Mona Lisa Production for France 5
The European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use, re-opens a sensitive debate: Should laboratory animals be sacrificed in large numbers in order to ensure the safety of chemical substances for humans? 2.5 million animals over 10 years according to some sources. 54 million according to others. Such a huge difference shows how difficult it is to estimate alternative methods to the use of laboratory animals. The film looks into these alternatives.
It also sheds light on how to avoid in vivo experiments, either by replacing them with in vitro methods that scientific advances have now made possible: cellular cultures, gene selection, and miniature reproduction of living systems. Or via so-called in silico experiments: computer modelling ranging from digital simulation to virtual cloning of animals. The film looks at the advantages and the limits of these methods. Do research scientists view the laboratory animal as a tool or living being? What is the life of an animal in the strange environment of the lab? These questions point to the need to define the status of an animal in a world dominated by human needs demands.
Writers: Pierre Francois Gaudry and Vincent Amouroux
Producer: Thierry Berrod
LAB ANIMAL KINGDOM is being shown as part of the 2012 European Science TV and New Media Festival at 10:00 on Sunday 15th July 2012. A full festival programme can be found here.