Animal testing

animal testing image1.2 million EU citizens have signed a petition for the complete ban of animal testing. Their argument being it is both unethical and not useful. In this activity students are asked to decide whether they agree. They apply their knowledge about how asthma affects the gas exchange system to examine evidence and decide if animal testing is essential to developing new asthma drugs. They also learn about how to use ethical thinking to make difficult decisions and study different ethical viewpoints.


This material is called a Sequence, as it is designed to last two lessons. It explicitly teaches an important Working Scientifically skill, as well as developing science knowledge.

Science objective

Breathing: show how asthma affects the structure of the gas exchange system (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Designed for the KS3 Science SyllabusEnquiry objective

Examine consequences:  Select the choice which maximises the benefits and minimises the harm. List relevant ‘we should, or should not’ rules that everyone should follow (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Try the activity

Running the activity

Lesson 1

Engage Get students interested in the issue of animal testing
Review Students review their understanding of the gas exchange system
Consider Groups use evidence to discuss how essential animal testing is in drug development

Lesson 2

Engage Review the dilemma about signing the petition to ban animal testing
Play Students play a game to learn about how to use the three kinds of ethical thinking
Decide Groups use ethical thinking to write arguments for a class debate

For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


The European’s commission’s response

Their response to the petition (the ‘Stop Vivisection’ European Citizens’ Initiative)

Stop Vivisection

Arguments against the use of animal testing

Understanding animal research

Arguments for the use of animal testing

Animal testing in asthma research

This article outlines research that may lead to a new asthma drug which was developed using animal testing

Understanding asthma

A short video clip about the experience of having asthma and how animal research has contributed to treating asthma.