Food for Thought on the Economics of Animal Testing

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Food for Thought … on the Economics of Animal Testing

Annamaria A. Bottini1,3 and Thomas Hartung2,4

EU Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, 1ISD and 2IPSC / TRiVA, 3European School of Economics, Milan, Italy, 4Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

“Money makes the world go around.” We all know the truth in this line from the movie “Cabaret”, but in the field of alternative methods we talk about ethics, scientific progress, politics, animal welfare or consumer and environmental safety but rarely about money. In this series of articles, we have occasionally touched on issues that are difficult to separate from economic aspects. Most obviously, the article on globalisation (Bottini et al., 2007) showed the resonance between a major economic trend and recent developments in the field of alternative methods. Most recently, the articles on cosmetics and food safety testing in this series included aspects of regulation and economic impact (Hartung, 2008b; Hartung and Koeter, 2008). Last but not least, the article on animal experimentation (Hartung, 2008a) touched on the economic implications of animal testing. Now, we would like to expand on the economic forces influencing the field of alternative methods. This requires a review of the major industries regulated by animal testing, differences between the nations, functions of animal testing in the economic cycle, alternative methods as a market, and costs of limitations of current practices and economic forces, which might force change.

Alfred A. Knopf stated “An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible” and John Kenneth Galbraith said “Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists”. By combining our scientific and legal/economical expertise, the authors aim to formulate some considerations that are not completely obvious and to express them comprehensibly. As always, we encourage comments and replies to see...