Animal Testing

“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: Because the animals are like us. Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: Because the animals are not like us. Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.” – Professor Charles R. Magel

“The very idea that one species could serve as a model for a different species ignores the basic principles of biology.” – British Medical Journal, 18th February 2002

Animal Testing is primarily used for testing cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, and studying the effect of using these products on animals to predict whether the said products would be beneficial for humans or not. It is also used in biomedical training centers and research institutes, where animals are used for the practice commonly refered to as “vivisection”.

Pre-university students, not only in the United States, but also in countries such as India and Australia, also practice dissecting animals, often procured from dubious breeding houses that breed animals for the sole purpose of selling them off to these universities and colleges.

(Busting some) Myths and (exposing some) Facts about Animal Testing

  • The rationale behind animal experimentation rests on the belief that animals serve as good models for the human body…. an assumption that has been proven wrong time and again through modern research. Taking a healthy being from a completely different species, artificially inducing a condition, keeping him or her in an unnatural and stressed condition, and trying to apply the “results” to naturally occurring diseases in human beings is dubious at best, and dangerous at worst.
  • Americans have spent almost $200 billion on cancer research since 1971 (through taxes, donations, and private funding). However, more than 500,000 Americans die of cancer every year. Richard Klausner, former head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has observed, “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in humans.”

    Conclusion: For cancer research, we cannot extrapolate research data across species, with any kind of reliability.

  • Dr. Gibbs, a renowned scientist writes: ‘To the 2.6 million people around the world afflicted with multiple sclerosis, medicine has offered more frustration than comfort. Time after time, researchers have discovered new ways to cure laboratory rats of experimental induced encephalomyelitis, the murine model of MS, only to face obstacles in bringing the treatment to humans’. [Appeared in the scientific journal: Experimental and Molecular Medicine, 1999:31:115-121]
  • In February 2004, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and several British universities published a paper in the British Medical Journal titled “Where Is the Evidence That Animal Research Benefits Humans?” The researchers systematically examined animal studies and concluded that little evidence exists to support the idea that animal experimentation has benefited humans.
  • p>Some Researchers claim that they have no options but to conduct animal trials. The scientifically verified fact, however, is that Human clinical and epidemiological studies, cadavers, and computer simulators are more reliable, more precise, less expensive, and more humane than animal tests.
  • Creative scientists have used human brain cells to develop a model “microbrain” which can be used to study tumors, as well as artificial skin and bone marrow. We can now test irritancy on protein membranes, produce vaccines from human tissues, and perform pregnancy tests using blood samples instead of killing rabbits.
  • Gordon Baxter, cofounder of Pharmagene Laboratories, which uses only computers and human tissues to create and test drugs once said, If you have information on human genes, what’s the point of going back to animals?
  • For decades, and up to this day, animal experimenters have been testing cigarettes and their components on animals. They have forced primates, dogs, rabbits, and rats to breathe concentrated cigarette smoke to determine what its effects are. However, after all these decades of research, their results continue to be “inconclusive” because some species suffer negative effects while others do not experience any health problems. In the meantime, millions suffer all sorts of respiratory diseases caused directly or indirectly through smoking.
  • The fourth biggest killer was in the UK is not cancer, road accidents or disease, but in fact, side effects from the very drugs that are meant to be saving people in the first place. Hundreds of drugs are released onto the market and are then withdrawn after causing unforeseen effects in people – such as the recent examples of Opren and Seroxat (drugs that approved through animal testing, but killed thousands of humans). So, why then do we keep testing on animals ? In a word: money.
  • Researchers get grants to conduct research on animals, where the experiments are funded by big businesses (such as the notorious GlaxoSmithKline – the company that was behind Seroxat), research charities (such as Wellcome Trust) and taxpayers.
  • Physiological reactions to drugs vary enormously from species to species. Penicillin kills guinea pigs despite being inactive in rabbits; aspirin kills cats and causes birth defects in rats, mice, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys; and morphine, a depressant in humans, stimulates goats, cats, and horses. Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, remarked:

    “How fortunate we didn’t have these animal tests in the 1940s, for penicillin would probably have never been granted a license, and probably the whole field of antibiotics might never have been realized.”

  • Every year, cosmetics companies kill millions of animals to test their products. These companies claim they test on animals to establish the safety of their products and ingredients for consumers. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. does not require animal testing for cosmetics. In 2003, the EU passed a ban on the use of animals in cosmetics testing starting in 2009, and a complete sales ban effective in 2013. So why do some American companies still insist on conducting these barbaric and obsolete tests?
  • Experimenters claim a “right” to inflict pain on animals based on animals’ supposed lack of reason. But if lack of reason truly justified animal experimentation, experimenting on human beings with “inferior” mental capabilities, such as infants and the mentally retarded, would also be acceptable. So, this is also a moot point. The fact is that these researchers lack basic concern for non-humans, and are more bothered about their own name and fame in the scientific circles. It is this lack of empathy for animals that allows them to come up with ludicrous justifications for their cruel “scientific” practices.