Animal Testing

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. … The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.

―Mark Twain

Saul Hill, age 6, says, “Don’t test on animals!”

After reading this article about the breakthrough discovery of a technique which could serve as a viable, cheaper alternative to animal testing, I had to find out more about why people feel it is necessary to test on animals. There are two significant parts to animal testing: consumer goods-based and animal testing in medical research.

More harm or help?

Medical research generally entails the use of “complex biological systems” on which to test medical hypotheses. These animals are kept in cages their whole lives and then frequently used for a single experiment and subsequently euthanized. Frankie Trull, president of the non-profit Foundation for Biomedical Research (a promoter of responsible animal testing), explains the promise and the pitfalls of pre-clinical trials in this TIME article.

“It’s everybody’s hope that one day we could replace animal trials entirely with computer modeling… But they [people in the research community] still don’t know enough about how the complex living organism works in order to duplicate it,” said Trull.

“No More Tears” for who?

Cosmetic testing, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast (so to speak). It is wholly unregulated by the US government, and testing on animals is not even required for the vast majority of cosmetic products before they hit the market.

Although modern alternative test methods exist, big companies, such as Clorox, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and others, continue to poison and harm animals in tests that aren’t even required by law. Mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other larger mammals are forced to swallow or inhale massive quantities of a test substance or endure the pain of having caustic chemicals dripped into their eyes––even though the results of animal tests are often unreliable or not applicable to humans. Most shocking to me: even if a product has blinded or burned an animal, it can (and probably will) still be marketed to you.

The European Union is getting closer and closer to fully passing a ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry. More opinion polls are coming out which highlight the ever-decreasing support for the abuse of animals in the name of makeup. Some new polls show that as many as one in three people are against animal testing in all of its forms. But, there is strengthening opinion to place a postponement on this ban, so it is more important than ever that we support the decision of EU leaders to instate the ban.

How you can help

PETA’s pledge to be cruelty-free is a great place to start. Tell editors and politicians that you are one of the growing number of Americans who don’t stand for animal testing .

Cruelty-free companies can be found here at PETA’s extensive list of resources. They also have an iPhone app you can download so you can find cruelty-free products while shopping.

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