Animals Used for Experimentation

Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside barren cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, ache with loneliness, and long to be free from animal testing. Instead, all they can do is sit and wait in fear of the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them. A lack of environmental enrichment and the stress of their living situation cause some animals to develop neurotic types of behavior such as incessantly spinning in circles, rocking back and forth, pulling out their own fur, and even biting themselves. After enduring a life of pain, loneliness, and terror, almost all of them will be killed.

PETA is at the forefront of stopping this abuse. Our dedicated team of scientists and other staff members work full time exposing the cruelty of animal tests in order to ensure their imminent end. This team collaborates with members of Congress to introduce groundbreaking legislation to replace the use of animals in laboratories, spearheads hard-hitting eyewitness exposés and public campaigns that have been pivotal in shifting public opinion against animal testing, and persuades major corporations, government agencies, and universities to abandon animal tests in favor of modern, non-animal methods.

PETA’s Animal Experimentation Victories

Technologically advanced non-animal test methods can be used in place of animal testing. Not only are these tests more humane, they also have the potential to be cheaper, faster, and more relevant to humans.

While some of the experimentation conducted on animals today is required by law, most of it isn’t. In fact, a number of countries have implemented bans on the testing of certain types of consumer goods on animals, such as the cosmetics-testing bans in the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, and elsewhere.

    Millions Suffer and Die in Animal Testing, Training, and Other Experiments

    More than 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in medical training exercises and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities. Animals also suffer and die in classroom biology experiments and dissection, even though modern non-animal tests have repeatedly been shown to have more educational value, save teachers time, and save schools money. 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 uncounted.

    Examples of animal tests include forcing mice and rats to inhale toxic fumes, force-feeding dogs pesticides, and applying corrosive chemicals into rabbits’ sensitive eyes. Even if a product harms animals, it can still be marketed to consumers. Conversely, just because a product was shown to be safe in animals does not guarantee that it will be safe to use in humans.

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    Taxpayer and Health Charities’ Dollars Fund Experiments on Animals

    Animals are also used in toxicity tests 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture are just a few of the government agencies that subject animals to crude, painful tests.

    The federal government and many health charities waste precious dollars from taxpayers and well-meaning donors on animal experiments at universities and private laboratories, instead of supporting promising clinical, in vitro, epidemiological, and other non-animal studies that could actually benefit humans.

    Animal Experiments Throughout History: A Century of Suffering

    PETA created an interactive timeline, “Without Consent,” featuring almost 200 stories of animal experiments from the past century to open people’s eyes to the long history of suffering inflicted on nonconsenting animals in laboratories and to challenge people to rethink this exploitation. Visit “Without Consent” to learn more about harrowing animal experiments throughout history and how you can help create a better future for living, feeling beings.

    Without Consent

    Help Animals Used in Experiments

    Each of us can help prevent animal suffering and deaths by buying cruelty-free products, donating only to charities that don’t experiment on animals, requesting alternatives to animal dissection, demanding the immediate implementation of humane, effective non-animal tests by government agencies and corporations, and calling on our alma maters to stop experimenting on animals.

    With the help of our members and supporters, PETA works globally to expose and end the use of animals in experiments. Some of our efforts include the following:

    This multifaceted approach yields scores of victories or animals imprisoned in laboratories every year.

    Take Action for 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