As part of World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week I have asked my human brother, Paul to be my guest blogger. His writing professor assigned the task of writing a compelling argument. Paul chose animal testing as his topic. While difficult to read at times his argument presents the facts of animal testing and why this outdated practice has run it’s course and needs to end. Thank you Paul and you deserved every bit of the A your professor gave you.
Luv n Wags,
by Paul Aubry
Poor helpless animals are being put through constant torture in order to ensure the safety of the products we use every day. But what makes human safety more important than the lives of these defenseless creatures we share this earth with? Rats and mice are not the only animals tested on. Dogs, rabbits, monkeys, cats, and pigs are only a short list of other animals that are induced with toxic chemicals for the safety of man. Roughly 100 million mice and rats are killed a year in the United States; as well as 1.13 million dogs, cats, monkeys and pigs are tested on in a year. (peta.org) Prior to their death; these animals will be subject to forced inhalation and ingestion of various chemicals and products. Others will be placed in restraints and have their heads drilled, for experimentation purposes, whilst still conscious and without being administered any sort of anesthetic. The large corporations of America are mostly responsible for this torture. Corporations ranging from beauty products like Dove, to cleaning products like Arm and Hammer. (peta.org) These companies test products regardless if they have been previously tested and continue to produce the same results of dead or sickly animals time and time again.
There are three main types of tests administered to animals for cosmetic or beauty supplies. The first being the eye irritancy test. This is when chemicals are forced into an animal’s eyes in order to see how much it irritates the eye. For example they will take shampoo and insert it into rabbit’s eyes to determine that yes shampoo does in fact hurt your eyes. The rabbits will be in a head restraint whilst being performed on and it is not uncommon that they flail around and eventually snap their spinal column in an attempt to break free from the torture; which ultimately kills the animal. (massanimalrights.org) The second main type of animal testing is the skin irritancy test. This is similar to the eye irritancy test; however in this test they shave the animal’s fur to administer the chemical to the epidermis. In most cases they will simultaneously cut the animals skin and induce the chemical to determine if it also causes burns beneath the skin. Chemical burns are very common along with bleeding and inflammation of muscle tissue. Pain relievers are not administered for any animal testing. (massanimalrights.org) The third type of testing is oral toxicity. For this test chemicals are force fed to animals for 14-28 days or until they die to determine any short term effects if ingestion.
Cats specifically are used in medical training as well as medical experiments. In other types of animal testing as indicated by PETA include invasive brain procedures where “… [the] cats have holes drilled into their skulls and electrodes implanted into their brains in order to measure brainwave activity.” This is done to measure the different feelings the cat experiences during the experiments and is administered while the cat is fully conscious and without the aid of anesthetics. (Peta.org) In some hospitals and universities cats are used for medical training in lieu of dummies. The cats will have intubation tubes continuously shoved down their windpipe without regard to the fact that cats and humans have significantly different diameter windpipes. This practice often times results in “…bleeding, swelling, scarring, collapsed lungs, and even death.” (Peta.org) Other experiments done on cats for vision may include treacherous conditions such as being born and bred in complete darkness for their whole life. Others have one or both of their eyes either sewn shut or removed entirely, as further explained by PETA; “At Michigan State University, experimenters cut into cats’ faces, crushed their optic nerves, removed their eyes, and then killed them.” (Peta.org) Cats are not the only animal tested on for medical purposes though. According to the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition many animals are “…burned, cut, maimed, addicted to drugs, starved, and given fatal diseases…” in the name of medical research. (Massanimalrights.org) Mass Animal Rights adds that there are “…no federal law regulates what happens to animals during actual experiments.” So these animals are stricken from their right to live only because they were not born into a loving family. These animals are taken against their will and put through torture and never get to experience the riches that a life with a loving family or a life in the wild may provide.
Animal testing has been proven to be highly inaccurate. According to the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition the results of testing certain known harmful chemicals on animals has “proven” that chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic, glass fibers, and cigarette smoke were all found to be safe to ingest. One argument proposed by the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition suggests that animal testing is only prominent today because it provides a legal defense for companies. Not-so-recent breakthroughs have proven that animal testing is in fact obsolete. Companies that participate in cruelty free practice are getting their information from computer simulation software. In fact the sale of animal tested cosmetics in Europe will be banned in the year 2013. (humanesociety.org) Another alternative to testing on animals is the use of human based cells placed in a test tube and analyzed for toxicity. (John) These cells are mostly liver cells as the liver is what breaks down the unwanted chemicals in your body. Scientists are also able to use brain imaging equipment such as an MRI scan to study the human brain in lieu of cutting into monkey or cat brains. (John) Test tubes filled with cells from other parts of the body have also proven very effective. The National Cancer Institute has used human skin tissue to conduct tests ranging from cosmetics, radiation exposure and even burn research. (John) All of which provided more accurate results mainly because the tests conducted on animals aren’t exactly relevant to humans since the body structures are completely different. As explained by Dr. Richard Klausner, National Cancer Institute Director, “We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.” (John) These physical differences cannot be compensated for in the lab, so why are these tests being conducted when computer simulation programs are available and proven to work?
The lives of these animals when not being tested on are no walk in the park either. In fact most of these animals will never see the light of day; literally. In July of 2010 a laboratory left 120 beagles to die when they filed for bankruptcy. The company found it more beneficial to simply close the doors and leave their test subjects behind. If it had not been for animal advocacy groups Best Friends Animal Society and Pets Alive these animals would have died in only a few days as their bodies were severely malnourished. The beagles were all put up for adoption, and on this day my mother decided we would receive a new addition to our family; we named her Juno. When these beagles first exited the laboratory they were stricken with fear as they did not know what this stringy green stuff was under their paws; the stringy green stuff we call grass. These dogs has not seen anything more than the inside of their cage their whole life. But once introduced to the world some were unable to cope while others developed serious medical and psychological problems that will require special treatment and in some cases medication for the remainder of the dogs life. Most of the beagles were fully able to adapt, however all of the dogs exhibit slightly irregular behavior such as extremely fast eating habits. These habits could have been induced from the conditions and testing done. If the animal is eating fast and is protective of their food then it is obvious that they have great value for food and fear it being taken away.
What gives humans the right to take the right to live from another living creature? According to Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher “…if we could communicate with the mosquito, then we would learn that it floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world.” (Nietzsche 44)Nietzsche is saying humans give themselves the sense of importance as if we had a grand positive effect on the planet, when in fact we are the most detrimental aspect of it. Therefore the only possible reason for animal testing is the same self importance over other creates we bestow upon ourselves. The good news is that consumers have a choice when it comes to supporting companies that conduct animal testing. If a product contains a phrase similar to “Cruelty Free”, or “Not Tested on Animals”, on the label then the product as well as the chemicals used in the product is not tested on animals. However if these words appear to be absent from the products label then it is more likely than not that they test on animals. Pharmaceutical products, on the other hand, are required by law to be tested on animals.
. “Cats in Laboratories.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA, n.d. Web. 14 Mar 2012. <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/cats-in-laboratories.asp&xgt;.
John, D.. “Alternatives to Animal Testing.” Animal testing 101. PETA, 2011. Web. 14 Mar 2012. <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-to-animal-testing.asp&xgt;.
. “Animal experiments: Overview.” People for the ethical treatment of animals. PETA, 2011. Web. 14 Mar 2012. <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-experiments-overview.asp&xgt;.
. “Vivisection: Outdated, Cruel, and Unnecessary.”MASSCHUSETTS ANIMAL RIGHTS COALITION. The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, n.d. Web. 14 Mar 2012. <http://www.massanimalrights.org/labs.html>.
Nietzsche, F. W. The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin Group USA, 1954. 44.