Every year thousands of animals are tortured and killed in labs worldwide. Our drugs, food, cosmetics, self-care products, and even household products are tested on innocent animals long before they make it to store shelves. It has long been the consensus that if a product is safe for animals, it is safe for humans. This is not the truth at all.
DIFFERENT SPECIES, DIFFERENT RESULTS
The truth is that we are not the same species and therefore cannot say decidedly that any product will affect humans in precisely the same way it affects animals. Even species that most closely resemble humans have distinct physiological differences. These differences may seem insignificant, but they are often relevant enough to render tests inaccurate.
One drug study resulted in one death, four cases of brain damage, and even caused one volunteer to lose fingers and toes. Before initiating human trials, this drug had been extensively tested on rats, mice, dogs, rabbits, and even monkeys. Another drug caused at least 88,000 heart attacks and over 60,000 deaths. These are just two examples of many in which humans’ results were different from the results experienced by the animals.
In addition to errors created by differences in species, there are a couple of other reasons testing on animals in laboratories lead to inaccurate results. Human diseases do not occur naturally in animals, so they must be artificially created in the laboratory. Also, the laboratory environment itself is artificial, and the animals can vary in age, sex, diet, and more. The result of these different variables is often inconsistent results.
CRUEL ANIMAL TESTING METHODS
Animals in laboratories are subjected to horrendous tortures for human safety. Monkeys, dogs, and cats have painful electrodes inserted into their brains. Scientists force dogs, cats, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and many others to ingest or inhale vast quantities of the tested substance, resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding from the nose, mouth, or genitals, diarrhea, seizures, convulsions, paralysis and ultimately death.
Other animals in laboratories have chemicals smeared onto their skin or into their eyes. These tests result in ulcers, inflamed skin, bleeding, swollen eyelids, bloody scabs, irritated or cloudy eyes, and blindness.
Some are injected with test substances to study their allergic reactions. Some are given the test substance, then killed so that they can study the effects on the brain. They dose many animals for years before they kill them to search for signs of cancer.
The list goes on and on.
NON-ANIMAL TESTING OPTIONS
Scientific advances provide us with plenty of research alternatives that do not require the torture and sacrifice of innocent animals. Methods such as cell and tissue cultures, skin grown from human cells, and computer simulations provide much more applicable data to humans than animal testing. These and more methods in continual development render animal testing unnecessary and unjustifiable.
WHERE DO LAB ANIMALS COME FROM?
Each year an estimated 100 million animals are used in laboratory experiments consisting mostly of primates, dogs, pigs, sheep, rabbits, mice, and rats. But where do all of these animals come from?
In order to supply animals to labs a person must be licensed by the USDA as Class A or Class B animal dealers. Class A dealers maintain breeding colonies to send to animal laboratories. Class B dealers gather “random sourced” animals. These animals come from shelters, auctions, private breeders, and hunters. Some cities even have financial contracts with Class B dealers to hand over unwanted shelter pets to be used in scientific experiments. Because of their docile nature and size beagles are considered one of the best animals to do lab tests on.
Class B dealers are notorious for animal cruelty and breaking the law. It is not uncommon for them to gather animals for labs from illegal sources such as Craigslist and other “free-to-a-good-home” websites, stray animals, or even lost or stolen pets.
ANIMAL TESTING REQUIREMENTS
Many well-known companies still test on animals today. There is no legal requirement in the United States that household products or cosmetics be tested on animals. Some countries still require animal testing for these types of products, while other countries have banned the sale of products tested on animals.
Most companies are simply continuing with archaic practices because that is how they have always done things, or that is what is most accessible or most convenient. Some products, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and weed killers, are legally required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be tested on animals. Similarly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires animal testing for drugs and food additives or preservatives.
WORLD DAY FOR LABORATORY ANIMALS
April 24 is World Day for Laboratory Animals. On this day and its surrounding week, we remember the billions of animals who have suffered or lost their lives in labs worldwide.
What can you do to help end the suffering of innocent animals in laboratories worldwide? Contact your Representatives. Ask them to support measures to move away from animal testing and toward methods that do not rely on animal lives and are more relevant to humans.
Organizations like The Beagle Freedom Project are working hard to keep animals out of labs and to rescue the animals that have already been subjected to horrific tests. Beagle Freedom Project offers a free app called Cruelty Cutter to make cruelty-free shopping easy by allowing you to scan an item’s barcode to get an immediate answer about the animal testing status of the product.
Another great method to get the word out about animal testing is to share social media campaigns aimed at furthering awareness of animal suffering in laboratories. Donate to organizations whose goal is to liberate animals from labs and provide a better life for them.
Start a fundraiser to raise donations. Contact companies that still test on animals. Let them know you will not be purchasing their products until they no longer use animals in their testing. Bring your friends up to date on the plight of laboratory animals and how they can help. Read labels, do your research, and choose which products you buy with compassion.