Legal Animal Cruelty: Using Animals in Research Labs

We consider ourselves to be sentient beings because we’re an intelligent and supposedly compassionate species with a sense of self awareness we assume no other species on earth has. We feel love, grief, fear, hate, disappointment, pain, anger and crown our superiority with a spiritual belief. Yet, we have a misguide belief that the earth and all of her resources, including animals, are here for our use only. Animals, like the wolf, are nothing more than inconveniences that get in the way of profits and mankind has the right to take whatever we want from the earth. The argument that animals are not sentient beings and not worthy of rights to protection under the law is an arrogant, self righteous excuse propped up on a blood stained pedestal of denial. Using animals in research labs is not necessary and it is legal animal cruelty under a useless Animal Welfare Act law that too often turns a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of animals.

Researchers justify experimenting on animals as a necessary step to provide us with the best medical care available. They assure us, as does the USDA, the animals used in labs are treated with respect and compassion under the guidance of the Animal Welfare Act. Bunchers and class B dealers steal pets routinely and many dogs and cats are tortured, starved and killed before they have a chance to reach a research facility. The business of supplying lab animals is extremely profitable and it’s not uncommon for dog dealers to make five or six figure incomes. Biomedical lobbyists and researchers paint a picture of a law abiding industry that lobbies aggressively for grant money from private organizations and tax payer dollars to fund their research. The picture, however, is stained in deception, violations of the AWA and animal cruelty. Some labs do follow the law and have turned over pets found in their labs with microchips; but not all pets are found in time and not all labs and few dog dealers worry about the millions of pets stolen every year that end up in a lab.

The number of animals used in research is estimated to be in the tens of millions each year worldwide. Because rats, mice and birds are not given any protection under the Animal Welfare Act, they are not counted even though 90% of experimentation is done on small animals. The other 10% of experiments are performed on rabbits, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, monkeys and farm animals. The number of cats and dogs used is more than 90,000 each year. Research labs will pay from $0 up to $8,000 or more depending on the animal’s sex and age, dog breed, specific species, specific organs, fetuses or if the animal came from a random source or a class A breeder. Dogs infected with heartworm while in the hands of a class B dealer may be killed so their heart can be cut out and sold to a research lab for the heartworm. In fact, the heartworm may be more valuable than the dog.

The American Veterinary Medical Association condones animal testing and credits it with lifesaving medical advances that have saved human and pet lives. But the facts are misrepresented by supporters of animal use in lab research. A drug or product tested on animals before it’s approved for our use doesn’t guarantee it’s safe or effective for humans. Obviously, the human and animal anatomy and physiology are different and we react differently to specific toxins and substances. Because of that difference, testing done on animals does not give researches accurate or reliable information that justifies subjecting animals to painful and cruel experiments. Researchers have not been able to give us proven and guaranteed safety or effectiveness for many drugs on the market. Drugs released for human use and then taken off the market when they were discovered to cause death or other serious side effects in humans had been tested on animals prior to being released for human use. Marketing the newest pill is big money for pharmaceutical companies and it’s in their best interest to validate the use of animals in labs to give us a false sense of safety in the products they hope we will consume. So what if a couple million animals die in order for us to have the latest designer drugs to clear up acne and soothe away our pains or indigestion.

To be fair; research has given us safe and effective products we use everyday to control diseases and conditions in people and pets. But subjecting millions of animals in labs to cruel and unimaginable pain and suffering doesn’t produce a predictable determination of product safety or effectiveness in most research to justify maiming, abusing, torturing or killing animals. The practice of using animals for testing drugs is unreliable and flawed. But trying to stop a train running at full steam is impossible to do when biomedical industry advocates don’t want things to change. Animal use for research and testing in labs isn’t just an ethical issue; it’s political and a refusal to change. It’s also about money and the ego of researchers who publish their findings in scientific journals which elevates their importance in the medical community; giving them job security and prestige. There are better ways of testing that doesn’t require torturing an animal in a lab.

Alternative ways of doing research and testing has grown over the last 20 years and they have produced more accurate and reliable research. As alternative methods have become more widely used, the results are considered a legitimate way of conducting experiments that don’t include torturing animals.

Public support for animal testing has declined over the years while supporters of animal testing continue to fight to keep the practice of using lab animals alive and well. Government and privately funded organizations provide grants for research, class A animal breeders, class B dog dealers, pharmaceutical companies, biomedical supply companies, Washington lobbyists and universities all stand to lose money if the practice of using animals for research were to be shut down. There is an entire industry built around animal research. Click here to see a “buyers’ guide” for the “products” offered by different companies. You can see the different products (animals) they provide to research labs by clicking on any of the listed companies. Research labs deny using pets in experiments, but the truth is they prefer pets because a pet is generally comfortable around people which makes her easier to handle. Large chested purebred dogs, like the Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever and Greyhound are favorite dog breeds for lab use because of the dogs’ loyalty, breeding and temperament. It’s ironic researchers recognize loyalty in dogs only to betray their trust by treating them inhumanely.

Human life is precious and human intelligence is what sets us apart from the animal world. However, that doesn’t give us the right to value human life more than the life of animals. The use of animals in research is antiquated, unreliable, legal animal cruelty and no longer necessary. It continues today because of laziness, greed, politics and ego. Animals locked up in cages in a lab don’t have a choice; we do.

Legal Animal Cruelty: Pets and Class B Dealers
Legal Animal Cruelty: Free to Good Home
Legal Animal Cruelty: Animal Welfare Act of 1966

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