The Naughty/Nice List: Is Your Charitable Donation Hurting Animals?

Published by Alisa Mullins.

The holiday season is a time of giving. But could your generosity inadvertently harm animals? It could if you donate to a charity that funds experiments on them.

Beagle cowering in cage @ Iams

Numerous health charities—including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Susan G. Komen, the March of Dimes, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and others—have a dirty secret that you won’t see in their infomercials or telethons: They funnel donations toward appallingly cruel and pointless animal experiments.

For instance, experimenters funded by the American Heart Association severed the nerves in dogs’ hearts and forced chickens to breathe concentrated cigarette smoke—even though scientists have known for years that smoking is linked to atherosclerosis. Experimenters funded by the March of Dimes sewed the eyes of newborn kittens shut for a year, then killed them, to show that depriving cats of normal vision alters brain development—already a long-accepted scientific fact.

Earlier this month, the French animal-protection group Animal Testing revealed heartbreaking footage from a laboratory funded by the French charity AFM-Téléthon, in which dogs intentionally bred to suffer from muscular dystrophy had difficulty swallowing, breathing, and walking as their muscles wasted away.

The good news is that many reputable charities—including Easterseals, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and the Children’s Oncology Group—help people with diseases or disabilities, without harming animals, by funding only modern, high-tech, human-relevant, non-animal research.

To ensure that your holiday donations help both people and animals, we’ve compiled a handy list of health charities to support (and others to avoid). This list is not exhaustive: If you want to support a charity that you don’t see listed here, please contact it directly and ask if it funds animal tests. Be sure to let charities know that you won’t support them as long as they hurt living beings.

HIV/AIDS

Do Test

  1. Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
  2. amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
  3. Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)
  4. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  5. International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

Don’t Test

  1. AIDS Action Committee
  2. AIDS United
  3. Bebashi
  4. Gay Men’s Health Crisis

CANCER

Do Test

  1. Alberta Cancer Foundation
  2. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
  3. American Brain Tumor Association
  4. American Cancer Society
  5. American Institute for Cancer Research
  6. Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation
  7. Breast Cancer Alliance
  8. Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  9. Cancer Research Institute
  10. Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation
  11. Children’s Cancer Research Fund
  12. City of Hope
  13. Colon Cancer Alliance
  14. The University of Arizona Cancer Center
  15. University of Colorado Cancer Center

Don’t Test

  1. American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF)
  2. CancerCare
  3. Cancer Recovery Foundation International
  4. Children’s Cancer Association
  5. Susan Love Research Foundation
  6. Gateway for Cancer Research

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES

Do Test

  1. American Heart Association
  2. American Stroke Association
  3. British Heart Foundation
  4. Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (Tufts Medical Center)
  5. Texas Heart Institute

Don’t Test

  1. Save a Child’s Heart
  2. Neuro Vitality Center

MENTAL HEALTH

Do Test

  1. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Don’t Test

  1. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  2. International Association for Suicide Prevention
  3. The Trevor Project
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness 

NEUROGENERATIVE DISEASES

Do Test

  1. Alzheimer’s Association
  2. American Parkinson Disease Association
  3. BrightFocus Foundation
  4. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
  5. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
  6. National Parkinson Foundation

Don’t Test

  1. Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay
  2. Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation
  3. Neuro Vitality Center

OBESITY/DIABETES

Do Test

  1. American Diabetes Association
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association
  3. JDRF
  4. Joslin Diabetes Center
  5. William Sansum Diabetes Center

Don’t Test
At this time, we’re not aware of any reputable charities in this category that don’t test on animals.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind