Alternatives key events

2013 – Cosmetics testing on animals banned in EU

March 2013 saw the European Union pass a full ban on the sale of any and all cosmetic products that had been tested on animals. This was the result of over a decade’s work from […]

Read More

2010 – Organ-on-a-chip technology introduced

One of the most substantial modern breakthroughs in alternatives research came from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University in the form of the ‘organ-on-a-chip’ model in 2010. Scientists at the Institute […]

Read More

2010 – European Union agrees on Directive 63/2010/EU

Europe-wide regulation of animals used for scientific purposes made a significant advancement with the adoption of Directive 63/2010/EU in September of 2010. The new directive improved on the previous one, Directive 86/609/EEC, by removing many […]

Read More

2000- 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU) Phototoxicity Assay

In vitro phototoxicity tests measure skin irritation responses to agents without the need for an immune response.  This is accomplished by comparing the capacity for cell cultures to display a dye that is visible under UVA […]

Read More

2000s – Significant advancements in real-time 3D imaging

Medical imaging took a noteworthy step forward with the introduction of the capacity for 3-dimensional imagery during the early 2000’s. Enhanced computer software and imaging devices, such as the CT, PET, and MRI scans have […]

Read More

2000s – Human Genome Project successfully maps human DNA

In June 2006 it was announced that the first working draft of the full human DNA sequence had been released by the Human Genome Project. In the years following researchers all over the world have […]

Read More

1996 – First successful mammal cloning – Dolly the Sheep

In July 1996, the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh accomplished one of the greatest and most controversial feats in modern science with the successful cloning of a mammalian adult cell. Dolly the sheep […]

Read More

1993 – First World Congress

The first World Congress on Alternatives & Animal Use in the Life Sciences was held in Baltimore, Maryland, sponsored by CAAT (The Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing) It remains the primary international scientific […]

Read More

1991 – LD50 test banned

The highly controversial Median Lethal Dose Test, or LD50, was developed by J. W. Trevan in 1927 as a means to determine characteristics in acute toxicity. However, due to the necessity to terminate large numbers […]

Read More

1991 – Formation of ECVAM

In 1991 the European Union conceptualised the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and, under the stewardship of Michael Balls, became an operational research unit in 1992. Based in Ispra, Italy ECVAM’s […]

Read More

Early 1990s: First reconstituted human epidermis (RHE) skin model

Commercially available artificial human skin models developed in the early 1990s provided an extremely useful alternative for researchers studying in vitro skin corrosion and irritation, as well as topical responses and phototoxicity.  Prior to the […]

Read More

1986 – Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act passed in UK

The United Kingdom would take a major step forward in 1986 when it replaced the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1887 with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. Distinguishing itself from the original Act, ASPA was […]

Read More

1986 – EU Directive 86/609

EU Directive 86/609 for the protection of animals used for experimentation and other scientific purposes introduced. It included the rule : “An experiment shall not be performed if another scientifically satisfactory method of obtaining the result […]

Read More

1983 – Polymerase Chain Reaction developed

Since its original development by American biochemist Kary Mullis in 1983, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has become one of the most widely used and important technologies in molecular biology.  The ability for researchers to […]

Read More

1981 – CAAT founded

In 1981 the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland founded its Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) as part of the University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Its aim is to promote humane science by […]

Read More

1980 – First Transgenic Mouse

Genetic manipulation is a powerful tool that many researchers employ to study the effects, consequences, and cause of many biologic phenomena.  The ability to alter the genome provides levels of control that are not possible […]

Read More

1980s – Development of various computer models

The 1980s saw a huge drive towards the use of computer simulation and modelling software to reduce or replace the need for live animals in testing. The capacity for computers to help in diagnosing, imagery, […]

Read More

1980s – CR, MRI, and colour Doppler ultrasound imaging developed

Major advancements in medical imagery took place in the 1980s with the advent of Computer Radiology, Medical Resonance Imaging, and Colour Doppler ultrasound. Each technology varies in its conception and applications, yet all would prove […]

Read More

1978 – Synthetic production of human insulin

Prior to 1978, insulin for human use was purified from animal sources, commonly pigs or dogs. It was the work conducted by researchers at Genentech and City of Hope Medical Research Centre that would provide […]

Read More

1978 – First human stem cells discovered

Stem cell research shifted to humans in 1978 when Dr Gregor Pindull published findings of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in human cord blood. Previous work had been able to identify similar cells in other mammalian […]

Read More

1977 – First alternatives developed for skin irritants

Prior to 1977, tests for epidermal responses to substances were carried out primarily on animals, which generally produced misleading results. In order to effectively, and safely, investigate reactions in human subjects Griffith and Buehler developed […]

Read More

1969 – FRAME founded

FRAME was founded and registered as a charity in 1969 by Dorothy Hegarty in Wimbledon, London. Since then, FRAME has moved to its current office in Nottingham in 1981 and established the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory at […]

Read More

1966 – Animal Welfare Act passed in USA

The United States is one of the world’s prominent users of animals for experimental testing. A crucial moment for alternatives occurred in 1966 when the US passed the Animal Welfare Act, which, to this day, […]

Read More

1960 – First use of video to replace live animals in education

In 1960 the University of California produced a seven minute instructional video for students demonstrating the steps of anaphylaxis using a single guinea pig. Although the video depicts the full anaphylactic process, ultimately resulting in fatality, […]

Read More

1959 – Russell and Burch publish The Principles

The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique written by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch in 1959 is arguably the most influential moment in alternatives to the use of animals in experimentation history. Although it had little […]

Read More

1907 – Harrison grows from nerve cells by ‘hanging drop’ technique

The turn of the century witnessed an influx of cell culture in experimentation. However, few of the advancements made were as pivotal as the work conducted by Ross Granville Harrison at Johns Hopkins University in […]

Read More

1895 – Discovery of X-rays

German physicist Wilhelm Rontgen is recognised as the first individual to study the properties of X-rays in 1895. Roughly a decade later, X-rays would be adopted as a medical tool to non-invasively observe patients. The […]

Read More

1885 – Roux maintains embryonic chick cells in saline solution

The groundwork for modern tissue culture was established in 1885 by German Wilhelm Roux. An embryologist who studied developmental mechanics, Roux was curious about the evolutionary machinery at the cellular level. Roux’s work to isolate […]

Read More

1876 – Cruelty to Animals Act passed in UK

In 1876 the UK passed the Cruelty to Animals Act, which directly highlighted the practice of using animals as test subjects, and outlined prosecution for those considered to be unlawfully experimenting. Key points of the […]

Read More

1875 – First anti-vivisection organisation in the UK

As the 19th Century progressed, awareness of the controversy surrounding animal testing extended from academic communities into public opinion. Civilian protests, public debates and general uneasiness spread as more knowledge of the conditions, cruelty, and […]

Read More

1822 – First piece of law passed in UK specific to the protection of animals

The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act, also referred to as Martin’s Act, was the first piece of animal welfare legislation passed by the United Kingdom Parliament. The act was put in place to prevent the […]

Read More

1800s – Claude Bernard

The 19th Century French physiologist Claude Bernard, hailed as one of history’s prominent scientists, contributed to numerous fields of research, including originating the concept of homeostasis and the notion of  ‘blinding’ experiments. He was also an […]

Read More

1677 – van Leeuwenhoek’s early work on microscopy validated

Dutchman Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s ground-breaking early work on microscopy and observations of single-celled organisms has him fondly referred to as the ‘Father of Microbiology’. A talented lens-maker and passionate naturalist, Leeuwenhoek pioneered the process of […]

Read More

1655 – Edmund O’Meera: Unnatural State

The first public questioning of the validity of vivisection on medical grounds occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries. Notably, the Irish physician Edmund O’Meara who stated that ‘the miserable torture of vivisection places the […]

Read More

130-216 – Galen of Rome: Exploratory Surgery

During the height of the Roman Empire it became clear to ancient physicians that in order to better understand how natural systems work; they must be studied in their living states. That is, through the […]

Read More