Every year millions of animals around the world are subject to animal testing – the practice of performing unethical and torturing experiments on animals held captive in laboratories. Through the process, animals are caged, poisoned, and killed for what is believed to be the greater good of consumers.
PETA estimates that over 100 million animals are currently held captive each year in laboratories around the world. Other animal organizations believe the numbers are much higher.
Animal Testing: How it Works
Chemical testing on animals is executed by surgically removing the animal’s organs, inhaling toxic chemicals, injecting, force-feeding, placing harmful substances on the skin or eyes, and placing the animal in a frightening environment to cause anxiety or depression.
Such chemicals are then used in trials to test levels of toxicity, often leaving animals blind, burned, and in constant pain.
The most common forms of animal testing are performed on mice, rats, and rabbits. According to PETA, these animals make up 99% of all animals used in experiments. Animal testing can also occur on any other animals, some include monkeys, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, birds, fish, and reptiles.
Animals experimented on are not protected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. This allows unethical acts taking place during testing to be unreported, which often leads to the animals’ death. Millions have died due to cruel and painful procedures, leaving the animals suffering in pain alone.
Is the Cruelty Behind Animal Testing Even Worth it?
Experimented animals often suffer from blindness, loss of hearing, lost limbs, burns, and exposed organs, which are just some of the many visible side effects, disregarding the levels of trauma and pain these animals have had to endure.
If the animal does not die during the process of the trial, they are often killed at the end. This is common in the cosmetic industry with Botox experiments and medicine for drugs and vaccines. The practice is called the Lethal Dose 50, which requires 50% of the population tested to die at the end of the trial to test the short-term toxicity of the product.
Scientists have reassured that more times than not, animal testing does not ensure the safety of human use, and at times results are not even applied to them. The Humane Society of the United States advocates that 90-95% of animal-tested drugs fail in human trials.
High failing numbers not only reassures that animal testing is unethical but also unreasonable.
So Why do We Continue to Test on Animals if it has no Benefit to Consumers?
The simple answer is that it is an outdated practice, and many people are unaware of the reality behind such methodology.
Some companies choose to test on animals to provide data and research in court if a consumer is later injured by their products. Animal testing also allows companies to put just about any product on the market, due to the unreliability of trials.
As science continues to evolve, so do methods of ensuring products that are safe for customers. Methods include cell cultures, donated human tissue, computerized models, and human volunteers, all consensual forms of testing that do not require torture or pain.
Warren Casey, the director of the United States National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evolution of Alternative Toxicological Methods, argues that “in theory, non-animal tests could be much cheaper and much faster.”
Humane Society International fights to protect all animals by bringing awareness to end cruelty and experiments conducted on animals. In April of 2021, they released an animated short film, named Save Ralph, a rabbit who is a victim of animal testing. He is harmed as his life destiny is to be a tester for cosmetic products. The #SaveRaph campaign has been streaming the internet ever since.
The gut-wrenching animated film illustrates the torture tester animals undergo. Ralph’s red eyes, damaged ear, back pains, and constant itching are caused by the toxic chemicals on his skin. His constant reassurance that his destiny is to be a tester seems directed to himself to get through the difficult time and constant suffering, knowing he may soon die, like the rest of his family.
Animals like Ralph Around the World – Triggering Action Against Animal Cruelty
Just last month, the Humane Society International brought forth to the Supreme Court of Brazil a legal briefing concluding in the ban of animal testing on cosmetic products.
In 2013 a statue of a knitting mouse was placed in Novosibirsk, Russia to acknowledge the sacrifices and suffering animals have given to science. The statue recognizes the contribution mice have given to the discovery of DNA.
Currently, 40 countries have taken action to end the cruel practice of animal testing. Some countries that have banned animal testing or have taken measures include the United Nations, United States, Canada, India, South Africa, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Columbia, and Australia.
Some states within the United States have passed a cruelty-free law on cosmetic products in Illinois, California, and Nevada. Virginia and Maryland are soon to follow the trend.
Cosmetic companies that are cruelty-free include Botanics, Covergirl, Curology, Dermalogica, Milani, KKW Beauty, The Body shop, The Ordinary, Elf, Lush, and Fenty Beauty. To learn more about which brands are not testing on animals visit Cruelty-Free Kitty, or check packaging labels for a cruelty-free (CF) icon.
Katheleen Conlee, an animal researcher at The Humane Society of the United States, tells her story of working firsthand with animals in laboratories and breeding facilities, through the gut-wrenching short documentary.
The documentary illustrates realistic images of suffering animals, while further explaining how animals are not a reliable subject to product testing. The genetic similarity between an animal and a human cannot predict the reaction a person will have to the product.
In the United States alone, 25 million animals are victims of painful experiments each year. Currently, over 500,000 animals die or ache in pain caused only by cosmetic testing. Animal testing is also used in medical products, household cleaners, agrochemicals, and food additives.
Putting an End to Animal Torture
Organizations around the world similar to The Humane Society of the United States advocate to pass legislatures and ban animal conducted experiments. Currently, over 325 companies in the United States endorse the Humane Cosmetic Act, which bans animal testing on unnecessary cosmetic products.
The horrific practices leave animals suffering in pain most, if not their entire lives. The experiments deprive animals of their natural instincts to live in the wild, as they are captive in a cold cage left to suffer.
The research industry must introduce better and ethical practices that do not involve any kind of suffering or torture. Cosmetic, cleaning, medical, and all companies involved must advocate and use alternative research methods to stay away from cruel animal testing.
Millions of animals ache in pain and have died at the expense of medical research over the past decades. It is time for consumers to acknowledge the cruelty behind products they purchase and demand ethically produced and researched products with their dollars spent.
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