Saturday, April 20, 2013

Shedding Light on Animals Used in the Name of Research

World Week for Animals in Laboratories (April 20 – 28) spotlights the millions of animals who needlessly suffer and die each year in research and testing. This is an important time to address the myth that animal experiments are a "necessary evil," essential for medical progress.

In February, the National Academy of Science published an extensive study that revealed how decades of research and billions of dollars spent on mice experiments were effectively useless because the mice responded in ways that are completely different from people.

This is not the first study to demonstrate that a significant area of animal research has been a costly waste. Remember Vioxx, the arthritis drug that was deemed safe but later pulled from pharmacy shelves after killing 60,000 people? According to the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), adverse drug reactions cause more than 100,000 deaths in the US each year. More than half of the drugs given the green light by the FDA are pulled or relabeled for serious or fatal side effects that were not discovered during animal testing.

A new era in biomedical science has emerged without the use of animals, using human cell cultures, genomics and digital imaging, to name a few of the many available methods. Increasingly, scientists are acknowledging that animal research is not producing the results attributed to it, or deserving of billions of taxpayer dollars. Moreover, it does not justify the incredible suffering involved.

For his new book, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering, Mark Hawthorne thoroughly investigated the animal research industry and found that animals in labs are “beaten, burned, and blinded. They are nailed down, tied up, and sliced open. They are starved, suffocated, shaken, and shot. They are forced to drink alcohol, inhale tobacco smoke, and consume a variety of highly dangerous narcotics, including heroine. Their organs are pulverized, their limbs are severed, their bodies are irradiated, and their spirits are broken." 

Nonanimal testing methods benefit human health, eliminate animal suffering and save money. It's a no-brainer. As consumers, we can make a difference by simply doing the following:
  • Only buy consumer products that say "not tested on animals" or have the leaping bunny seal of approval (
  • Support charities that do not waste donations on ineffective and cruel animal tests. You can find them at

Written with In Defense of Animals.

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