Today starts the World Week for Animals in Laboratories, and I think this is important because, until recently, I didn’t even know that animal testing is, at this point in modern medicine, useless and, if anything, hindering progress in human health—not to mention that it’s absolutely appalling what is perpetrated against captive animals. If you also didn’t know that animal testing is at the end of it’s time, here are a few quick facts and resources to become an educated consumer when it comes to this issue.
Animal testing doesn’t make products safe. For example, according to animal tests, cigarette smoke, asbestos, arsenic, benzene, and glass fibers were all found to be safe to ingest. 100,000 people die in the United States each year from drug reactions not predicted by animal testing (NEAVS). Many household products, all tested on animals, are unsafe for us and our environment. And inaccuracies in cancer-causing tests occur up to 70% of the time. Animal testing only provides a legal defense for companies whose products could still harm humans. Test results are used to win lawsuits, not protect people. Some of these tests are over 50 years old and have never been required to be scientifically validated (MARC).
In 2007, the National Research Council (a committee of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences) reported that the U.S. government must develop new testing to assess the effects of chemicals on human health. Their report, which was requested by the Environmental Protection Agency, suggested the use of new technologies such as biomonitoring–analyzing chemical levels in human fluids and tissue. This is more accurate, better at promoting human health, and causes no harm to humans or animals.
> Nonprofit Whitecoat Waste Project fighting to end animal testing.
Recent published studies have confirmed that an “old boys network” operates the federal grant award process, keeping “aging cash cows” afloat while leaving younger, innovative researchers struggling. The result: a vast amount of antiquated, unnecessary, and ridiculous experiments supported by our tax dollars. For example, do we need to keep addicting chimpanzees and quails to cocaine to prove that cocaine is addictive? Do we need to feed Splenda to rabbits until they die to show that it could be toxic if ingested at 10x the amount of your body mass? Is it worth caging young monkeys to see what toys they prefer to play with? Animal testing also recently proved that feeding mice high-fat diets makes them fat! These may seem like biased examples, but leading researchers and scientists agree that these experiments are not yielding the results and outcomes that we need to find. Technology is rapidly outpacing the best that animal bodies can do for us.
$12 billion is granted to animal testing annually, while some human Americans still lack adequate healthcare coverage. President Obama promised to eliminate wasteful government spending; funding for animal research is one area that is overdue for reform.
World Week website: http://wwail.org/
PETA’s list of companies that do and don’t test: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx
Hope this helps! Thanks
“Vivisection is a social evil because, if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.”
Why is this post on a vegan food blog? Glad you asked! Eating vegan is all about the double benefit to both us and animals if we eat more plant-based food. Ending animal testing is a similar win-win as eating vegan: better for human health, better for animal welfare, better for U.S. citizens overall (taxes, safety, etc.).