5 Ways to Help This World Day for Laboratory Animals

Since 1979, April 24 has been recognized as World Day for Laboratory Animals. It was designated by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), and it still being promoted by animal advocates who want to bring attention to the cruel, wasteful and unnecessary experiments performed on millions of animals behind closed doors every day.

In the U.S. alone, hundreds of thousands of animals are maimed, burned, poisoned, restrained and killed to test a range of things from new drugs and consumer products to weapons, while millions more are tortured and killed in labs around the world. The lost lives of birds, rats and mice, who make up the majority of test subjects in the states, are not even accounted for because they are specifically excluded the Animal Welfare Act.

While the debate about using animals in experiments continues in the scientific community, with some willing to continue supporting it with unquestioning ruthlessness, others argue that it’s not only ethically reprehensible, it’s scientifically unjustifiable.

Fortunately, progressive scientists continue to advance and validate alternatives continue to be made that could eliminate animal experimentation entirely, and there are a lot of reasons to move towards the goal of ending their use. This year, NAVS released a short video explaining the cruelty, waste and faulty science that continues to plague animal experimentation.

While there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about ending animal experimentation, ranging from the end of using chimpanzees in federally funded research and the EU banning animal testing for cosmetics to the progress being made on alternatives like organs-on-chips, there is still a lot of work to be done.

This World Day for Laboratory Animals, there are a few things you can do to help today, and to change the future for animals in labs.

Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo

Even though it’s not required in the U.S., cosmetics companies have been using animals to test the safety of their ingredients and products for decades and many continue to force millions of animals to endure an onslaught of chemicals during cruel, painful and unnecessary tests that burn, poison and kill them without pain relief.

Unfortunately, even products that are simply labeled as “not tested on animals” or “cruelty-free” may have been tested by other companies, at the ingredient level or at certain stages of development making it confusing and frustrating for people who are trying to make compassionate choices.

The good news is that hundreds of companies have signed up for the Leaping Bunny program, which requires them to make a voluntary pledge not to test products or ingredients on animals at any stage of development, and requires their suppliers to do the same, making it the most reliable way of knowing your products really are cruelty-free.

To find a list of companies, or to check for your favorite brands, check out Cruelty Free International.

Watch Maximum Tolerated Dose

Maximum Tolerated Dose is a feature length documentary that debates vivisection and includes perspectives from scientists and lab techs who formerly worked in the industry and had a change of heart, along with featuring stories about animals who have “seen both sides of the cage.” The title refers to the type of experiment that involves dosing animals with drugs or chemicals to see how much they can tolerate before it kills them.

Maximum Tolerated Dose [trailer II] from decipher films on Vimeo.

Help Research Animals Get Adopted

A number of states have recently passed laws, otherwise known as Beagle Freedom Bills, that give lab animals a second chance at life by require publicly funded research institutions to offer them for adoption. Now animal advocates are working to pass similar legislation in Iowa, Indiana, Delaware, Massachusetts and Maryland, along with encouraging the NIH to require all federally funded institutions to put an adoption policy in place.

For more on how to help, or to adopt a former research animal, you can check out the Rescue Freedom Project.

Support the Humane Cosmetics Act

Because of the lack of reporting requirements, we may never know exactly how many animals had to suffer and die just for a new products, but hundreds of companies have already proven we can make products safe without causing harm. While a number of nations have taken steps to ban animal testing for cosmetics, and the U.S. is poised to do the same with the Humane Cosmetics Act.

This legislation will make it illegal to conduct or commission animal testing for finished products and ingredients, in addition to banning the import of products that have been tested elsewhere.

Not only would passing this end the suffering of animals used in painful tests, but it will also encourage the development and validation of more alternatives that are cheaper, faster and more reliable, in addition to helping cosmetics companies in the U.S. stay competitive in a global market that continues to move towards mandating cruelty-free alternatives.

You can help by signing and sharing the petition urging Congress to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act.

Tell the EPA to Reduce and Replace the Use of Animals in Toxicity Testing

In 2016, Congress passed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act requiring the EPA to reduce and replace animal-based toxicity tests and develop and implement alternatives where possible. It also gave the agency until June to come up with a plan to do it.

The EPA has released its draft Strategic Plan, and is accepting public comments until April 26. If you would like to make a comment in support of non-animal alternatives, you can do so at regulations.gov. If you need tips on talking points, Animal Defenders International has some available here.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

20 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y11 hours ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y11 hours ago

thanks

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John J
John J11 hours ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J11 hours ago

thanks for sharing

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Peggy B
Peggy B21 hours ago

Noted

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Peggy B
Peggy B21 hours ago

Petition signed previously.

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Paulo R
Paulo R11 months ago

petition previously signed. ty

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Camilla V
Camilla Vaga11 months ago

free these poor animals. sto this terrible animal abuse

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Clare R
Clare R11 months ago

Science and law must put an end to animal testing.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R11 months ago

You signed on March 10, 2014???!

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