The imminent closure of the Animal Resource Centre (ARC) in Western Australia presents an excellent opportunity for the National Health and Medical Research Council to make a commitment to reducing animal experiments by redirecting funding towards superior, human-based research methods.
Organoids, organ-chips, computational analysis and other excellent methods are available, but their use is limited by a severe lack of funding. Government organizations in other countries are taking concrete steps to reduce animal research by allocating greater funding towards alternatives.
In 2016, the Netherlands presented a strategy to phase out regulatory animal experiments by 2025. In the U.S. sixteen federal agencies jointly released a “Strategic Roadmap” in 2018 which aims to replace animal testing with human-based methods. Additionally in 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency committed to phasing out all testing on mammals by 2035.
In 2019, the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK made the decision to close its substantial mouse breeding facility in favor of greater focus on human relevant organoid research and expansion of the Human Cell Atlas.
The closure of ARC is an ideal time for NHMRC to develop and implement a plan for reducing animal testing and to redirect funding towards modern, effective, human-based research to advance biomedical progress.