In order to discover new things about our world, experimentation is necessary to develop knowledge. Through experiments, we can be able to separate fact from fiction. The only problem with some kind of experimentation, such as animal experimentation, is that we inflict pain on another creature in order to develop scientific knowledge.
Over 100 million animals are killed every year in the United States for some reason, either educational, for profit, or for curiosity.
Even when an animal is not killed during the experimentation process, they have everything that is normal about life taken away from them. Living in cages that are barren, being isolated socially from other animals in their species, and having pain inflicted on them sometimes daily is bound to create psychological trauma. Animals that are used for experimentation are often thought of as disposable. They aren’t disposable at all.
- 92% of experimental drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.
- Labs that use mice, rats, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been exempted from the protections that were enacted by the Animal Welfare Act [AWA].
- 9 out of 10 animals that are experimented upon in US labs are not counted in official testing statistics.
- China requires that all products be tested on animals before they are distributed to human population centers.
- The creation of a single pesticide requires more than 50 experiments and the use of as many as 12,000 animals.
- The Jackson Laboratory, who bills themselves as a leading mammalian genetics research center, sold 2.9 million mice in 2010 for experimentation at a profit of $98.7 million.
Some say that we are able to experiment on animals because humans are at the top of the food chain. Others say that animal experimentation is critical to human health because of the numerous benefits that have come about because of this process. The sad fact is that only 8% of the medications that we use today were successful in both animals and humans. This means that we are putting animals through a lot of suffering or killing them on purpose without anything to show for it. Imagine having someone rubbing an eye irritant into your eye and then not giving you anything to relieve the itching, burning pain that has been caused. It wouldn’t be pleasant at all. Now imagine that you have that done to you 3 times per day for every day of your life. That’s a reality for animals who are being experimented upon.
How Big Is The Animal Experimentation Industry?
- The total number of animals that are used in experiments, according to official numbers, when animals excluded from AWA restrictions: 1.28 million.
- 40% of US adults oppose the use of animals in scientific research.
- Although at least 85 HIV/AIDS vaccines have been successful in nonhuman primate studies, as of 2013, every one has failed to demonstrate a benefit to humans.
- About 47% of the NIH-funded research that occurs annually, an amount that totals $30 billion, involves experimentation upon animals.
- 87.5% of the total animal testing that is done right now is conducted on rodents.
- The estimated percentage of animals in experimentation programs that experience pain: 6%.
- 31% of animals in experimentation programs are euthanized so that they won’t experience any pain.
- There are more dogs in experimentation facilities [66,000] than primates [57,000].
- In 2007, the FDA revealed that serious and fatal adverse drug events have more than doubled between 1998 and 2005.
It is quite sad to look at how we justify hurting animals for the “common” good. We think nothing of the fact that kids in high school will dissect a frog or other animal that was killed for that specific purpose. When we see pictures of rodents who are afflicted with terrible tumors, we discuss the dangers of genetically modified crops in our diet, but we won’t discuss the experiments that caused those painful tumors to occur in the first place. Animals have just as much of a place in our world as we do. There are other ways to find the information that we need that do not include animal experimentation. Just because this is the way things have always been doesn’t mean that it is the way that it always needs to be.
Does Animal Experimentation Actually Help The Field of Medicine?
- Over 90% of human illnesses don’t affect animals.
- Human results can agree with animal testing as little as 5% of the time.
- Lung cancer and heart disease are the two most common illnesses that humans face today. Neither illness can be replicated in laboratory animals.
- Only one out of every 5 doctors in a 2004 survey had more confidence in animal tests than in non-animal experimentation.
- Rats are percent effective in identifying what causes cancer in humans. There is a greater chance of flipping a coin to get the right answer.
- 3 out of every 4 side effects that are documented in animal experimentation never happen in humans.
- In the United States, 106,000 deaths a year are attributed to reactions to medical drugs.
- The number of Americans who are hospitalized due to ineffective medical treatments: 2.1 million.
- Unexpected reactions to drugs can kill more people than cancer in some years.
- 88% of stillbirths are caused by drugs which passed animal tests.
- 6 out of 10 birth defects are thought to be caused by drugs that were deemed to be fine through animal experimentation.
We will never search for alternative methods of medical research if we simply accept the results of animal research as expertise. There are many things that work in humans, such as insulin, that don’t work in animals. The same is true in reverse. This means that there is a good possibility we have set medical science back by over 200 years. Because of animal studies, it took two centuries for blood transfusions to be considered medically acceptable. The polio vaccine could have hit the market 40 years earlier except that it was delayed by tests on monkeys. Hundreds, if not thousands, of treatments that we spend billions of dollars upon every year can create treatments for the animals that are being experimented upon, but do nothing for human health. A Congress of German doctors said it the best: 1 out of 4 organic illnesses and 6% of fatal illnesses are caused by medicines that have been animal tested and approved.
Animal Experimentation Is A Worldwide Problem
- 56% of the Old World monkeys, such as macaques, that are used in experiments are still being imported into the European Union.
- Since 2005, Spain has increased their animal experimentation population by 51%.
- The percentage increase of the animal experimentation population in Estonia: 610%.
- 79% of countries do not appear to publish the numbers of animals used in experiments.
- It is believed that the United States is the country who is using the most animals for experiments. China is ranked third, even though it is legally mandated to test all products on animals there.
- Product safety testing accounts for about 5% of the total animal experimentation that occur annually.
Maybe different feelings about animal experimentation would exist if the practice was more successful than it currently is. Because there are so many failures, it makes no economic sense to continue with animal experimentation. There is a very minimal benefit that occurs and sometimes those benefits are outweighed by the risks. Take the drug Vioxx for example. Through animal experimentation, Vioxx was determined to be safe. Once people started using it, however, more than 60,000 people died before the FDA mandated that the drug be taken off the market. Being against animal experimentation doesn’t mean that you’re against science. It means that you are for smarter science.
What Can You Do Right Now?
- One of the most effective ways to prevent animal experimentation is to stop purchasing products that have been tested on animals.
- Animal rights organizations are always looking for some extra support and volunteer help.
- A number of online petitions are available that you can sign and then share with your social networks.
- Take a few moments and write to companies that are proven to be testing on animals right now. It doesn’t have to be a mean letter to be an effective letter.
- Make sure that you you know all of the statistics about animal experimentation so that you can show evidence of how it is failing much more often than it is succeeding.
Whenever science is asked to find alternative methods for success, it eventually finds does. From bloodless surgery to treatments for ectopic pregnancies, medical science has advanced quite a lot without the use of animal experimentation. Some of the common drugs that we have today, like aspirin, don’t work on animals. If we relied solely on animal experimentation for our human medical knowledge, then we would be in some serious trouble. Ending this practice as much is possible today could ensure a brighter medical future.