“Right now millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, puppies and other animals are locked inside cold, barren cages, in laboratories across the country. They ache in loneliness, and long to roam free and use their minds. Instead all they can do is wait in fear of the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them,” is the opening statement on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or more commonly PETA, website. An estimated 29 million animals are used in scientific and commercial testing each year in the United States. Animal testing is often cruel, and cannot accurately predict results in human beings because humans are very different. This issue is very personal to me, as I love animals and have two dogs in my home.
Animal testing has been a public issue for several years. Animal testing and the treatment of animals was brought to attention in the United States in the 1960s. Eventually leading to the creation of the, Animal Welfare Act, or AWA. The AWA regulates animal testing in the United States and has been amended several times. The act defines "animal" as "any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm blooded animal." The AWA doesn’t include birds, rats, and mice bred for research, cold-blooded animals, and farm animals used for food and other purposes. Although the AWA regulates the housing and transportation of animals used for scientific and commercial research, it does not regulate the experiments themselves and leaves several thousand species unprotected.
Some argue that animal testing can be beneficial because several animals share DNA with human beings and they also allow researchers to have access to similar living body systems. Living systems like human beings and animals are incredibly complex. Studying out of a petri dish can sometimes be useful. However, it does not provide the opportunity to study interconnected processes occurring in the endocrine system, central nervous system, and immune system. Testing a drug for side effects requires a circulatory system to carry the medicine to different organs, so researchers turn to animals.
According to Humane Society International, animals used in experiments are commonly subjected to forced inhalation, force feeding food, and water deprivation, long periods of physical restraint, burns and other wounds to study the healing process. Many procedures inflict pain to study its effects and remedies and "killing by carbon dioxide asphyxiation, neck-breaking, decapitation, or other means." One of the most commonly used test is the Draize eye test, it is used by cosmetics companies to evaluate irritation caused by shampoos and other cosmetic products. The test involves rabbits being restrained with their eyelids held open by clips, sometimes for multiple days, in order to keep them from blinking away the products being tested. The chemicals from these tests often leave the rabbit’s eyes...