Rodents, fish and reptiles used: 97%
Apparently these three classes of animals are low enough on the of-concern-to-humans scale that subjecting 205,412 of them to laboratory procedures is acceptable. There are at least two problems with this line of thinking.
The first is that we are gradually learning our non-human relatives experience pain and emotions as significant as our own. (Of course, even these discoveries are often made by testing animals in laboratories.)
For example, recent studies have concluded:
The second problem is that no other species is a 100% match for humans. (In fact, the same is true with humans. Research on men does not always hold true for women—and the reverse.)
In her article on the National Toxicology Program, Heather M. writes:
There are vast physiological differences between people and animals. Meaningful scientific conclusions just can’t be drawn about one species by studying another. Aspirin kills cats and penicillin kills guinea pigs, yet both are considered safe for humans. Arsenic, strychnine, potassium cyanide, and other chemicals which can kill humans, are harmless to certain animals. And let’s not forget about Thalidomide, a drug which was thoroughly tested on animals and determined safe, yet caused birth defects in thousands of children.
Frog photo from Muhammad Mahdi Karim via Wikimedia Commons; Rescued lab rats photo from SMercury98 via Flickr Creative Commons; Lizard eye photo from Clicksy via Flickr Creative Commons; Monkey photo from Alex Pacheco of PETA (1981) via Wikimedia Commons
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