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Animal Testing: A Cruel Human Act MAG
"I abhor vivisection... it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, noscientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarismand cruelty."- Dr. Charles Mayo, Founder of the Mayo Clinic
Among theprejudice and the terrorism , there is another act that is lowering humanstandards. It is the inhumane use of animals to test products and scientificadvances, and it points to the gradual downfall of our society: killing otherliving beings for the sake of our selfish selves. So-called scientifically mindedpeople are testing toxic materials on animals that severely harm or even killthem. This shouldn't come as a shock, though. Many companies now include the"not animal tested" label on their products. But what about the largerpercentage of companies that do not? What are they subjecting animals to? Animaltesting is vile and unreasonable.
According to the New EnglandAnti-Vivisection Society, vivisection is burning, shocking, drugging, starving,irradiating, blinding, and killing animals. Despite the fact that animal testingdoes little to help consumer safety, many companies still support three types ofproduct testing.
Every year in the United States, millions of animals areused for experimentation. They are infected with diseases they would nevercontract, they are force-fed and injected with toxic chemicals, they have theirspines severed, bones broken and electrodes implanted in their skulls. We pay formuch of this. According to the government, the National Institutes of Health isthe largest single financer of animal experiments in the world. The animals' solelegal protection, the Animal Welfare Act, covers only housekeeping standards anddoes not regulate or prohibit any experimental procedure.
For example, theDraize test, introduced by the Food and Drug Administration 45 years ago, is usedto measure the toxicity of chemicals found in household products and cosmetics byobserving the damage they cause to the eyes and skin of animals. In the Draizetest for eye irritantcy, solutions are applied directly to the eyes of animals,usually albino rabbits. The test compounds often cause irreparable damage to therabbits' eyes, leaving them ulcerated. Then the animals are killed in order todetermine the internal effects of the tested substances.
Another commontest is the LD-50 (Lethal Dose 50 Percent), which is the amount of a substancethat will kill half a test group of animals within a specified time period whenan animal ingests, inhales or is exposed to it. The animals typically sufferacute distress, pain, convulsions, diarrhea and bleeding from the eyes and mouth.At the end of the test period, the animals who survived are killed.
Thethird is the inhalation test, where massive amounts of aerosol products (morethan any human could possibly inhale) are pumped into small chambers from whichanimals cannot escape. Convulsions and death often result.
These testsare considered frivolous by many scientists. Research has shown that companiesnever get all the information they think they will find in animal tests. TheFebruary 1997 issue of The Nature of Wellness magazine claimed that animalexperiments mislead doctors and the general public.
Diseases, such ascancer, that are inflicted in labs have no relationship to the cancers thataffect humans. Most scientists know that each animal species has a differentbiomechanical and biochemical composition. Animals are different not only fromhumans, but also from each other anatomically, physiologically, immunologicallyand genetically. These experimenters try to justify the use of animals byclaiming that animals are "similar" enough to humans to warrantexperimentation. Aspirin kills cats while penicillin kills guinea pigs. Thesediffering reactions are endless.
Human diseases cannot be functionallyrecreated in animals, simply because once a disease is "recreated,"it's artificial. In spite of massive efforts aimed at creating an animal model ofAIDS, researchers have never been able to infect a single animal with human AIDS.We are far from curing a number of life-threatening diseases. Many treatmentshave been found to be safe, but are without solid backing because the drugsaffected the animal's systems differently than they would humans'. These mistakeshave cost huge amounts of money.
There are many alternatives to animalexperimentation, according to the July 1997 issue of Time magazine and NewScientist Planet Science. Corrositex, developed by InVitro International, is agovernment-approved, test-tube method of determining how severely corrosivesubstances will burn skin. It is accurate, yields results in as little as threeminutes, and spares rabbits the pain of exposure to damaging chemicals. Insteadof administering Draize tests to rabbits' eyes, the InVitro Irritection AssaySystem can determine the irritation potential of chemicals, cosmetics andcleaners within 24 hours. It is faster and more accurate, too.
Testskin,an artificial human skin grown from cultured human cells, simulates the skin'sdermal and epidermal layers and is used by leading cosmetics companies to testtheir products.
Tokat, a software package, predicts oral toxicity and skinand eye irritation by analyzing the chemical and physical structures andproperties of a substance.
In medical research, human tissues, cells, andorgans in containers with the proposed drug can be studied to see how the bodyreacts to the substance. Researchers separate drugs at their smallest level toidentify their properties. Learning the molecular properties of chemicals canlead to further understanding of their effects on humans.
No living thingshould have to be tortured given the alternatives. Animals can feel pain, justlike you and I.