Millions of animals are used annually for various forms of animal testing in this country, whether it is for scientific studies, medicines, cosmetics, or other products. Mice, cats, dogs, rabbits, and primates are just some of the species used – chosen either for their docility, ease of acquisition, or similarity to humans.
Animals used for research and testing are generally kept in small cages in laboratories throughout their lives, with no chance to express their natural behaviors. Tests can range from basic observation of animal behavior, to horrifying examples of human cruelty – primates with metal bolts drilled into their heads, for example, or chemicals tested on the eyes of rabbits. Mice, rats, birds and cold-blooded animals are not covered under the meager protections of the Animal Welfare Act and therefore go uncounted and completely unprotected during such tests. Animals used in all kinds of tests are killed at the end of their usefulness.
Animal experimentation is often defended by appealing to the idea that it is necessary for the development of new medical procedures and medicines. This is contested by some in the medical community. In any case, medical research is only one reason for animal testing, much of which is performed to avoid potential liability when bringing new products onto the market, from mascara to household cleaners. Most tests are not required by law and do little to protect consumers. Moreover, the “need” for animal use in medical research must be evaluated in light of a medical system that does not help people avoid such common scourges as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and so many others, through the adoption of a healthy, plant-based diet.
Fortunately, it is easy to avoid products tested on animals. There is a testing-free alternative to almost every item one could imagine, many produced by companies that are dedicated to avoiding animal cruelty – further debunking the myth that animal testing is necessary for consumer safety.
- Why Should We Care?
- Animal Testing
- Companion Animals
- What to Do?