It is arguable that animal testing =has= been useful in the past. This does NOT mean that it is of any value today. For this, the case must be re-examined, fully and without prejudice.
I believe that alternatives to animal testing are reaching the point where they are viable alternatives in SOME areas. Where this is the case, you need to examine if these alternatives are as good (or possibly better) than existing animal testing methods.
IMHO, if you have two alternatives that are of EQUAL quality (as far as the results are concerned), then you can EITHER go for the more ethical OR the cheaper of the two, depending on your priorities. You don't =have= to keep doing the same thing, merely because it IS doing the same thing.
Now, there may be some rare cases where alternatives exist which are vastly superior to animal testing. These would probably include any medical research where there are simply no animals close enough to humans to produce reliable results, although there may well be other cases, too.
Now, again, IMHO, it would be stupidity in the extreme to insist on continuing animal research in these cases. Nobody has to prove a point, or "beat the other side". Research is about results, not egos. And =IF= some research is better done through computer simulation, through mnufacturing cells of various types, or whatever, then that is the way to go.
Pink, fluffy bunnies have nothing to do with this issue, in reality, except insofar as they'd probably not object to someone finding alternatives to any research they're used for.
IMHO, ultra-conservative "traditionalists" are as much a curse on medical research as any animal liberation group. Necessary animal research is one thing. Knowingly UNnecessary animal research, out of traditionalism or willful pride is quite another.
For those who will argue the ethics side, I'm deliberately leaving that out of this post. I want a clear distinction between research which cannot be done by other means to the standards necessary and research which has no function or purpose which cannot be achieved equally well or better by other means. That way, the two cases can be argued seperately, rather than get mixed together in some convoluted mish-mash.
Ethics vary between people, so IMHO it's best to not argue that case, where it's not necessary.
To round this off, I had better give some examples of where animal research CAN or HAS been supplanted:
- Contamination of pharmacuticals can be detected much more accurately using small amounts of blood from horseshoe crabs, than by testing small quantities on a statistically-meaningful number of animals. It's not harmful to the crab, and definitely better for the animals, and has a much higher rate of detection.
- Laser treatments for eye problems (such as cateracts) can be done by computer simulation, for the most part. Eyes are not complex organs, and it isn't as though you're watching for effects in other parts of the body. For this reason, even those experiments that can't be done on computer ONLY require an eye.