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Rabbits in Laboratories

Rabbits are frequent victims of animal experimenters because they are mild-tempered and easy to handle, confine, and breed—more than 170,000 of them are abused in U.S. laboratories every year.

Despite the availability of more modern, humane, and effective alternatives, rabbits are still tormented in the notorious Draize eye irritancy test, in which cosmetics, dishwashing liquid, drain cleaner, and other substances are dripped into the animals’ eyes, often causing redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or blindness. The rabbits are killed after the experiment is over. And even though internationally accepted non-animal methods exist, in skin corrosion tests, rabbits’ backs are shaved and corrosive chemicals are applied to their raw skin and left there for up to two weeks. These chemicals often burn the skin, leading to tissue damage. Rabbits are also given no pain relief during this excruciatingly painful test, and after the test is finished, they are killed.

At Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc., a product testing laboratory in North Carolina, workers attached thousands of ticks onto rabbits’ shaved bodies to allow the ticks to gorge for five days. Rabbits were subjected to this painful procedure twice and were then killed, even though non-animal methods for raising ticks have been available since the mid-’90s.

In addition to being subjected to these cruel chemical tests, rabbits are used in experiments to study cardiovascular disease, skin conditions, and spinal cord injuries. Experimenters at the University of Utah cut deep incisions into rabbits’ backs and surgically inserted implants into their spines. The surgically mutilated rabbits were observed for 24 weeks and then killed.

You can help stop this. Take a stand against animal testing. Sign PETA’s pledge to be cruelty-free, and only support companies and charities that do not fund or conduct cruel experiments on animals.