Written by PETA
PETA always tries to explain to people that what is done to animals inside laboratories would be illegal if it happened anywhere else. Burning, shocking, or poisoning a dog would typically land someone in jail. But paradoxically, as long as the abuse happens in a laboratory and is called "science," the people responsible for it are exempt from prosecution under cruelty laws in almost every state. Fortunately, there are some instances in which animal experimenters can be held legally accountable for tormenting animals, but we're learning that even in those cases, experimenters seem to be above the law. As you probably could've guessed, we're fighting to make sure that justice for animals is served!
Last year, Madison, Wisconsin's Alliance for Animals filed a complaint with the district attorney of Dane County alleging that experimenters at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (remember them?) had violated the state's Crimes Against Animals statute by killing sheep in U.S. Navy–funded decompression experiments (killing animals by decompression is specifically prohibited by Wisconsin law). The animals were placed in high-pressure hyperbaric chambers, and some died from the excruciating pain of decompression sickness ("the bends"), which occurs when bubbles of nitrogen gas form in the blood, muscles, and organs, including the brain. Did we mention that the French Navy and the U.K. Ministry of Defence no longer conduct decompression experiments on animals?
Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard investigated and concluded that UW-Madison did in fact violate state law by killing sheep by decompression. Incredibly, he decided that it wasn't worth his time and effort to pursue charges.
Fortunately, there is a Wisconsin law that allows private parties to request that a circuit judge order the filing of a criminal complaint in cases in which a crime has been committed and the D.A. refuses to take action. So PETA and Alliance for Animals have stepped in to petition for prosecution.
We'll keep you up to date on this case as it unfolds. In the meantime, please help us put an end to laboratory atrocities that are still taking place in campuses across the U.S.
Written by Karin Bennett
Victory Update: Following a year of vigorous campaigning, PETA has learned that government officials have grounded plans for a cruel and ineffective radiation experiment on monkeys. Learn more about this victory for monkeys.
Despite our petitions, demonstrations, tweets to astronauts in space, a letter from the U.S. Congress, and even compelling evidence that the project may have violated federal regulations, NASA has not halted its misguided plan to waste $1.75 million to torment monkeys in cruel and ineffective radiation experiments. With the window of opportunity to save the monkeys quickly closing, we're calling on you to take a few minutes of your time to call NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at 202-358-1020 and very politely (the nicer you are when you call the better it is for monkeys) ask her to scrap the proposal to fund radiation experiments on monkeys and to direct these resources toward modern and humane methods instead.
I just got off the phone with Garver's secretary, who, while polite, seemed a little taken aback as she took down my message. Clearly, she hadn't planned on starting her day by taking notes about how NASA needs to stop its plans to zap monkeys with a massive dose of radiation and then condemn them to years of experiments in order to assess how the radiation devastates their brains and bodies.
After you call, send a quick follow-up message to NASA officials, urge everyone you know to do the same, and tell us about your experience phoning NASA. Come on—it's OK to call and tell!
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
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.
Written by Logan Scherer
You may remember that years back, PETA was instrumental in getting NASA out of the monkey business when we successfully pushed the agency to cancel plans to launch straightjacketed, electrode-implanted monkeys into space. So, as you can imagine, we leapt to attention when we learned recently that the mad scientists at NASA want to blast up to 28 squirrel monkeys with a massive dose of gamma rays in order to "simulate" the space radiation they would be exposed to if they were humans on a three-year mission to Mars (which they aren't, but apparently NASA isn't one to quibble over details).
The monkeys will then spend the rest of their lives being forced to perform a host of "behavioral tasks" to assess how the radiation affected their brains. Although NASA has repeatedly told the media that these monkeys won't be killed, they left out the teensy detail that earlier radiation experiments NASA has conducted on monkeys have caused the animals to suffer from fatal cancers, including brain tumors.
We asked NASA to halt these cruel and pointless experiments in a letter we sent to the agency this week. No answer yet, but in the meantime, please let NASA know how you feel about its plans to experiment on monkeys.
Written by Alisa Mullins
It's been years since my high school biology class, but I still remember the smell of the rotting pig corpses that we mutilated over the course of a nightmarish three-day lab. Piled in the corner of the room in a black garbage bag, the carcasses emanated a rancid smell that only got worse each day, and after each lab period, we all ate lunch in the same room—the lab doubled as our cafeteria.
Today, though, it's the sweet smell of victory that I'm waking up to. Nine months ago, a compassionate student at Oakton Community College contacted PETA about a professor who was having students in an anatomy and physiology class cut open live rats and mudpuppies to observe how their organs worked. We immediately contacted school officials to share information on the intelligent, complex animals who were being tormented and killed for these experiments and presented officials with cruelty-free and effective educational alternatives. This week, Oakton Community College let us know that it has stopped using live animals in ALL of its classes!
We're urging all schools (hear that, ASU?) to follow Oakton's enlightened path and replace their cruel classroom animal experiments with modern, more effective non-animal learning methods. Biology is the study of life—it just doesn't make any sense to kill animals to teach it. Urge schools in your area to get smart and go cruelty-free.
On Sunday, the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times ran a great article about a recent undercover investigation conducted at a Hampshire laboratory that tests Dysport—a wrinkle-erasing drug similar to Botox—on mice. The investigation was conducted by our friends at the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, and among the most disturbing findings of the investigation was the fact that technicians repeatedly broke the backs of mice while attempting to kill them with ball-point pens. Yes, you read that right. Staffers then used the same ball-point pens to fill out their victims' death records.
Laboratory workers were also videotaped botching injections and swearing at rabbits. One staffer calls a struggling rabbit "a little s**t" and "a disgrace."
As with Botox, both in the U.S. and the U.K., each batch of Dysport is tested on animals. More than 41,000 mice were killed in Dysport tests in a six-month period at just this one laboratory.
Horrors like these don't just take place across the pond either. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that more than 100 million mice and rats are killed in experiments every year. And here in the U.S. these sensitive, intelligent animals are not protected by any federal laws, even though they are the animals who suffer most frequently at the hands of animal experimenters. Investigation after investigation shows that these highly social animals are handled like they are disposable laboratory equipment instead of living animals who deserve respect and kindness.
Here's one more reason why I heart Oprah.
Yesterday, during her fall fashion style makeover show, a stylist mentioned that a furry vest worn in one woman's "after" look was faux. Oprah replied, "I was a PETA Woman of the Year so I hope that's faux!"
From celebrating vegan cuisine with Chef Tal Ronnen to airing an in-depth investigation of the cruelty of puppy mills, Oprah never hesitates to remind millions of television viewers to consider animals in their everyday lives.
In a news item that dates back to late August but was just reported on in Sunday's Boston Herald, a half dozen staff and students at Harvard Medical School became ill after they drank coffee from a vending machine that had been laced with sodium azide, a preservative that is commonly used in laboratories. The story reported that all the afflicted worked in a laboratory where they torment mice in immune system experiments.
While we would never wish poisoning upon any living being (talk about a painful way to go) it does have us wondering if karma might be at work again.
Recent publications from Harvard Medical School faculty members included experiments in which mice had 25 percent of their skin burned off by placing them in 190-plus-degree water and were then injected with increasingly large doses of E. coli to see at which point 50 percent of the animals would die. In another experiment, mice were injected with cancerous cells to induce the growth of colorectal tumors and then injected with a herpes virus to see how it affected the cancer. At the end of the experiment, the animals who didn't die during the study were killed and dissected.
It does look like some of the animal torturers experimenters at Harvard have gotten a taste of their own medicine—literally. Let this be a lesson to you, Harvard: Never underestimate the fury of a mouse scorned.
A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 43 percent of American adults—and nearly 60 percent of those under 30 years old—oppose the use of animals in experiments. If I made my money addicting animals to drugs and then killing them or drilling holes into their skulls for sexual behavior experiments, I would take this news as a sign that I should quit my day job and start looking for another way to make a killing earn a living.
Apparently, this kind of clear thinking is in short supply at the national conference of the Society for Neuroscience. Instead of embracing modern, humane non-animal research methods, some members of the society met in Chicago yesterday to brainstorm ways that they can drum up support for archaic and cruel experiments on animals.
PETA held a demonstration outside the conference, and was joined by Dr. Larry Hansen, whom the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease just named one of the world's top 100 Alzheimer's researchers. Dr. Hansen is one of many progressive, forward-thinking scientists who realize that animal experimentation should be replaced.
More than 100 million sensitive, intelligent animals are experimented on and killed in U.S. laboratories every year. Take a minute to visit StopAnimalTests.com and find out how you can speak up for these animals.
Written by Shawna Flavell
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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.