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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.

Facts about the cruelty involved in animal testing - A look under the hood

Millions of animals used in dissection, tens of thousands of live mice, rabbits, rats, and turtles are tortured and killed in college- and university-level physiology and psychology demonstrations. Turtles have nails driven into their brains and holes drilled into their shells so that their hearts can be viewed and manipulated, and frogs are paralyzed so that their exposed muscles can be stimulated by electricity.

Mice, dogs, rabbits and rats are subjected to highly invasive procedures at the hands of students and professors who have absolutely no veterinary medical training whatsoever. Other live animals are subjected to electric shock, starvation, maternal deprivation, aggression, and more in debilitating experiments designed to "mimic" human disorders.

In U.S. laboratories every year, lab technicians put monkeys and chimpanzees (known for their socially active lifestyles) behind cold, hard steel bars with no families, no companions, no grooming, no nests, "inducing" loneliness that goes on for so many years that most chimpanzees sink into depression, eventually losing their minds.

Animals are infected with diseases that they would never normally contract tiny mice grow tumors as large as their own bodies, kittens are purposely blinded, rats are made to suffer seizures. Experimenters force-feed chemicals to animals, conduct repeated surgeries on them, implant wires in their brains, crush their spines, and much more.

Some U.S. Universities, like the University of North Carolina have lab employees kill mice by cutting off their heads with scissors and amputating toes of animals.

At Covance Laboratories, where a PETA undercover investigator worked for 11 months, thick tubes were forced up monkeys nostrils and down their throats in order to pump doses of deadly compounds into their stomachs. After being dosed once or twice, the monkeys began to clamp their mouths shut, refusing to allow the technicians to poison them. PETA investigator then documented the technicians behavior as they violently choked, punched, and shook the animals.

Current issues:

A PETA investigation revealed grotesque abuses to animals in laboratories at Columbia University, including subjecting baboons to invasive surgeries and leaving them to suffer and die in their cages without any painkillers. Monkeys with metal pipes surgically implanted in their skulls were traumatized for the sole purpose of inducing stress in order to study the connection between stress and women's menstrual cycles.

There is hope that animal testing for determining toxic chemicals will be limited. U.S. government scientists proposed on 14th Feb. this year that tey are in favour of limiting the testing of potentially toxic chemicals on animals and replacing it with new high-tech testing methods. The new systems the agencies hope to use rely on human cells grown in test tubes and computer-driven testing machines. They allow the scientists to examine potentially toxic compounds in the lab rather than injecting them into animals. The agencies acknowledge that full implementation of the shift in toxicity testing could take years because it will require scientific validation of the new approaches.

In Nepal, rhesus monkeys either co-habitat with humans as revered temple monkeys or live a tribal life deep in the high mountain forest. They are an integral part of the land's eco-system and culture and are worshipped by the Hindu population. However, commercial interests have led to the removal of monkeys from their natural environment. Instead of living a free life in temple compounds or in the jungle, some rhesus monkeys have been put behind bars. Here they undergo tests to benefit biomedical and possibly bio-terrorism research in the USA.

Tagged Photos

Most Noteworthy Organization

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters.

PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. 

What you can do

  • If you are student attending school in one of the following states in the US: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon , Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia; then you can simply say NO to dissection. These states have dissection choice laws or policies in place. Make use of them, and encourage your classmates to do the same.

  • If you are a student residing in some other US state or outside the US, you should meet with the instructor right away and tell him or her that you cannot participate in the dissection because of your "sincerely held religious and moral beliefs about the sanctity of all life" and ask for a non-animal alternative. These words provide the basis for a possible legal case. If your instructors disagree, propose software alternatives. Here are some that you can suggest:

  • V-Frog is the world's first virtual-reality-based frog dissection software designed for biology education -- allowing not mere observation, but physically simulated dissection.

    Using a standard computer mouse, the software can be used to simulate nearly unlimited manipulation of specimen tissue. Students can "pick up" a scalpel, cut open V-Frog's skin, and explore the internal organs -- with true real-time interaction and 3-D navigation that actually accommodates discovery and procedures not possible with a physical frog specimen.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Ventura Educational Systems offers humane CD-ROM alternatives for a frog, fetal pig, and earthworm.

  • The award-winning Digital Frog 2 allows students to perform an in-depth "dissection" of a computer-generated frog with a digital scalpel. The program also includes animations, quizzes, videos, and information about frog behavior, ecology, and environmental issues. A study conducted by researchers at George Mason University (US) found that Digital Frog taught students lessons of anatomy more effectively and in less time than traditional animal dissection.

    Click here to learn more.

Click here to learn more about cruelty free dissection softwares.

ACTION ALERTS
Stop Cruel Primate Testing and Experiments

Because chimpanzees are 99% genetically compatible to humans, scientists in the United States use them as experiments in traumatic and extremely invasive tests. Many of the chimps are mistreated physically and psychologically in order to compare their reactions to ours, but the majority of tested primates end up traumatized, debilitated, or dead. Do not allow brutal lab tests to continue against innocent chimps in America.

Do Not Expand Primate Lab - End Animal Testing

On Thursday October 2nd, The University of Washington Board of Regents voted to approve plans for a new underground, $123.5 million animal-research facility. This would allow the university to increase the number of primates, cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs and mice dramatically. While the number of animal testing facilities has dropped nationwide, UW is planning to expand. Please join me in calling on the Board of Regents to reverse this decision and phase out all animal testing.

Sponsored by: Kate Coklin Seattle, WA

Stop Animal Testing - L'Oreal

PETA and some other organizations have been investigating L'Oreal, and have found that they are still animal testing. Some of the things they do to animals are:

* Putting harsh chemicals in rabbit eyes because rabbits dont have tear ducts and cannot relive pain in their eyes

*Scraping skin off of different animals until their skin is ultra-sensitive, then they apply dangerous chemicals to their skin and make sure they cant rub or itch their skin. The chemicals are kept there for a long period of time to be sure they dont irritate human skin.

*They sometimes test even finished products on animals, which can make their skin and fur crusty and irritated.

Target: L'Oreal

Take the PLEDGE to choose cruelty-free household products

There are laws against testing cosmetics and toiletries on animals in Australia, yet sadly many big-name brands such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and L'Oreal still fund painful and often lethal tests on animals in other countries before sending their products down under. Choosing non animal-tested products is the key to ending this cruel practice.

Call on Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Colgate/Palmolive to stop testing on animals.

While our laws make it difficult to test cosmetic products on animals in Australia, many companies like Procter & Gamble (who own Gillette, Pantene, Oral-B, Covergirl, and others), Unilever (who own Dove, Rexona, Lynx, SunSilk, and others) and Colgate/Palmolive still allow animal testing of their products.



Online Resources

What is animal testing ? 

Background and history of animal testing.

Facts about animal testing.

Animal testing myths.

Animals used for experimentation. (PETA)

What type of animals are needed for research ?

Animals Australia's page on animal experimentation

Humane Society International's campaign on ending animal testing

Alternatives to animal testing.

Animal testing and alternatives (PCRM)



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