By Stephanie Kadingo
When the topic of animal testing is brought up, people automatically think of medical interventions. It’s no big surprise that animals, typically mice, are used to test different medical advances that can range anywhere from chemotherapy to vaccinations.
The truth of the matter is, that there is so much more going on with animal testing than most people realize. It is not something that is limited to the medical world. As a matter of fact, I am willing to bet that most people are unknowingly using products every single day that have been tested on animals.
Many well-known companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, still participate in animal testing. That means that bar of Dove soap you used this morning was tested on animals. That bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo you bought to wash your baby with because it’s cheap and tear free, I’ll let you guess at how they came to find out it wouldn’t burn your baby’s eyes.
A friend recently asked me why I care so much. After all, she asked, it’s just mice.
It isn’t just mice though. The USDA reports that over one million dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and farm animals are experimented on in various laboratories around the United States every year. Those are pets. They are not beings to be tested on.
Furthermore, the Animal Welfare Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 to regulate the treatment of animals in research facilities, has been amended numerous times yet it still excludes purpose-bred birds, mice, rats, fish and other cold blooded animals. These animals make up nearly 90 percent of those used in research and experimentations.
Recently, the well-known animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, sat down with the cigarette company Lorillard Inc. to discuss concerns over their use of testing their products on animals.
I’m sure the first reaction to that is to roll your eyes at the mention of PETA, because, as we all know, they are famous for being a tad confrontational when it comes to their involvement with companies that test on animals.
All I see when I read that, though, is that cigarette companies are conducting research on animals. How is that even possible? I mean, clearly they aren’t sitting there in a room watching a bunch of chimps puff away on cigarettes. They are, however, forcing animals to inhale cigarette smoke, eat tobacco and have cigarette tar painted on their bodies. I don’t see how I can possibly be the only person, aside from PETA, that can read that and not think there is something wrong with this information.
To be fair, Lorillard, who is the maker of Newport cigarettes and is the nation’s third biggest tobacco company, has admitted to this unethical testing and has confirmed that they will no longer be conducting or commissioning animal research unless it is absolutely necessary for them to do so.
Instead, they will be conducting research using in-vitro based testing, which are tests conducted inside of tubes, and computer modules that will allow them to test for toxicity. While I do think the fact that they can easily switch to this is wonderful, it still makes me wonder why they didn’t do it sooner. If it was that easy of a switch for them, then why put it off until they were put on blast.
What bothers me, aside from the fact that animal testing is still done, is that many of these animals were born and bred for the sole purpose of being tested on. After what has been deemed their sole purpose in life is finished, they are euthanized.
These animals will never know what it is like to feel loved or cared for. Their lives are spent in pain and illness. They have been poked, prodded, sick, burned and tortured in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. If you don’t believe me, feel free to look it up yourself.
Animal testing has always been and will always be one of those controversial topics that everyone will have different opinions on. I am not trying to change anyone’s beliefs regarding the matter, I am simply giving a voice to those that can’t stand up for themselves.