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Animal Tests: A Choice We Can’t Live With in 2010

Written by PETA | December 31, 2009
veganrepresent / CC

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

Commenting is closed.
  • jean muise says:

    Stop the NASA experiments on monkeys now

  • indycar01 says:

    whats the point in animal research when what ever happens they always end up doing human trails?.. example if a car mechanic said we have to 1st do research on a lawnmower engine before i look at your cars engine.. this does not make sense visit and charities are so GULLIBLE!.. billions every year for what?.. its a BUSINESS!.. nothing more. animal research has NEVER been validated. “work on prevention of polio was LONG DELAYED by an erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease based on MISLEADING experimental models of the disease in monkeys” albert sabin m.d. during a 1984 house subcommittee. does your charity fund anires visit

  • Autumn says:

    ohh my god……………i never thaught animal cruelty and testing was very serious well truthfully nevr thaught about it but after reading several articls i understand. the cruelty MUST STOP. i cant even imagine the pain these animals face. im an animal lover and this is horrible…..its grusom….its nasty….and its so wrong. like why would they be willing 2 do these tests on a animal and not on themselves. god made humans and animals which therefor in my eyes we are equals……this testing is ugg horrible. it needs to stop. i mean why should animals be sacrificed just to make a bottle of um clorox….or a bottle of pinesaw. its so wrong and it really angers me to an ixstint you probly extint. i dont have kids because im 14 but i would totally save my dogs…..i love them there my life. if someone did testing on my dogs theyd be dead.. i loved your article and its going to help me soooo much on my projectessay. im going to join PETA. THANK YOU EVER SOOOO MUCH

  • a.j says:

    Recently i have sent a letter to gordon brown he hasnt relpied as i expected so yet again i am going to keep writing to pariment untill he does. Also i because of peta i have become a vegetarian and hope when i’m older a vegan. Now aswell i always check to see if products have been tested on animals an if they have then i don’t but them.

  • victorya rouille says:

    hey plzzz dont kill test or lock up animals

  • A.J. says:

    It really disgusts me how people live knowing their being so cruel to living creatures. WHATS THE POINT I MEAN I CAN’T UNDERSAND WHY. These helpless animals haven’t done anything wrong why do they deserve to be locked up and practially tortured till their death this isn’t how the worlds susposed to be and for what things like MAKE UP AND TOOTHPASTE stupid pathetic things like that if they really want to test their products on somehing do it to themelves !!!!!!!!!!then they’l no how it feels

  • kayla says:

    I have refused to do a dissection in my Biology class because I believe that every living thing has rights. To me putting an animal to death or using them in painful experiments just to further our own selfish needs is just unthinkable. I would rather take a failing grade than be part of a murder.

  • dee cadle says:

    i really really want to stop animal esting because i am 12 and i love and care for any animal the ones who even scare the heeby jeebies out of me but i would love to stop it but i dont no where to start and i want to do someething about it becasue their are many alternatives to do testing like on human cells so that they no that they have a good reliable answer not on a animal becuase they are diffrent than a human and will reacy difrently and i would like to stop it but have no clue where to start i wish their waqs a group to try and stop all the animal testing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i would kill myself or put myself in jail to get the freedom of all those animals in those tiny no where clean cages.

  • holly says:

    animal testingis wrong we should only do it if we need a cure not more beuty products or stuff like that only for medicene when need and some animals are not uthinised or given pain killers when in real pain and if they get really worse i beleie they should be put down imediatly

  • Samantha says:

    What really gets me here is that these animals are suffering so that we can have frizzfree hair and ruby red lips…like these things are really that important? Like its worth living beings’ lives? On top of that even if testing shows that the chemical is dangerous…they still continue to test the same product on the animals…but put lower dosages of the ingredient in the product regardless. Seems like a complete waste to me. Science and looking good are not worth thousands of innocent lives…human or animals.

  • mary w. says:

    I don’t want to know how many animals have to eat lipstick only because it has to be more waterproof more kiss resistant or smooth. Medical research is only the top of the heap. Sad story!

  • Janet says:

    As long as it is profitable for companies universities and hospitals to experiment animal testing will not stop. The NIH most be pressured into allocating its grant money towards nonanimal test. Mediacl journals need to stop printing studies conducted on animals. Vivisectors are selfish and greedy. If they stop receiving grants and recognition they will change their methods to ones that will be rewarding.

  • Randy says:

    On the planet I come from anyone who holds Norma’s view would be just as worthy a test subject. First the legal system screws up even when it comes to putting people on death row. I can see it now”Oops kidsyour daddy was innocent but he was killed in an LD50 test. Our bad.” Then there’s thousands of chemicals to be tested yet only a few peeps on death row. What nondeath penalty offenses would you consider punishable by lethal toxicity test? Finally there’s the whole oddness of thinking it’s OK to hurt people but not animals.

  • norma southwood says:

    Article almost too distressing to read. Human beings are inveterate selfish bullies and there are plenty of them in our prisons would make suitable specimens for such experiments.

  • Kalama Halamezad says:

    Brien in an ideal world that would be the casebut the belief that all problems can be solved in vitro is just as untrue as believing that all problems can be solved using only animal models. It’s unlikely that the current reform won’t significantly reduce the number of animals used for toxicity testing since there are existing nonanimal methods that can be used to study specific aspects of how chemicals affect cells in vitro which are known to have human implications. These methods are generally cheaper than correlating animal models. The number of animals will also likely be reduced because certain tests ie. LD50 haven’t performed very well in practice and used huge number of animals. Total abolition or significant reduction in animals used for such tests would be expected. In my experience a disembodied human cell is often as alien as an entirely different animal. Like all animal models you can’t be confident in dish results until you collect ample data showing they actually are predictive of human outcome. Luckily for animals scientists activists and people who pay to do testing we have a few tests that have met such a criteria that can now be written into policy.

  • Charli says:

    Thanks Jessica for writing a wonderful article. You are right on the money with regards to the current reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act TSCA. I think making industrial chemicals safer is something we can all get behind. We must ensure that alternatives to animal testing are written into the new policy otherwise we’ll have another outdated bill on our hands. The current animal testing paradigm has a poor record in predicting effects in humans and an even poorer record in leading to actual regulation of dangerous chemicals. I hope our Congresspeople listen to the National Academy of Sciences and the countless other scientists scientific groups who advocate for alternatives to animal bodies.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    To cure humans you must experiment on human stemcells skincells and tissue. Billions of animals have been tortured and killed in research labs for morally unjustified reasons with neglible efficacy.

  • Shari says:

    Look at those little hands! Who could hurt those tiny little hands. Anyone who injects them most notice how they close their tiny little hands in a tight fist because of the pain. How could anyone do this.To over power such a tiny little thing. We only do it to them because we don’t do it to anyone or anything that can’t be overpower or tired down by a person. Have you ever noticed that! Or anyone that can scream and run to a phone and get help. It’s always the voiceless!

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    It’s really sad that so many chemicals are testing on animals everywhere and all of those animals are smarter than people think! Dogs cats rats mice monkeys rabbits etc etc are very smart animals. Most having the brain of a small child yet so many companies continue to tests their drugs on them.. What if it was their child? Would they still do it? I don’t think so. And the fact that they still use such an ancient way for testing drugs proves that they would do it even if it was a small child instead..

  • Toby says:

    It’s interesting to consider that dogs are about as smart as twoyear old humans. Contrary to what Keith Olbermann said on Countdown one night the smartest of farm animals are not as smart as newborn babies but are more like threeyear old children pigs. Neel Mukherjee a Guardian News writer recently wrote that he knew better than to eat meat but just “couldn’t stop himself” the fact that eating pork is the same as eating threeyear old children would likely be compelling to people who struggle to put veganism in practical terms.

  • Aneliese says:

    Shows how almost everyone is a speciesist.