by Michele McKay
Chemical, pharmaceutical, and medical research laboratories use live animals to test everything from shampoo to surgical procedures. There are more than 115 million dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, and other mammals that suffer and die each year, but 80 percent of the lab animals used – mice, rats and birds – are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act, and therefore are not counted. For research and teaching labs, animals are merely disposable tools.
Are the animals hurt during testing?
Animals endure chemicals being dripped into their eyes, injected into their bodies, forced up their nostrils or forced down their throats. They are addicted to drugs, forced to inhale/ingest toxic substances, subjected to maternal deprivation, deafened, blinded, burned, stapled, and infected with disease viruses. These treatments are exempt from anti-cruelty statutes, and worse yet, undercover investigations have exposed violations of animal welfare policies and cases of extreme negligence at labs and universities.
Is there an alternative?
In addition to being humane, the alternatives to animal tests are efficient and reliable. Successful alternatives include the use of human volunteers, cell and tissue cultures, synthetic membranes, statistics, scanning technologies, and computer models.
Computer simulations and multimedia CD-ROMs are more economical and effective than using live animal “specimens” as teaching tools. Students can borrow software designed to satisfy course requirements by contacting the Ethical Science Education Coalition, the National Anti-Vivisection Society, or the Humane Society of the US.
What you can do:
- Write to the U.S. National Institutes of Health and tell them you don’t want your tax dollars used to underwrite animal experiments.
- Write to the U.S. EPA and FDA, urging them to stop requiring cruel and obsolete animal tests, and to approve other testing methods.
- Don’t own stock in companies that conduct animal tests.
- Give only to charities that do not experiment on animals.
Buy products that are cruelty-free.
- Visit www.peta.org for lists of companies that test on animals.
- Write to product manufacturers for information on their practices.
Shop at Down to Earth, where all products are free of animal testing.