testing German biologist Rudolf Jaenisch manages to produce the first transgenic mammal, by integrating DNA from the SV40 virus into the genome of mice.[17]
1975 Ethical Development Australian philosopher Peter Singer publishes Animal Liberation, arguing that the interests of animals should be considered because of their ability to feel suffering and that the idea of rights was not necessary to weigh against the relative worth of animal experimentation.
1980 (approximate) Activism The movement against animal testing in North America begins.[3] United States
1986 Statistics The United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment reports that estimates of the animals used in the United States range from 10 million to upwards of 100 million each year, and that their own best estimate is at least 17 million to 22 million.[18] United States
1991 Organization The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods is established to develop alternatives to animal testing.[19]
1992 Statistics Researchers at Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy estimate that 14–21 million animals were used in U.S. laboratories in 1992, a reduction from a high of 50 million used in 1970.[20] United States
1996 Animal testing Dolly the sheep becomes the first cloned animal, coming from an adult sheep cell. Science continues using animals for research, in spite of protests.[3][8]
1996 Activism The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics is formed by animal protection groups. It manages the Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certification program in the United States and Canada.[19] North America
1997 Animal testing Innovations in frogs, Xenopus laevis by developmental biologist Jonathan Slack of the University of Bath, create headless tadpoles, which could allow future applications in donor organ transplantation.[21] United Kingdom
1998 Policy Animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients is banned in the United Kingdom.[19] United Kingdom
2000 Policy The Interagency Coordination Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) Authorization Act is signed in the United States. The law establishes a coordinated effort by U.S. agencies to evaluate and adopt alternative test methods.[19] United States
2001 Statistics The number of mice and rats used in the United States alone in 2001 is estimated at 80 million.[22] United States
2001 Statistics China exports over 12,000 macaques for research in 2001 (4,500 to the United States), all from self-sustaining purpose-bred colonies.[23] The second largest source is Mauritius, from which 3,440 purpose-bred cynomolgous macaques were exported to the United States in 2001.[24] China, Mauritius
2004 Policy A law phasing out the production and sale of animal tested cosmetics is passed by the European Union.[19] European Union
2004 Policy The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approves non-animal alternative tests for dermal absorption, dermal corrosivity, and dermal phototoxicity.[19]
2005 Policy The Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM) is established.[19] Japan
2007 Statistics As of date, the United States and Gabon are the only countries that still use chimpanzees for research purposes.[25][26] United States, Gabon
2008 Animal testing The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency uses live pigs to study the effects of improvised explosive device explosions on internal organs, especially the brain.[27] United States
2009 Policy The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development approves non-animal alternative tests for ocular toxicity.[19]
2010 Policy The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development approves a non-animal alternative test for dermal irritation.[19]
2010 Policy A law phasing out the sale of animal tested cosmetics is passed in Israel.[19] Israel
2011 Statistics The United States has the largest colony in the world of more than 1,000 chimpanzees at six laboratories.[28]
2011 (December 15) The United States National Academy of Medicine committee concludes in their Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity report that “while the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in past research, most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary".[29] United States
2013 Policy Ban on the sale of all cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals is implemented in Israel.[19] Israel
2013 Policy Ban on cosmetic animal testing and the sale of newly animal tested cosmetics is implemented in Norway.[19] Norway
2014 Policy The Humane Cosmetics Act (HCA) legislation is introduced in the United States, to prohibit cosmetic animal testing and the sale of newly animal tested cosmetics.[19] United States
2014 Policy India bans cosmetic animal testing."[19] India
2014 Policy A rule to remove mandatory animal testing for non-special use cosmetics manufactured within China is implemented by the government.[19] China
2015 (December) Policy Canada reintroduces the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act.[19] Canada
2015 Statistics An article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics argues that the use of animals in the United States dramatically increased in recent years. Researchers find this increase is largely the result of an increased reliance on genetically modified mice in animal studies.[30] United States
2016 (June) Policy Ban of production and sale of animal-tested cosmetics is announced in Australia.[19] Australia
2016 (October) Policy Cosmetic animal testing for finished products and ingredients is banned in Taiwan.[19] Taiwan
2016 (December) Policy An ordinance to ban the sale of newly animal tested cosmetics is passed in Switzerland.[19] Switzerland
2016 Statistics The United States Department of Agriculture lists testing animals that include 60,979 dogs, 18,898 cats, 71,188 non-human primates, 183,237 guinea pigs, 102,633 hamsters, 139,391 rabbits, 83,059 farm animals, and 161,467 other mammals, a total of 820,812, a figure that includes all mammals except purpose-bred mice and rats.[31] United States
2016 Statistics A total of 18,898 cats – which are most commonly used in neurological research – were used in the United States in the year,[31] around a third of which were used in experiments which have the potential to cause "pain and/or distress"[32] United States
2017 (February) Policy Guatemala becomes first country in the Americas to ban cosmetic animal testing.[19] Guatemala
2017 (June) Policy The Humane Cosmetics Act is reintroduced in the United States.[19] United States
2017 (October) Policy New alternative test methods for ocular toxicity and skin allergy are approved by OECD.[19]
2017 (December) Policy Legislation banning sale of animal-tested cosmetics is introduced in South Africa.[19] South Africa

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See also

External links


  1. Coyne, Mark S.; Allin, Craig Willard; Adams, McCrea. Natural Resources: Abrasives; general mining law of 1872. 
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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 "Medical Testing on Animals: A Brief History". animaljustice.ca. Retrieved 22 September 2018. 
  4. Animal Testing in Infectiology (Axel Schmidt, Olaf F. Weber ed.). 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hayhurst, Chris. Animal Testing: The Animal Rights Debate. 
  6. Taylor, Katy; Gordon, Nicky; Langley, Gill; Higgins, Wendy (2008). "Estimates for worldwide laboratory animal use in 2005". ATLA. FRAME. 36 (3): 327–42. PMID 18662096. 
  7. Hunter, Robert G. (1 January 2014). "Alternatives to animal testing drive market". Gen. Eng. Biotechnol. News. 34 (1). p. 11. While growth has leveled off and there have been significant reductions in some countries, the number of animals used in research globally still totals almost 100 million a year. 
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  11. Lyons, Dan. The Politics of Animal Experimentation. 
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  13. Gad, Shayne C. Animal Models in Toxicology. 
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  16. Brenner S (May 1974). "The genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans". Genetics. 77 (1): 71–94. PMC 1213120Freely accessible. PMID 4366476. 
  17. Jaenisch R, Mintz B (1974). "Simian Virus 40 DNA Sequences in DNA of Healthy Adult Mice Derived from Preimplantation Blastocysts Injected with Viral DNA". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 71 (4): 1250–4. PMC 388203Freely accessible. PMID 4364530. doi:10.1073/pnas.71.4.1250. 
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  20. Rowan, A., Loew, F., and Weer, J. (1995) "The Animal Research Controversy. Protest, Process and Public Policy: An Analysis of Strategic Issues." Tufts University, North Grafton. cited in Carbone 2004, p. 26.
  21. Morton, Oliver; Williams, Nigel (1997). "First Dolly, Now Headless Tadpoles". 278 (5339): 798–798. JSTOR 2894431. 
  22. Carbone, p. 26.
  23. Council, National Research (29 July 2003). "International Perspectives: The Future of Nonhuman Primate Resources: Proceedings of the Workshop Held April 17-19, 2002". nap.edu. doi:10.17226/10774. Retrieved 6 October 2018. 
  24. Council, National Research (29 July 2003). "International Perspectives: The Future of Nonhuman Primate Resources: Proceedings of the Workshop Held April 17-19, 2002". nap.edu. doi:10.17226/10774. Retrieved 6 October 2018. 
  25. Cohen, Jon (26 January 2007). "The Endangered Lab Chimp". Science. 315 (5811): 450–452. PMID 17255486. doi:10.1126/science.315.5811.450. Retrieved 6 October 2018 – via www.sciencemag.org. 
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  27. Brook, Tom Vanden, "Brain Study, Animal Rights Collide", USA Today (7 April 2009), p. 1.
  28. "Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories: Facilities and Numbers". releasechimps.org. Retrieved 6 October 2018. 
  29. "Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity". iom.edu. Retrieved 6 October 2018. 
  30. Goodman, J.; Chandna, A.; Roe, K. (2015). "Trends in animal use at US research facilities". Journal of Medical Ethics. 41 (7): 567–569. PMID 25717142. doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102404. Retrieved 6 October 2018. 
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