Recently, a petition was offered to the European Commission calling for an immediate ban on animal testing. Although a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of animals in science is not yet possible, there has been a push by the non-scientific community and politicians for a rapid transition to animal-free innovations. However, advances on alternative methods have not progressed enough to be able to replace animal research in the foreseeable future. The current COVID-19 pandemic clearly highlights how much we actually rely on animal research. COVID-19 affects several organs and systems, and the various animal-free alternatives currently available do not come close to this complexity. In this Essay, the authors therefore argue that the use of animals is essential for the advancement of human and veterinary health.