Animal testing is abuse


By Erin Hyatt

The laboratory is dark. You are huddled in the corner of your cold, steel cage, and your tortured body is engulfed with the constant sensation of pain and desperation. The toxic chemicals that have repeatedly been poured over your right eye have finally claimed your eyesight, and you are now partially blind. Unbeknownst to you, scientists plan to remove it tomorrow while you are still awake, before ending your suffering once and for all with a fatal needle.
This inhumanity can only be described as torture, yet we allow 100 million helpless animals to endure it daily.
Animal testing is a despicable practice, yet our society turns a blind eye to the cruelty so we can benefit. According to Humane Society International, animals used in experiments are deprived of food and water, injected with diseases such as AIDS, inflicted by burns or wounds to study the healing process, and could almost be called chemical punching bags to test the toxicity of products such as makeup and shampoo.
But cosmetic companies are not the only culprits of this torture; scientists, who claim that the ruthless abuse is for the good of the human population, also have their fair share of blood on their hands. Scientist George Billman at Ohio State University forced surgically manipulated dogs to run on a treadmill until they collapsed from a heart attack. At Columbia University, experimenters removed baboons’ left eyeballs and clamped critical blood vessels in the empty sockets to cause strokes.
Is there a point to this brutality?
“Currently, nine out of 10 experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies,” former secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt said. The biological makeup of animals frequently experimented on is different than that of a human, making 94 percent of tests misleading and unnecessary. These animals are in languish for medical research that doesn’t benefit humanity at all.
Aside from being the cause behind inflicting pointless pain onto the trial subjects, animal testing is expensive. A “rat phototoxicity test” costs $11,500, but when an equivalent version of the experiment is done without animals, it costs $1,300. The U.S. National Institute of Health spends almost half of their budget to fund animal testing. With a total budget of $16 billion to go toward research, the scientific community could make more advancements by rationing out the money and spending it on cost-effective, ethical experiments. With the $16 billion wasted on animal testing in laboratories, America could hire 380,000 more teachers, provide an additional $800 per month to 1.6 million struggling veterans, and give 8.4 million households almost $200 back per year in income taxes.
Sure, you might argue that they’re just dumb animals. They don’t have feelings, so they shouldn’t have rights. Well, humans share 98.9 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, who are constantly subject to invasive brain tests, deprived of food and water for 24 hours at a time, and hacked to pieces in a lab.
So, instead of a stupid monkey, imagine an infant human being ripped away from its mother at birth, so scientists can gauge the psychological effects. Imagine a person stretched apart and held in place by metal clamps, while experimenters inject them with fatal diseases, trigger seizures, and afterward, kill them and dissect their brain. Do these images make you uncomfortable? Millions of living creatures go through this every day. America is one of two countries in the world that continues to conduct invasive experiments on chimpanzees.
The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966, making it America’s first and only law to regulate the treatment of animals in the scientific community. Researchers often use this to compensate for their senseless abuse of innocent creatures, when in reality, only five percent of test subjects are protected by the AWA. Those that are covered by this act do not have their safety enforced, as proven by the heartbreaking events at the Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. The primates housed at IRC experienced such traumatic psychological stress, video footage showed them tearing gaping wounds into their arms and legs. There was no new knowledge or medical benefit gained from these experiments.
No, these trials are not something from a horror movie; they are painfully real, yet we have done nothing to stop the torture and murder of helpless animals internationally. While animal rights organizations such as PETA have made small victories in stopping animal testing once and for all, they can’t do it alone.
We need to do our part. If you support senseless slaughter so your shampoo won’t “sting” when it gets into your eyes, you are part of the problem. Ignorance is not bliss.
For millions of animals, our attention is the only hope they have.