End Animal Testing
More than 115 million animals are bred, used, and disposed of as hazardous waste in research and product testing in the U.S. every year. These millions of animals experience great physical and mental suffering, and there are few laws that protect them. Everyday, millions of animals are poisoned, physically assaulted, have toxic chemicals sprayed into their eyes, wiped onto their skin, and forced into their mouths where they ingest them. These high doses of chemicals are a thousand times stronger than humans would ever encounter. Lab animals live in isolation in cold and barren stainless steel cages, are denied comfort, refused social contact and stimulation, never see the daylight, sunlight or breathe fresh air—and they live in constant fear of the next experiment, until they are killed.
There is a growing body of scientific literature and research studies’ critically evaluating and questioning the validity of animal experimentation that raises important concerns about their reliability and predictive value for people and for understanding human physiology. The unreliability, inaccuracy, high cost and time-consuming nature of animal experimentation across a wide range of areas undermines scientific arguments in favor of the practice. Additionally, animal experimentation often significantly harms humans through misleading and inaccurate studies that could be replaced with more effective non-animal testing methods. The resulting evidence supported by the U.S. Library of Medicine and Institutes of Health suggest that the “collective harms and costs to humans from animal experimentation outweigh the potential benefits and that resources would be better invested in developing human-based testing methods.” Today there are many predictive, cost-effective, less expensive, and faster alternatives to animal testing that are safer, more scientifically accurate, far more humane and deliver more precise results. Scientific experts recommend a complete shift away from animal testing. It’s time to change the future of laboratory testing by using non-animal research methods.
Animals used in laboratories have nervous systems so they feel pain and can suffer; they are conscious and sentient like humans; and as their caretakers we have a moral obligation not to impose unnecessary suffering, harm, pain or injury to them. But for the millions and millions of animals used in research procedures, they experience deep physical, emotional and mental stress, pain and trauma, are never given pain killers or anesthesia during or following their procedures; and when they are anesthetized and killed because they never recover from their procedure—they are categorized as “unclassified” and not recorded or documented.
It is not morally acceptible or justified to inflict suffering, endless institutional cruelty, and death to vulnerable sentient animals on a daily basis when there are many more viable and effective alternative testing methods—and testing on animals is no longer necessary. We do not have the right to inflict this level of suffering on those who are at our mercy. Animals in labs are treated like property or commodities, the same justification that was used for centuries for human slavery, using women as property, children as property, and using and abusing less advantaged people. So if there is going to be meaningful change in the way we treat animals, then we need to accept that animal slavery is wrong, and that violence to animals in laboratories is essentially institutional exploitation sanctioned by the federal government and corporations for profit, producing unreliable, unpredictive and flawed results.
However, we as consumers are also responsible. We are the ones who demand and consume animals and animal-tested products. We are responsible for buying and supporting the products tested on animals, and we have the power and choice to stop consuming animal products and buying products that are tested on animals. If we don’t buy animal-tested products, and instead buy only cruelty-free products not tested on animals—then we are doing our part to fight the cruelty of animal testing. If we truly care about animals, we must choose to buy and support the brands, products and companies that do not test on animals nor use ingredients that have been tested on animals.
What is Animal Experimentation?
The terms animal testing, animal experiementation, animal research, in vivo testing and vivisection are all terms used to describe animal experimentation, for education, training, medical and biological research, cosmetic testing, and chemical testing. Vivisection means dissecting or cutting into a living animal.
How Many Animals?
Today in the U.S., over 100 million animals ranging from small to large size animals undergo painful procedures in research and testing laboratories everyday. In 2010, 1.37 million animals were used excluding rats and mice, which constitutes 90 percent of all research animals. In the U.K. in 2011, over 3 million animals were used for animal testing. And in the E.U. similar numbers were used, often testing the same brands, products and chemicals. Dogs, cats and primates are most commonly used as models for human diseases in cardiology, endocrinology, bone and joint studies. Cats are most commonly used in neurological research. Most research animals come from breeders, but some can come from the wild or from animal auctions. See the latest facts and figures.
No matter how much testing has been conducted on animals, humans are always the real guinea pigs. And animal physiology is very different from human physiology, so there is no guarantee that animal-tested drugs are safe or efficacious because we cannot accurately deduce the results produced in rats, pigs or dogs—to humans. Our biology is just not the same. Some drugs that have been approved through animal testing have caused serious and unexpected side effects, irreparable harm and sometimes death for humans. Many drugs or medications were withdrawn from the market because they posed a very high risk to patients or could cause serious adverse reactions. More than 50 FDA-approved drugs have been removed from the market or relabeled due to their danger to human health, and even more have been recalled by the FDA. How safe is America’s drug safety system and the FDA that approves drugs? Millions of Americans are exposed to potentially unsafe drugs each year, and yet all these drugs have passed animal tests. Animal testing compromises drug safety and toxicity safety, when there are much more accurate alternatives today.
There’s No Protection For Laboratory Animals
There are no laws in the U.S. that prohibit conducting any animal experiment, no matter how painful or deadly. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a federal law designed to protect animals in laboratories, is rarely enforced and often ignored, and it does not protect or cover farmed animals, birds, mice or rats, or reptiles. Under the AWA, animals can be electrically shocked, burned, starved, injured, psychologically tormented, and killed. Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, primates are supposed to receive some psychological stimulation while we use them in horrific experiments in which we infect them with diseases or try to determine how much radiation they can endure before they become dysfunctional. Plus, it’s perfectly acceptable to force laboratory animals to live in strict confinement where they can barely move, live in isolatation and alone, inside barren and cold steel cages, and void of enrichment and any comfort at all. They are prevented from expressing normal behaviors, or being mobile, or having any social interaction. Animals in labs are treated like disposable things or “units” where their basic needs and interests are ignored and violated everyday.
Ending Laboratory Testing on Animals for Cosmetics
Cosmetic testing on animals is particularly controversial. Increasingly governments throughout the world are eliminating the use of animals in cosmetics testing. The European Union imposed a ban in 2013, where cosmetics tested on animals can no longer be sold in Europe, even if the testing was done outside of Europe. Since then, many major companies have stopped testing cosmetics on animals. Other countries that have banned cosmetic testing include Australia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, India, Taiwan and the U.K. Several other countries are moving toward similar bans now including Israel, Norway and Brazil.
In the U.S., a bill called Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2858) was introduced by Representatives Martha McSally (R -AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joe Heck (R -NV) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA), to make it illegal to conduct animal testing for cosmetics after a one year phase in, followed by a banning of the import and sale of products and ingredients that were made using animal testing within three years. It’s time for the U.S. to catch up with the E.U. and U.K. and all the countries that have committed to ending this inhumane, archaic and cruel practice, that is completely outdated.
Animal Testing in Toxic Substances & Chemicals
In 2016, Congress approved and President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenbery Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which will dramatically reduce animal testing in the U.S. These landmark provisions will not only reduce, but ultimately replace the use of live animals for testing of tens of thousands of chemicals, pesticides, biocides, and other potentially dangerous, hazardous substances. The bill was sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA), to minimize animal testing and create a clear preference for the development and use of alternative methods and strategies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to phase out at least some obsolete animal testing practices.
Identifying Cruelty-Free Brands & Products
The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) created the Leaping Bunny Program to provide assurance that companies and their laboratories and suppliers do not use any new animal testing during product development. Currently, the CCIC has certified more than 500 brands as cruelty-free. Every year more companies are being added to their list. The Leaping Bunny Compassionate Shopping Guide is available to help consumers make more humane purchasing decisions.
Alternatives to Animal Testing
Alternatives to animal testing are safer, more scientific, more humane—and are much better for the environment. Scientists argue that ending the use of animals in testing will actually increase the quality and accuracy of testing results. The scientific community has been highly critical of animal testing as having unreliable and unpredictive results for people, and they have instead advocated for new and better methods like vitro methods, that are more predictive, cost-effective and accurate.
Today, scientists are developing in vitro methodologies and new cell and tissue tests that model human cells, body tissue and body parts using human cells that act and respond exactly like they would inside the human body. Scientists have engineered brains, artificial skin, bone marrow, and study tumors—using computers to test drugs. Computer modeling and high speed computer simulations are faster, more reliable, and less expensive than animal testing—and of course are cruelty free. Quantum pharmacology uses methods of theoretical chemistry and quantum mechanics as well as computer modeling for studying drug molecular structure and drug interactions. Cosmetic companies can ensure product safety today without using animal tests on any phase of their product development. In addition to replacing animals, there is also a “reduction” of the use of animals by avoiding the repetition of same tests conducted by different companies, and with the use of the computer there is improved sharing of data. Lastly, another alternative is the use of “refinement” methods, which relate to minimizing pain and suffering and distress, by using non-invasive techniques or pain relief.
Socialized Science: The Animal Testing Debate
Here’s How You Can Help Get Animals Get Out of Labs
- Buy Cruelty-Free Household Cleaning Products– Buy ONLY cruelty-free and natural cleaning products with the Leaping Bunny logo. See the companies that DO TEST on animals. Buy only household product companies that DO NOT TEST on animals. Know the difference. Most cruelty-free products are available in health and natural food stores, online and Whole Foods. Here is PETA’s searchable database. Also online, search for the words “not tested on animals” on a product’s label, and check company websites. If you’re unsure, contact the company directly to ask.
- Buy Cruelty-Free Beauty and Cosmetic Products – Buy ONLY cosmetic products and brands that DO NOT TEST on animals. These beauty companies and brands DO TEST on animals, these DO NOT TEST on animals. Always check the label, if it doesn’t say, they likely test on animals. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo. Check the company website, and if still unsure, call the company directly.
- Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo – Download the internationally-recognized Leaping Bunny cruelty-free list of brands and products, to find 100% animal-friendly products.
- Download the Cruelty-Free App for Smartphones – It’s free, easy to search, and has scanner functionality so you can search products by UPC barcode. Download the app from iTunes or Google Play.
- Make Your Own Household Products – Clean your kitchen and bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. Use grapefruit and salt to make a body scrub, and coconut and grapeseed oil as a powerful moisturizer. Google “DIY Household Cleaners” or “DIY Cosmetics”, and you’ll see lots of natural alternatives to animal-tested products. Better for your health, the animals, and the environment. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Shop Cruelty-Free Stores – What stores are the most cruelty-free? Find out!
- Share these Infographics and Educational Materials – Please share PCRM’s Tail of Toxics infographic, Tail of Toxics video, and in your workplace or school offer PCRM’s animal experimentation resources.
- Boycott Companies That Are Cruel to Animals – Don’t support or buy from any company or brand that tests on animals, or harms, injures or kills animals. Boycott them instead, and ask friends and family to boycott them as well. Share your boycott on social media.
- Handout Brochures, Outreach and Education Materials – For students, teachers and community and animal activists who want to raise awareness about animal testing.
- Go Vegan! – How does being vegan help lab animals? Because eating animal products causes heart disease, cancers, diabetes, obesity and other chronic and preventable diseases that are the biggest areas of animal testing. Farm animals are experimented on to genetically modify them and make them grow larger, faster. By not eating animal products, you will reduce the need for testing these diseases.
- Be A Whistleblower – Call PETA if you hear about, witness or learn about anything that causes you concern at 757-962-8383, and e-mail Whistleblower@peta.org. Document your concerns with photographs or video footage, and identify the place, name of business, date, and include as many details as possible. PETA will respond. You can report anonymously. Whether you work in a lab, or for a business, or encounter cruelty, PETA will take all calls and take action. Here’s more about what you can do with a form for your reporting the incidence.
- Write to Your Legislators and Newspaper Editors – Explain that animal research does not lead to cures for human diseases, ask how taxpayers’ money can be justified when there are more accurate and successful testing methods today, and animal testing has become archaic, outdated and unnecessary.
- Urge Your Lawmakers to Support “The Humane Cosmetics Act” – Please make a brief, polite phonecall to your U.S. Representative to urge support for H.R. 2858, the Humane Cosmetics Act and sign the petition. Look up your legislator’s phone number here.
- Support the Cruelty-Free Message – Wear and promote the Cruelty-Free message by buying products that raise awareness and consciousness about going cruelty-free.
- Sign the Cruelty Free Pledge – Support the end to animal testing for cosmetics in your country. Sign the global campaign Pledge.
- Sign Up Now to Convince Congress to Reform Chemical Testing – Congress is revising the Toxic Substances Control Act that regulates industrial chemicals. Sign up for email updates, stay informed, and learn more here.
- Sign the AVON Petition – Tell AVON to Stop Testing on Animals.
- Sign the Petition to Tell These 5 Labs – To Stop Testing on Animals!
- Share This Infographic – Help end animal testing by sharing this infographic on social media.
- Like This Facebook Page – LIKE HSI’s Facebook page to keep up with current news about animal testing.
- See This Listing of Helpful Links – To find out more cruelty-free information.
- Donate to Nonprofits That Work to End Animal Testing – Donate to Leaping Bunny; donate to PETA; donate to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; donate to Philanthropy at Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing; donate to Cruelty Free International; donate to NEAVS.
- Donate Your Body to Science – The Anatomic Gift Foundation (AGR) is an independent, ethical, non-profit organization that supports advancements in scientific research and medical education. And the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM), is dedicated to providing valuable human bodies, organs, and tissues to medical researchers.
- Never Abandon Your Pet to an Animal Shelter & Rescue From an Animal Shelter – Vivisectors that contract with laboratories are called “Bunchers”, and they collect animals from shelters and sell them to labs for testing. Never abandon your pet to a public shelter; and when getting a new cat or dog, always rescue from the shelter or a rescue group. Don’t buy. Help cut off “Bunchers” who get animals from shelters to sell.
- Write to Your Favorite Companies – Send a letter, email or phonecall to your favorite companies asking them if they test on animals, this lets them know consumers care and are shopping based on their compassionate values. Tell them you oppose any animal testing. Here’s a sample letter/email.
- Share Cruelty-Free Products/Brands With Your Favorite Businesses – Talk to your doctors, grocery stores, drugstores, beauty shops, and services about brands/products that are cruelty-free. Ask them to use only cruelty-free products in their businesses. Tell them why it matters to you.
- Shop for Exclusive Deals! – Shop for exclusive discount promotions from some cruelty-free companies.
- Share This Page! – Help more animals by reaching more people on social media!
List of Charities That Oppose Animal Testing
- New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), http://www.neavs.org
- National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), http://www.navs.org
- European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), http://www.eceae.org
- Cruelty Free International (CFI), http://altweb.jhsph.edu/altex/index.html
- Humane Society International (HSI), http://www.hsi.org/issues/becrueltyfree/be_cruelty_free.html
- Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), http://altweb.jhsph.edu/altex/index.html
- Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM), http://www.pcrm.org
- Leaping Bunny Program, http://www.leapingbunny.org
- PETA, http://www.peta.org
- Alternatives to Animal Experimentation (ALTEX), http://altweb.jhsph.edu/altex/index.html
- Alternatives to Animal Testing Website, http://altweb.jhsph.edu/altex/index.html
- Beagle Freedom Project, http://bfp.org
Read More Information
Animal Testing 101, PETA
Ending Animal Testing, Humane Society International (HSI)
About Cosmetics Animal Testing, Humane Society International (HSI)
Animal Experiments, Animal Aid, UK
Making A Killing, Animal Aid, UK
The Case Against Animal Experiments, Animal Aid, UK
The Flaws and Humane Harms of Animal Experimentation, US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
The Top 3 Ways Animal Experiments Hurt Humans, The Huffington Post
Animal Use in Pharmacology Education and Research: The Changing Scenario, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
The World is Going Cruelty Free, The Huffington Post
5 Awesome Organizations Fighting to End Animal Testing, One Green Planet