WHY ANIMAL TESTING IS UNNECESSARY
This page isn’t going to blast you with horrific images of suffering animals. Instead, it will offer you sound logic on why animal testing is unnecessary by describing what vivisection is, why it is done, and listing what alternatives there are available. It will also provide fully referenced data on why animal testing is not the only option and what disasters have occurred because it is used.
- What is Animal Testing?
- Why Animal Testing is Performed
- The Alternatives Available to Animal Testing
- What Can You, The Consumer, Do?
- 33 Reasons Why Animal Testing is Not ‘The Only Option’
- 50 Deadly Consequences of Animal Testing
WHAT IS ANIMAL TESTING?
Animal testing, or vivisection, involves more than 100 million animals every year, including 6.5 million in Australia, that suffer and die in barbaric chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests, as well as in biology lessons, medical training exercises, and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities. Anaesthesia or pain relief are not used and the animals are breed into the lab environments, and killed after the experiments are completed.
The figures end up being about 274,000 per day, or 3 every second.
Exact numbers aren’t available because mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals—who make up more than 95% of animals used in experiments—are not covered by even the minimal protections our laws, and therefore go uncounted.
To test cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, agrochemicals, pet foods, medical devices, tobacco and alcohol products, millions of animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year by cruel corporations. Mice and rats are forced to inhale toxic fumes, dogs are force-fed pesticides, and rabbits have corrosive chemicals rubbed onto their skin and eyes. Many of these tests are not even required by law, and they often produce inaccurate or misleading results.
The first American animal testing facilities were opened in the 1860s and 1870s, and anti-vivisection activists have been fighting for over a century to end the cruel practice.
WHY ANIMAL TESTING IS PERFORMED
- Multi-billion dollar industries including animal breeding corporations, cage and equipment manufactures and of course the pharmaceutical industry. Animal tests help them speed new drugs to market and, most significantly, give them a legal defence against public allegations of inadequate safety testing.
- Tradition is so deeply ingrained that the whole system is based on it. Its fundamental acceptance has long allowed it to escape attention.
- Researchers are far removed from patient care and may believe that by experimenting on animals they are helping to cure human diseases. Also, they attract grant money based on how many papers they publish in the scientific literature.
- Vested interests. Generally those who promote animal experimentation are in a position of financial gain from the continuation of the practice.
Vivisection is a completely outdated form of experimentation and irrelevant medical practice that serves no purpose than to torture and kill animals in laboratories.
Many people argue that without vivisection, that many human disease cures could not have been developed. Not only is it a completely speciesist attitude to hold (that animals are here for human-use, for our own purposes, and billions of them should suffer to prolong our own lives), but animals are a completely different bio-mechanical entity than humans. The anatomical, physiological, immunological, histological (dealing with the cell structures) and even psychological differences between humans and animals are too great to overcome. At this moment, a formula for making animal-derived research relevant to human health is non-existent. Animal research does not save human lives because information cannot be accurately extrapolated from one species to another.
There is, of course, plenty of people willing to argue against that rational logic. Ask any veterinary student that studies feline leukaemia using cats and why they don’t use dogs instead. They’d respond with something along the lines of, ‘studying dogs for feline leukaemia wouldn’t make too much sense scientifically’. So why are dogs, cats and other animals are used for human leukaemia research..?
It is impossible to predict human reactions to drugs, vaccines and other chemicals by testing them on animals.
THE ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE TO ANIMAL TESTING
Because experiments on animals are cruel, expensive, and generally inapplicable to humans, the world’s most forward-thinking scientists have moved on to develop and use methods for studying diseases and testing products that replace animals and are actually relevant to human health.
Still, vivisectionists lie about the value of animal experimentation and the majority remain unwilling to use the following 10 forms of true scientific research techniques:
- Human-based clinical research,
- Epidemiology (study, causes and distribution of human diseases),
- Cellular and molecular biology using human-based tissue and cell cultures and in vitro,
- Autopsy research,
- Biopsy research,
- Advanced computer models using virtual reality, simulators and 3D programs (often referred to as in silico models),
- Mathematical models using formulas to determine drug concoctions and reactions,
- Case studies,
- Human-based DNA/genetic research,
- Trial and error methodology.
These and other non-animal methods are not hindered by species differences that make applying animal test results to humans difficult or impossible, and they usually take less time and money to complete.
As technology develops, more researchers and scientists are trying to move towards human artificial technology for accurate results, as well methods involving cells from donated human cadavers to grow specific organs.
The use of 3D bioprinters to print artificial human tissue and organs could end animal testing and xenotransplantation completely. While organ-on-chips could be linked up to form an entire organ system that could be used to test new treatments or probe the effects of chemicals and viruses at a human anatomical, physiological, immunological and histological level.
WHAT CAN YOU, THE CONSUMER, DO?
- As a donor, do not donate to charities unless they are listed on the Humane Charities list.
- As a student, advise your teacher and/or your school/institution that you will not take part in the use of animals in classes, and encourage them to adopt non-animal alternatives in their teaching.
- Within Australia, the Australian Association for Humane Research run a Humane Education Loan Program (HELP). The program is a free loan program to provide students and educators with up to date alternatives to classroom animal dissection and animal experimentation.
- Interniche are a great UK based organisation dedicated to the adoption of humane education techniques. Also visit the Learning Without Killing website.
- As a consumer, educate yourself! Do not purchase products from companies that have been tested on animals. You can view a list of cruelty free companies and make informed purchasing decisions! If you’re within Australia, take a look at some of your awesome alternatives available.
Time, money, and resources devoted to these experiments could have gone to human-based research. Clinical studies, in vitro research, autopsies, post-marketing drug surveillance, computer modeling, epidemiology, and genetic research pose no hazard to humans and provide accurate results. Importantly, animal experiments have exhausted resources that could have been dedicated to educating the public about health hazards and health maintenance, therein diminishing the incidence of disease that require treatment.
33 REASONS WHY ANIMAL TESTING IS NOT ‘THE ONLY OPTION’
The Vivisection Information Network has published a fully referenced list of 33 reasons why animal testing is not ‘the only option’.
- Less than 2% of human illnesses (1.16%) are ever seen in animals. Over 98% never affect animals.
- According to the former scientific executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences, animal tests and human results agree “5%-25% of the time.”
- Among the hundreds of techniques available instead of animal experiments, cell culture toxicology methods give accuracy rates of 80-85%.
- 92% of drugs passed by animal tests immediately fail when first tried on humans because they’re useless, dangerous or both.
- The two most common illnesses in the Western world are lung cancer from smoking and heart disease. Neither can be reproduced in lab animals.
- A 2004 survey of doctors in the UK showed that 83% wanted a independent scientific evaluation of whether animal experiments had relevance to human patients. Less than 1 in 4 (21%) had more confidence in animal tests than in non-animal methods.
- Rats are 37% effective in identifying what causes cancer to humans – less use than guessing. The experimenters said: “we would have been better off to have tossed a coin.”
- Rodents are the animals almost always used in cancer research. They never get carcinomas, the human form of cancer, which affects membranes (e.g. lung cancer). Their sarcomas affect bone and connective tissue: the two are completely different.
- The results from animal tests are routinely altered radically by diet, light, noise, temperature, lab staff and bedding. Bedding differences caused cancer rates of over 90% and almost zero in the same strain of mice at different labs.
- Sex differences among lab animals can cause contradictory results. This does not correspond with humans.
- 75% of side effects identified in animals never occur.
- Over half of side effects cannot be detected in lab animals.
- Vioxx was shown to protect the heart of mice, dogs, monkeys and other lab animals. It was linked to heart attacks and strokes in up to 139,000 humans.
- Genetically modified animals are not like humans. The mdx mouse is supposed to have muscular dystrophy, but the muscles regenerate with no treatment.
- GM animal the CF- mouse never gets fluid infections in the lungs – the cause of death for 95% of human cystic fibrosis patients.
- In America, 106,000 deaths a year are attributed to reactions to medical drugs.
- Each year, 2.1 million Americans are hospitalised by medical treatment.
- In the UK an estimated 70,000 people are killed or severely disabled every year by unexpected reactions to drugs. All these drugs have passed animal tests.
- In the UKs House Of Lords questions have been asked regarding why unexpected reactions to drugs (which passed animal tests) kill more people than cancer.
- A German doctors’ congress concluded that 6% of fatal illnesses and 25% of organic illness are caused by medicines. All have been animal tested.
- According to a thorough study, 88% of stillbirths are caused by drugs which passed animal tests.
- 61% of birth defects were found to have the same cause.
- 70% of drugs which cause human birth defects are safe in pregnant monkeys.
- 78% of foetus-damaging chemicals can be detected by one non-animal test.
- Thousands of safe products cause birth defects in lab animals – including water, several vitamins, vegetable oils, oxygen and drinking waters. Of more than 1,000 substances dangerous in lab animals, over 97% are safe in humans.
- One of the most common lifesaving operation (for ectopic pregnancies) was delayed 40 years by vivisection.
- The great Dr Hadwen noted “had animal experiments been relied upon…humanity would have been robbed of this great blessing of anaesthesia.”
- Aspirin fails animal tests, as do digitalis (heart drug), cancer drugs, insulin (which causes animal birth defects), penicillin and other safe medicines. They would be banned if vivisection were believed.
- Blood transfusions were delayed 200 years by animal studies.
- The polio vaccine was delayed 40 years by monkey tests.
- 30 HIV vaccines, 33 spinal cord damage drugs, and over 700 treatments for stroke have been developed in animals. None work in humans.
- Despite many Nobel prizes going to vivisectors, only 45% agree that animal experiments are crucial.
- The Director of Research Defence Society, (which serves only to defend vivisection) was asked if medical progress could have been achieved without animal use. His written reply was “I am sure it could be.”
50 DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF ANIMAL TESTING
The Vivisection Information Network has also published a fully referenced list of 50 disasters of animal testing.
- Smoking was thought non-carcinogenic because smoking-related cancer is difficult to reproduce in lab animals. Many continued to smoke and to die from cancer.
- Benzene was not withdrawn from use as an industrial chemical despite clinical and epidemological evidence that exposure caused leukemia in humans, because manufacturer-supported tests failed to reproduce leukemia in mice.
- Animal experiments on rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, monkeys, and baboons revealed no link between glass fibers and cancer. Not until 1991, due to human studies, did OSHA label it carcinogenic.
- Though arsenic was a known human carcinogen for decades, scientists still found little evidence in animals to support the conclusion as late as 1977. This was the accepted view until it was produced in lab animals.
- Many continued to be exposed to asbestos and die because scientists could not reproduce the cancer in lab animals.
- Pacemakers and heart valves were delayed in development because of physiological differences between animals they were designed on and humans.
- Animal models of heart disease failed to show that a high cholesterol/high fat diet increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Instead of changing their eating habits to prevent the disease, people continued their lifestyles with a false sense of security.
- Patients received medications that were harmful and/or ineffective due to animal models of stroke.
- Animal studies predicted that beta-blockers would not lower blood pressure. This withheld their development. Even animal experimenters admitted the failure of animal models of hypertension in this regard, but in the meantime, there were thousands more stroke victims.
- Surgeons thought they had perfected radial keratotomy, surgery performed to enable better vision without glasses, on rabbits, but the procedure blinded the first human patients. The rabbit cornea is able to regenerate on the underside, whereas the human cornea can only regenerate on the surface. Surgery is now performed only on the surface.
- Combined heart lung transplants were also “perfected” on animals, but the first 3 patients all died within 23 days. Of 28 patients operated on between 1981 and 1985, 8 died peri-operatively, and 10 developed obliterative bronchiolitis, a lung complication that the experimental dogs did not get. Of those 10, 4 died and 3 never breathed again without the aid of a respirator. Obliterative bronchiolitis turned out to be the most important risk of the operation.
- Cyclosporin A inhibits organ rejection, and its development was watershed in the success of transplant operations. Had human evidence not overwhelmed unpromising evidence from animals, it would never have been released.
- Animal experiments failed to predict the kidney toxicity of the general anesthetic methoxyflurane. Many people lost all kidney function.
- Animal experiments delayed the use of muscle relaxants during general anesthesia.
- Research on animals failed to reveal bacteria as a cause of ulcers and delayed treating ulcers with antibiotics.
- More than half of the 198 new medications released between 1976 and 1985 were either withdrawn or relabeled secondary to severe unpredicted side effects. These side effects included complications like lethal dysrhythmias, heart attacks, kidney failure, seizures, respiratory arrest, liver failure, and stroke, among others.
- Flosint, an arthritis medication, was tested on rats, monkeys and dogs; all tolerated the medication well. In humans, however it caused deaths.
- Zelmid, an antidepressant, was tested on rats and dogs without incident. It caused severe neurological problems in humans.
- Nomifensine, another antidepressant, was linked to kidney and liver failure, anemia, and death in humans. Animal testing had given it a clean, side effect-free bill of health.
- Amrinone, a medication used for heart failure, was tested on numerous animals and was released without trepidation. Humans developed thrombocytopenia, a lack of the type of blood cells that are needed for clotting.
- Fialuridine, an antiviral medication, caused liver damage in 7 out of 15 people. 5 eventually died and 2 more needed liver transplants. It worked well in woodchucks.
- Clioquinol, an antidiarrheal, passed tests in rats, cats, dogs and rabbits. It was pulled off the shelves all over the world in 1982 after it was found to cause blindness and paralysis in humans.
- Eraldin, a medication for heart disease, caused 23 deaths despite the fact that no untoward effects could be shown in animals. When introduced, scientists said it noted for the thoroughness of the toxicity studies on animals. It caused blindness and deaths in humans. Afterwards, scientists were unable to reproduce these results in animals.
- Opren, an arthritis medication, killed 61 people. Over 3500 cases of severe reactions have been documented. Opren had been tested on monkeys and other animals without problems.
- Zomax, another arthritis drug, killed 14 people and caused many more to suffer.
- The dose of isoproterenol, a medication used to treat asthma, was worked out in animals. Unfortunately, it was much too toxic for humans. 3500 asthmatics died in Great Britain alone due to overdose. It is still difficult to reproduce these results in animals.
- Methysergide, a medication used to treat headaches, led to retroperitoneal fibrosis, or severe scarring of the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels in the abdomen. Scientists have been unable to reproduce this in animals.
- Suprofen, an arthritis drug, was withdrawn from the market when patients suffered kidney toxicity. Prior to its release researchers had this to say about the animal tests: “…excellent safety profile. No …cardiac, renal, or CNS [central nervous system] effects in any species.”
- Surgam, another arthritis drug, was designed to have a stomach protection factor that would prevent stomach ulcers, a common side effect of many arthritis drugs. Although promising in lab animal tests, ulcers occurred in human trials.
- Selacryn, a diuretic, was thoroughly tested on animals. It was withdrawn in 1979 after 24 people died from drug induced liver failure.
- Perhexiline, a heart medication, was withdrawn when it produced liver failure that had not been predicted by animal studies. Even when they knew they were looking for a particular type of liver failure, they could not induce it in animals.
- Domperidone, designed as a treatment for nausea and vomiting, made human hearts beat irregularly and had to be withdrawn. Scientists were unable to reproduce this in dogs even with 70 times the normal dose.
- Mitoxantrone, a treatment for cancer produced heart failure in humans. It was extensively tested on dogs, which did not manifest this effect.
- Carbenoxalone was supposed to prevent formation of gastric ulcers but caused people to retain water to the point of heart failure. After scientists knew what it did to humans they tested it on rats, mice, monkeys, rabbits, without reproducing this effect.
- Clindamycin, an antibiotic, causes a bowel condition called pseudomenbraneous colitis. It was tested in rats and dogs every day for one year. They tolerate doses 10 times greater than humans.
- Animal experiments did not support the efficacy of valium-type drugs during development or after.
- Pharmacia & Upjohn discontinued clinical tests of its Linomide (roquinimex) tablets for the treatment of multiple sclerosis after several patients suffered heart attacks. Of 1,200 patients, 8 suffered heart attacks as a result of taking the medication. Animal experiments had not predicted this.
- Cylert (pemoline), a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, caused liver failure in 13 children. Eleven either died or needed a liver transplant.
- Eldepryl (selegiline), a medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease, was found to induce very high blood pressure. This side effect has not been seen in animals, where it is used to treat senile dementia and endocrine disorders.
- The diet drug combination of fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine was linked to heart valve abnormalities and taken off the market although animal studies had never revealed heart abnormalities.”
- The diabetes medication troglitazone, better known as Rezulin, was tested on animals without significant problems, but caused liver damage in humans. The company admitted that at least one patient had died and another had to undergo a liver transplant as a result.
- The plant digitalis has been used for centuries to treat heart disorders. However, clinical trials of the digitalis-derived drug were delayed because it caused high blood pressure in animals. Human evidence overrode. As a result, digoxin, an analogue of digitalis, has saved countless lives. Many more could it have survived had digitalis been released sooner.
- FK 506, now called Tacrolimus, is an anti-rejection agent that was almost shelved before proceeding to clinical trials due to severe toxicity in animals. Animal studies suggested that the combination of FK 506 with cyclosporin might prove more useful. In fact, just the opposite proved true in humans.
- Animal experiments suggested that corticosteroids would help septic shock, a severe bacterial infection of the blood. Unfortunately, humans reacted differently. This treatment increased the death rate in cases of septic shock.
- Despite the ineffectiveness of penicillin in his rabbits, Alexander Fleming used the antibiotic on a very sick patient since he had nothing else to try. Luckily, Fleming’s initial tests were not on guinea pigs or hamsters, it kills them. Howard Florey, the Nobel Prize winner credited with co-discovering and manufacturing penicillin, stated: “How fortunate we didn’t have these animal tests in the 1940s, for penicillin would probably never been granted a license, and possibly the whole field of antibiotics might never have been realized.”
- Fluoride was withheld as a cavity preventative initially because it caused cancer in rats.
- The notoriously dangerous drugs thalidomide and DES were tested in animals and released. Tens of thousands suffered and died as a result.
- Animal experiments misinformed researchers about how rapidly HIV replicates. Based on this false information, patients did not receive prompt therapies and their lives were shortened.
- Animal-based research delayed the development of the polio vaccine, according to Dr. Albert Sabin, its inventor. The first rabies and polio vaccines worked well on animals but crippled or killed the people who tried them.
- Researchers who work with animals have succumbed to illness and death due to exposure to diseases that though harmless to the animal host (such as Hepatitis B) but kill humans.