Written by PETA
I could go on and on about the reasons why animal testing is archaic and unnecessary, but instead of babbling like a brook, I'm just going to leave it at Exhibit A: the technological breakthrough at Hµrel. This company relies on its expertise in engineering and cell cultures to provide scientists with alternatives to animal testing. Hµrel has developed a three-dimensional surrogate human liver that scientists can use to study the breakdown of chemicals in the human body. This in vitro (test tube) human cell–based technology effectively mimics human organs and can be used to test cosmetics, drugs, and chemicals. By providing an accurate substitute for countless animals who are experimented on and killed each year, Hµrel's 3D liver not only marks a major advancement in the scientific community, it has also made Hµrel the recipient of our Proggy Award for the Best Scientific Innovation of 2010—the first Proggy of the new year!
We're not the only ones wowed by Hµrel's humane technology. The folks at L'Oréal are so impressed with the potential of this human surrogate that they're collaborating with Hµrel to develop a model to test chemicals for their potential to cause skin allergies. Allergic reactions in the skin involve the interaction of cells from two tissues—skin and lymph nodes—and this has complicated efforts to develop a non-animal model. Hµrel's technology is perfectly suited for this complex task, and an accurate, non-animal skin sensitivity test will ensure consumer safety without harming animals.
Fortunately for us, many companies out there have ditched animal testing for good. So tell us, what cruelty-free companies are you supporting?
Written by Logan Scherer
Here's a promising development in the midst of the recession: Charles River Laboratories—one of the world's largest suppliers of animals for experimentation—has announced that it is closing up shop in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. We're hoping these cutbacks mean that the cruel, callous industry giant will continue to suffer.
With its long history of abusing animals, Charles River Laboratories should really be called Hell's Kitchen—its facilities have literally cooked live animals to death. News broke last week of a monkey at a Charles River lab in Reno who was "literally boiled alive" last year after he was left in a cage that was put through one of the facility's high-temperature cage washers (think industrial-sized dishwasher)—despite the fact that lab workers claim that the cage was checked three times (?!). This followed an incident in 2008 when 32 monkeys under Charles River's "care" were baked alive after a thermostat malfunction—even though the procedure in place to alert staff apparently had been followed. No one even discovered the deaths until the following morning. PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about that negligent oversight, and Charles River was eventually fined $10,000.
Charles River officials attributed all these horrific and easily preventable deaths to "human error." We agree. But the human error responsible is the conscious decision that experimenters and their suppliers make every day to go to work and torment animals. Judging from its desperate downsizing, we foresee a future in which the folks of Charles River will need to find a different path of employment.
Written by Logan Scherer
The following post originally appeared in Florida's Bradenton Herald.
Who would you save—your child or your dog? This is the phony choice lobbed at those of us who advocate for the replacement of animal tests with non-animal testing methods. Fortunately, you don't have to choose.
Under pressure from citizens concerned about exposure to hazardous chemicals, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now considering overhauling toxic-chemical regulations. In more than a decade—and despite killing many millions of animals in chemical toxicity tests—the EPA has failed abysmally to safeguard the public by pulling dangerous substances off the market. The examples are legion and well documented.
For instance, the link between benzene—a gasoline component and solvent widely used in the preparation of drugs and plastics—and human leukemia was established as early as 1928, yet dozens of subsequent animal studies failed to replicate benzene's cancer-causing effects. Only during the late 1980s were researchers finally able to induce cancer in animals by overdosing them with benzene—and our government is still testing benzene on animals.
Exposure to arsenic has been implicated in increased cancer risk for nearly 150 years. Smelter workers exposed to arsenic in the air are at higher risk for developing lung cancer, and population studies show that arsenic in drinking water can also cause cancer. Yet regulation was delayed for decades while thousands of animals were killed in experiments that attempted to reproduce the effects already seen in humans. Reviews published as late as 1977 reported that animal experiments had failed to produce evidence supporting a link between arsenic exposure and increased cancer risk. It was not until the late 1980s that researchers finally succeeded in reproducing the cancer-causing effects of arsenic in animals.
Updating our chemical management laws is important for protecting human health and the environment. But in order to be effective, we must acknowledge that the current way of testing chemicals for toxic effects uses methods that are decades old, condemns thousands of animals per chemical and provides information that is not very useful for regulating chemicals. Much has happened in the fields of biology and toxicology in the past few decades, and it is imperative that we use all of our current understanding and technology to test chemicals. In addition to providing more relevant and useful information, the modern methods also use many fewer animals—perhaps even no animals.With tens of thousands of chemicals on the market and more entering it every day, it's now widely recognized, even by regulators, that "it is simply not possible with all the animals in the world to go through chemicals in the blind way we have at the present time, and reach credible conclusions about the hazards to human health" (Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel laureate in medicine).
The National Academy of Sciences, the government's own scientific arm, released a report in 2007 confirming that scientific advances can "transform toxicity testing from a system based on whole-animal testing to one founded primarily on in vitro (non-animal) methods." Such an approach will improve efficiency, speed and prediction for humans while cutting costs and reducing animal suffering. Indeed, high-tech methods are the only way thousands of chemicals can be tested.
Any update of the laws regulating toxic chemicals must include measures to ensure that the most modern testing methods are used. It is critical that the science underlying chemical safety assessments be updated from the crude animal tests developed around the time of World War I to the 21st century technology that is now available. Without this shift in science, chemical management reform of the kind being proposed by the EPA and others is logistically impossible.
So, your child or your dog? We now can—and should—save both.
Written by Jessica Sandler, director of regulatory testing
Think back to 1998, when Titanic spoofs were still topical and The Simpsons was only in its 10th season. Remember the Simpsons episode in which Homer discovers that Springfield's milk is supplied by a mafia-run underground rat-milking operation? Yeah, it was pretty nasty.
Fast-forward to 2009: Pharming, a Netherlands-based biotech firm, seems to be using The Simpsons as misguided inspiration for pharmaceutical development. Pharming has been running its own rabbit-milking operation for years. And now, with the recent announcement that Pharming has extracted a protein from rabbit milk for use in an experimental drug, Dutch farmers are prepared to start milking rabbits on a large scale.
This news may seem like it's from an alternate cartoon universe, but animal-exploiting companies like Pharming are constantly finding new ways to abuse female animals and their reproductive systems, sentencing millions of animals to confinement, misery, and death in the process. These profit-hungry businesses are willing to do anything to animals for money—no matter how much suffering it causes. Many people know that dairy farms forcibly impregnate cows over and over and rip their babies from them a day after they're born so that humans can drink their mothers' milk and the male calves can be sold for veal. Less attention is paid to the biotech companies that milk mice in order to extract a protein for human baby formula or genetically engineer goats to produce spider silk in their milk for use in parachute cords and bulletproof vests.
The easiest, fastest way to save lives is simply not to support companies that profit from cruelty to animals. Go vegan and shun any products that were tested on animals or that contain any animal ingredients. Remember that there is always a humane alternative.
Ooh, what have we here—a sss-exy photo shoot for a fashion magazine?
Actually, these lovely "lizards" were part of PETA's wildly successful protest against killing snakes, lizards, and other exotic animals for their skins. Swarms of onlookers and media in Prague soaked up our compassionate message.
Our thanks go out to our ravishing reptiles, the body painter who donated his time to painstakingly apply their "costumes," and other caring people who handed out leaflets to ongawkers.
Written by Karin Bennett
The filmmakers behind The Cove showed that taking brave action for animals can make a difference. The highly acclaimed documentary—about a group of extraordinary people who aim to shine a light on Japan's dark dolphin trade and slaughter—was just released on DVD and is the prize for this week's "Win It" Wednesday.
Acts of compassion and courage are everyday events. At this very moment, people everywhere are sticking up for animals. Someone is confronting a neighbor about a lonely dog tied in the backyard. Another person is finally telling her beloved aunt how she truly feels about that fur coat. A high school student is telling his biology teacher that he won't dissect a frog—no way, no how.
Now is your time to shine. Describe a courageous action that you took in behalf of animals. We've got three copies of The Cove to award the people who offer the most heartfelt responses. I have a feeling that the animals will win too—there's no doubt that people who read the entries will be inspired to take action.
Here's an upside to the economic downturn: The Iditarod—the famous dogsled race for which dogs are tormented and killed every year—has reported a $1 million loss in funding, which will result in a $100,000 cut in prize money for the 2010 race. We're hoping that the decrease in possible winnings will encourage prospective dog abusers mushers not to compete and to look into more humane racing options that don't require them to run dogs to death.
Last year, at least eight dogs died during the Iditarod, succumbing to freezing, exhausting conditions. With its depleted endowment, it looks like the Iditarod may be on the road to dissolution—help continue the Iditarod's downward spiral by urging this year's sponsors to stop funding the cruel event.
It was a cagey scene outside NASA headquarters in D.C. yesterday when our primates urged NASA to scrap its misguided $1.75 million plan to torment monkeys in radiation experiments. The demonstration was out-of-this-world spectacular, prompting NASA employees to approach our volunteers for some dynamic discussions. No one could walk by these guys without stopping to have a second look:
The more than two dozen monkeys in NASA's crude experiment will be zapped with a massive dose of radiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York, and then spend the rest of their lives condemned to a laboratory at Harvard's McLean Hospital where they'll be enlisted in a never-ending series of experiments to assess how the radiation devastates their brains and bodies. NASA has admitted that the radiation is "going to cause some cellular damage." What they really mean is that the monkeys may likely suffer from brain damage, cancer and premature aging.
It goes without saying that you should urge NASA to abandon these abhorrent experiments ASAP.
In the wake of the recent release of our undercover investigation exposing cruelty and suffering inside animal labs at the University of Utah, students, local PETA supporters, and members of Salt Lake Animal Advocacy Movement gathered outside the university's Park Building yesterday and urged the swarm of spectators to help put an end to the cruelty committed against the dogs, cats, and other animals confined to the University's labs.
The demonstrators weren't just humans—some adorable companion animals campaigned for the cause too. Together, they collected signatures for a petition to scrap the law that requires government-run shelters to make homeless animals—even those who are friendly, trained, and adoptable—available to universities and private labs for experimentation and testing. How could you not put your name to something these guys are supporting:
Join the effort and urge the University of Utah to stop abusing shelter animals in its labs immediately.
For more than eight months this year, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside University of Utah animal labs, where she documented the miserable conditions and daily suffering of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, mice, rabbits, frogs, cows, pigs, and sheep. Today, The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about the investigation, including the response from Tom Parks, the university's vice president for research. The response is (not so) stunningly callous: "None of the things she alleges are substantive. It's a remarkably banal list of ordinary events in an animal-care facility."
Here's a list of the things the university considers "banal"—part of an "ordinary" day in the "animal-care facility":
Brain injections, desperate thirst, tumors, and holes in skulls: just another banal day in the lab, right?
We have filed complaints against the university with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local law-enforcement officials, and you can take action to help animals at the University of Utah too.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.