April 16-24 is World Week for Animals in Labs (WWAIL), which is being promoted by In Defense of Animals and other organizations who want to draw attention to the cruel, wasteful and unnecessary experiments performed on millions of animals who suffer intensely as they are tortured, mutilated and killed behind closed doors every day in the name of progress.
In 2009, the number of animals reported to the USDA was a staggering 979, 772. Even worse, is that animals who are subjected to tests over and over are only reported once in a year. The lost lives of birds, rats and mice are not even accounted for, since they are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act.
The debate about animal experimentation goes on in the scientific community. While some will continue on with unquestioning ruthlessness, others argue that it’s not only ethically reprehensible, but scientifically unjustifiable.
Blatant cruelty has been exposed at multiple facilities. Whistleblowers have come forward, others have highlighted the skewed public perception over the validity and necessity of using animal models due to selective reporting of positive outcomes and not failures.
Patients wonder if they might have lived if scientists “weren’t sidetracked by misleading animal tests.”
According to the FDA, 92% of drugs that show promise in animals fail in clinical trials. Some drugs that make it through have ended up causing more problems. Thalidomide caused thousands of birth defects and deaths. Vioxx caused heart damage in humans. The list goes on, Eraldin, Opren, Clioquinol, Isoprenaline, Rezulin.
Nevermind the ridiculous experiments performed on animals that are funded by taxpayers. You might be interested to know that via the NIH, you paid for an experiment that discovered that mice don’t need to be electrocuted to run on a wheel. That seriously received federal funding.
There are numerous alternatives available that are reliable and cost-effective. It’s time both industry and government moved towards non-animal alternatives that bring healing without causing intense suffering.
TAKE ACTION FOR WWAIL
Send a letter to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins asking him to step up and lead where others have failed by creating a policy that takes real steps to eliminate the use of animals in experiments that will bring that number to zero, in addition to providing training opportunities for non-animal experiments.
Send a similar letter to Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) President Alain Beaudet.
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. You can also search their site for a specific cause.
Visit the World Week for Animals in Labs campaign to find anti-vivisection campaign information and see if there are any events in your area.
Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/forbiddendoughnut/