Animal Testing 101
Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside cold, barren cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, ache with loneliness, and long to roam free and use their minds.
Instead, all they can do is sit and wait in fear of the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them. The stress, sterility and boredom causes some animals to develop neurotic behaviors such incessantly spinning in circles, rocking back and forth and even pulling out their own hair and biting their own skin. They shake and cower in fear whenever someone walks past their cages and their blood pressure spikes drastically. After enduring lives of pain, loneliness and terror, almost all of them will be killed.
More than 100 million animals every year suffer and die in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in biology lessons, medical training exercises, and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities. Exact numbers aren’t available because mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals—who make up more than 99 percent of animals used in experiments—are not covered by even the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act and therefore go virtually uncounted. To test cosmetics, household cleaners, and other consumer products, hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year by cruel corporations. Mice and rats are forced to inhale toxic fumes, dogs are force-fed pesticides, and rabbits have corrosive chemicals rubbed onto their skin and eyes. Many of these tests are not even required by law, and they often produce inaccurate or misleading results. Even if a product harms animals, it can still be marketed to consumers. Cruel and deadly toxicity tests are also conducted as part of massive regulatory testing programs that are often funded by U.S. taxpayers’ money. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Toxicology Program, and the Department of Agriculture are just a few of the government agencies that subject animals to painful and crude tests.
The federal government and many health charities waste precious dollars from taxpayers and generous donors on cruel and misleading animal experiments at universities and private laboratories instead of spending them on promising clinical, in vitro and epidemiological studies that are actually relevant to humans.
Millions of animals also suffer and die for classroom biology experiments and dissection, even though modern alternatives have repeatedly been shown to teach students better, save teachers time, and save schools money.
Each of us can help save animals from suffering and death in experiments by demanding that our alma maters stop experimenting on animals, by buying cruelty-free products, by donating only to charities that don’t experiment on animals, by requesting alternatives to animal dissection and by demanding the immediate implementation of humane, effective non-animal tests by government agencies and corporations.
PETA’s extensive worldwide campaign to expose and end the use of animals in experiments is wide-ranging. In addition to our well-known groundbreaking undercover work and colorful advocacy campaigns to educate the public, with the help of our members and supporters we push government agencies to stop funding and conducting experiments on animals; encourage pharmaceutical, chemical, and consumer products companies to replace tests on animals with more effective non-animal methods; help students and teachers end dissection in the classroom; fund humane non-animal research; publish scientific papers; and urge health charities not to invest in dead-end tests on animals. Our staff is working on these issues, and this multifaceted approach yields scores of victories for animals locked in laboratories every year.