Animal testing (also known as vivisection) refers to (supposedly) 'scientific' testing on live animals.
Animals are burned, poisoned, blinded, force-fed toxic chemicals, given addictive substances, sliced up, have holes drilled into their skulls, given deadly diseases, have their spinal cords crushed, made to suffer seizures...the list goes on and on.
There are three main excuses given for testing on animals.
The first excuse is to test cleaning products, bodycare products and makeup on animals to make sure they're safe for human use. That there are many companies who create the above products without testing on animals is proof that safe products can be created without torturing animals. And if those companies can do it, all companies can do it, so the excuse of testing products on animals for human safety is complete nonsense.
The second excuse is to make scientific progress. But seeing as over 92 percent of animal tested scientific experiments do not translate to humans anyway, this excuse is rubbish too. Vivisection is both unethical and unscientific.
The third excuse is "just because". That's right, there's a lot of testing that's been done and still going on that is just for curiosity. Some examples:
So, in summary, animals are tortured in laboratories:
We can put an end to the abuse of product testing by only buying vegan cleaning, bodycare and makeup products.
We can put an end to the abuse of vivisection for (supposed) scientific reasons by withholding donations to charities - eg. The Leukaemia Foundation and The Red Cross - that test on animals.
And, last but definitely not least, we can take a powerful stance against all animal abuse - including that of vivisection - by living vegan.
Fact 1: Did you know that more than 115 million animals all over the world are poisoned, burned, crippled, and abused in other ways in laboratories each year?
Fact 2: Did you know that no experiment on animals is illegal? That's right - no matter how violent, how irrelevant to human health, how redundant, or how painful it may be, all experimentation on animals is completely legal.
Fact 3: Did you know that 95 percent of animals used for experiments are not offered any sort of protection under the law?
Fact 4: Did you know that there are reliable, cost-effective and valid alternatives to animal experimentation? Despite this, the law doesn't actually require that they be used, and so the result is that industry - mired in tradition, and supported by the consumers - simply doesn't bother changing to non-animal experiments.
Fact 5: Did you know that 92 percent of drugs deemed safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials? That's right, they turn out to be useless or dangerous when used on humans. Thalidomide is one of the most famous examples of this. Millions upon millions of animals were tortured to test this drug and, based on those tests, it was considered safe for human use. But, in practice, it ended up causing deformities in humans. This last fact points out that testing on animals - contrary to what the vivisectors claim - is bad science and rarely gets results. However, even if the figures were reversed and 92 percent of the drugs tested on animals were actually safe in humans, I'd still oppose vivisection on moral grounds: no matter the result, torturing animals for any reason is morally wrong.
For more details, read the scientifically-substantiated information provided in a booklet called Physicians Convincingly Argue That Animal Testing Seriously Impedes Progress in Human Medicine While Vivisection Industry Profits by nonprofit organisation PRISM (People for Reason in Science and Medicine).
You'll see that while vivisectors claim that advances are made possible through vivisection, the exact opposite is true: vivisection actually hampers medical progress.
Summary: vivisection is both immoral and unempirical.
The short answer is: go vegan. That not only takes care of the abuse of animal testing, but of all animal abuse.
But, on a day-to-day, practical level, here's how you can withdraw your support of (and help stop) animal testing:
Vegan products have the following qualities:
Generally, the companies that create these products will print this information on the product for people who are concerned about and against animal abuse. Look for words like: "vegan", "not tested on animals", "no animal testing or ingredients", or "certified cruelty-free".
If in doubt, you call or email the company to check before you buy. You'll find that companies with vegan products will be very forthcoming about the fact that their products are torture-free.
You'll also find that companies that test tend not to be so forthcoming. The employees often don't have a straightforward answer to the simple question "Are your products tested on animals?", or they'll leave a message for someone who's meant to know but who never calls you back. That's been my experience anyway. Those companies know very well that there are many people who don't approve of animal testing and the individuals working there aren't necessarily keen on confronting that head-on with an query from a concerned consumer.
keep buying it in the future.In many countries it's pretty easy these days to find cleaning products, bodycare products and makeup that are vegan. However in some countries it's very hard (or impossible) to do so. If that's the case for you, you can still help animals by being vegan in other ways:
In other words, if it's impossible in your country to go vegan in terms of cleaning products, body care products and makeup, it's still very possible to go vegan in all the other areas.
To continue the list of what you can do to help stop the abuse of vivisection:
So while we're working towards a world where all medicines and medical research does not involve the torture and killing of animals, we can, in the meantime, live vegan lives in all other ways.
The short answer to the question of whether it's wrong to use medicine and medical procedures that were developed using animals is: no.
Certainly we should endeavour to not use vivisection-created medicine, and instead use non-drug methods of health care such as chiropractic or acupuncture. And without a doubt we should progress in science and medicine without using animals from this point on.
However, using - when absolutely necessary - medicine and medical procedures currently available that were created through vivisection is not in opposition to taking an animal rights position. In fact, it would be totally illogical to refuse medical attention for ethical reasons if, for example, you were lying on the road bleeding to death.
When a person discovers the abuse behind animal tested cleaning products, bodycare products and makeup, one thing is clear: buying more such products is out of the question.
What's not quite as clear is what to do with the animal tested products one already has. There are two basic schools of thought:
Think on it, and make your decision.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.