Testing & Research

Tortured for Business

Every year, thousands of new cosmetic, personal care and household products are introduced into the marketplace. Virtually all of them have been animal-tested at various stages of their development. Long before they appear on the shelves of your local supermarket, these products have gone through a long and complex testing process that leaves millions of animals mutilated, burned, poisoned and gassed in outmoded and unnecessary tests.

It is believed that the law requires animal testing on cosmetics. This is untrue. Animal testing on cosmetics is not required by the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does urge companies to conduct whatever toxicological tests are appropriate to substantiate the safety of their products. As a result, millions of rabbits and other animals continue to be the innocent victims of painful eye and skin irritancy tests.

Toxic products that have been tested on animals such as permanent wave solutions, oven cleaners, soaps and detergents are regularly introduced into the marketplace. That’s because no amount of animal testing can change the fact that many of these products are harmful if ingested or used in a way not intended by the manufacturer. Animal testing merely determines the level of toxicity. Despite the fact that they have been animal-tested, these products are no less deadly if a person eats or drinks them accidentally.

Cosmetics and personal care products that are also intended to treat or prevent disease, or affect the structure or functions of the human body such as antiperspirants and fluoride toothpaste are considered drugs. These products must comply with the drug requirements of the FDA. Animals are almost always utilized as the test models.

Today, in response to pressure from the public and animal advocacy groups, many large consumer product companies have discontinued animal testing in favor of nonanimal alternatives. Still, animal testing remains an accepted practice for many of the largest companies, despite its serious limitations in assuring the health and safety of American consumers.

The above article is reprinted with the permission of the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).
For a list of companies that still do product testing on animals visit thevegetariansite.com.

The manufacturers of cosmetics and household products claim that they perform tests on animals to ensure the safety of their products under customary use or possible abuse when in reality it is to limit the company’s liability to its customers in case of a lawsuit.

Tortured for Research

The primary purpose of medical research is to promote human health, and the most direct research methods focus on the study of human populations, individuals, and tissues. Animal research has been used as an alternative method when the study of humans is deemed impractical or unethical, or when animal biology is of primary interest, and animals are frequently used in biological and medical research, in the testing of drugs and commercial products, and in educational exercises in the sciences. While the number of animals used in the United States is not known, estimates range into several tens of millions annually.

Ethical concerns are raised by the use of animals in experimental studies, particularly when they are subjected to painful procedures or toxic exposures. These concerns are accentuated by recent studies showing marked stress responses in animals undergoing routine laboratory procedures. For example, routine handling, venipuncture, and gavage (the administration of test compounds through an oral tube) elicit striking elevations in pulse, blood pressure, and steroid hormone release that can persist for an hour or more after the event. Similarly, routine features of the laboratory environment — isolation, confinement, social disruption, noise, and restrictions on physical movement — have been shown to be noxious for animals. Together, these bodies of evidence indicate that even routine experiments that appear to be minimally invasive can be highly stressful for the animal subjects, and this finding applies to commonly used rodent species as well as larger and less frequently used animals. Stress effects are relevant to humane concerns as well as to the interpretation of scientific findings. Research on immune function, endocrine and cardiovascular disorders, neoplasms, developmental defects, and psychological phenomena are particularly vulnerable to stress effects.

Ethical concerns have propelled the exploration of methods that replace animal use. However, such methods may also have scientific advantages related to cost or applicability to human disease. For example, toxicologists seeking more accurate or reliable methods have turned to cellular screening tests for many applications and have realized substantial savings in the process. Trauma training, once conducted almost universally using animals, is now commonly taught with simulators that are cheaper and are designed to more closely mimic critical aspects of patient care.

It is incumbent on scientists and institutions using animals for research, testing, or educational purposes to actively investigate and implement alternatives. The federal Animal Welfare Act regulations require that research personnel be trained in methods of searching for alternatives to animal use, and the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals encourages efforts to develop and use scientifically valid alternatives to animal research…

The process of replacing animals in research, testing, and education is supported by studies showing that routine laboratory procedures and typical laboratory environments are more stressful for animals than is commonly appreciated. Nonetheless, the challenges of replacing animals are often considerable, raising major scientific, economic, and regulatory issues.

The exploration and implementation of nonanimal methods should be a priority for investigators and research institutions and should take advantage of a wide variety of viewpoints to ensure progress toward scientific, human health, and animal protection goals.

The above article is reprinted with the permission of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Immobilized rabbits undergoing lab testing.

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