Today marks the start of World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL), which is being celebrated this April 17-24 by In Defense of Animals, along with the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society and the American Fund for Alternatives to Animal Research.
WWAIL is dedicated to bringing attention to the cruel, wasteful and unnecessary experiments performed on the millions of lab animals who suffer intensely and die alone and afraid behind closed doors every year. Not only do many of these tests inflict pain and suffering for no reason, but the animals also suffer at the hands of caretakers who lack empathy or compassion.
The silent majority among biomedical researchers debate this issue heatedly with their colleagues who perform these acts of cruelty. At its heart, they say that causing injury or illness contradicts the search for health and healing.
Many are stepping forward to question the validity of using animals in experiments. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK suspect selective reporting on anything that might be deemed as a positive result, and not on failures, is skewing scientific and public views on the effectiveness of using animals as human models and treatment efficacy.
While some may make the argument that we would be missing many benefits of modern medicine if animals hadn’t been used as test subjects, there have been just as many failures, if not more. According to the FDA, 92% of drugs that show promise in animals fail in clinical trials, making the continued use of animals unjustifiable not only on an ethical scale, but on a scientific one as well.
Worse even, are the drugs that show promise in animals and get approved for use in humans, about 11 percent, only to cause more havoc. Thalidomide caused thousands of birth defects and deaths. Vioxx caused heart damage in humans. The list goes on, Eraldin, Opren, Clioquinol, Isoprenaline, Rezulin.
There’s an even more extraordinary list of experiments done in the name of “progress” that seem almost too full of ridiculousness to even be real. Yet, they passed rigors of oversight committees and received federal funding, and lots of it.
IDA compiled a list of some great examples of bad science. You might be relieved to know that trapped rats will, indeed, freak out and that castrating your children is, in fact, a bad idea. Oh, also? Exercise is good for you and vaginal stimulation just might be pleasurable.
It’s long past time to move on to innovative and cutting-edge scientific methods that don’t involve animals. There are alternatives. It’s up to us as individuals and as a society to get involved.
Visit the World Week for Animals in Labs campaign to find events and anti-vivisection campaign information.
Send a letter to the director of the National Institute of Health asking him to fund promising research that doesn’t involve the use of animals.
Sign Care2’s petition to support the Great Ape Protection Act, which will end invasive research practices on great apes and grant those in labs retirement to sanctuaries and send a letter to your representatives asking for their support.
Take a minute to speak up for lab animals by contacting Obama through the Office of Public Liaison on the need to move away from using animals in research. It’s time for the new administration to pull the financial plug on cruel and wasteful research.
If you’re looking to donate to a charity, give and let live. Visit the Humane Seal for a list of organizations that use progressive non-animal research methods for a number of causes from cancer and Alzheimers disease to trauma treatments and substance abuse.