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.
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.
- Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
- amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
- Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR)
- Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
- International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
- Alberta Cancer Foundation
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
- American Brain Tumor Association
- American Cancer Society
- American Institute for Cancer Research
- Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation
- Breast Cancer Alliance
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- Cancer Research Institute
- Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation
- Children’s Cancer Research Fund
- City of Hope
- Colon Cancer Alliance
- The University of Arizona Cancer Center
- University of Colorado Cancer Center
- American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF)
- Cancer Recovery Foundation International
- Children’s Cancer Association
- Susan Love Research Foundation
- Gateway for Cancer Research
- American Heart Association
- American Stroke Association
- British Heart Foundation
- Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (Tufts Medical Center)
- Texas Heart Institute
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- International Association for Suicide Prevention
- The Trevor Project
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Alzheimer’s Association
- American Parkinson Disease Association
- BrightFocus Foundation
- Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
- National Parkinson Foundation
- American Diabetes Association
- Canadian Diabetes Association
- Joslin Diabetes Center
- William Sansum Diabetes Center
At this time, we’re not aware of any reputable charities in this category that don’t test on animals.