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Health Charities: Helping or Hurting?

Many of us find it difficult to say “No” when asked to donate to a charity seeking a cure for a disease. But how many of us can take the time to find out how that donation would be used? Would our money really alleviate suffering, or would our donation dollars actually contribute to suffering? Would our donation be wasted on cruel studies that tell us nothing about human disease?

PETA is here to answer these questions:

Cruel Charities

Many huge health charities, including the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the March of Dimes, Shriners International, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the American Lung Association, actually take millions of lives. They waste precious dollars on cruel, irrelevant experiments on dogs, rats, cats, mice, primates, pigs, sheep, and other animals instead of spending them on promising human-based research and prevention programs that are much more likely to produce treatments and cures.

Although humans and animals both feel pain, fear, sadness, joy, love, and other emotions, there are vast physiological differences between species. Data from one species cannot be reliably applied to another. Different species of animals vary enormously in their reactions to toxins and diseases and in their metabolism of drugs. Consequently, reliance on animal “models” to address human diseases has been misleading and dangerous. One issue is that animals don’t suffer from many human diseases, so experimenters try to create symptoms. Only humans contract HIV, for example, and every AIDS vaccine study on animals has completely failed in human clinical trials.

Many so-called “environmental” and “conservation” groups use generous people’s donations to quietly fund or lobby for painful and deadly poisoning tests on animals that are irrelevant to humans. 

Every dollar that cruel charities spend on experiments on animals is a dollar that could have been better spent on relevant, non-animal research, oreffective programs to help people with diseases or disabilities.

Support Cruelty-Free Charities

While cruel charities do a disservice both to animals in laboratories and to human patients, many humane charities help without hurting. These charities use modern, sophisticated, cutting-edge technologies that are cheaper, faster, and more reliable than animal tests in modeling the human condition.

Using cell lines, tissue cultures, computer and mathematical modeling, clinical investigations, epidemiological research, autopsy studies, and other non-animal methods, humane charities blaze paths to a better understanding of human disease. Animal-friendly philanthropists can give to deserving charities that do not use animals in experiments, such as Easter Seals, Helen Keller Worldwide, the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Charities, Children’s Burn Foundation, Miracle House, and others that help people without hurting animals.

Visit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s online searchable guide to make sure that the charities you support are humane.

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