Animal Testing: Part one

Animal testing. This is my last animal cruelty topic for now. I was a little apprehensive about this one because I really don’t know that much about it. The last few I was still apprehensive, but because I knew a little about it and I was thinking, ‘Gosh, how much worse am I going to find?!’ There was some tough moments in there, but I am glad that there are ways to fix it. So. On to animal testing.

Most everyone that things like cosmetics, detergents and chemicals should be tested—for the safety of people, animals, and the environment. This is where animal testing comes in. The usual approach is to pump a substance into an animal’s stomach or airways, or apply it to their eyes (Why they would do this, I have no idea. Anytime I get soap in my eyes there is a serious price. What are they going to learn by doing this? Of course it’s going to burn!) or on their skin. Most of these tests are crude, decades-old procedures.

Number of Animals Used

  • There are approximately 56 to 100 million cats and 54 million dogs in the US.
  • It is estimated that every hour 2,000 cats and 3,500 dogs are born.
  • Between 10.1 and 16. 7 million dogs and cats are put to death in pounds and shelters annually.
  • Approximately 5 billion are consumed for food annually.
  • Approximately 1.1% of dogs and cats from pounds and shelters, that would otherwise be euthanized, are used in research.
  • Only 1 to 1.5% of research animals are dogs and cats.
  • Only 0.5% are non-human primates.
  • There has been a 40% decrease in the numbers of animals used in biomedical research and testing in the US since 1968

According to the USDA, approximately:

  • 61% of animals used suffer no pain
  • 31% have pain relieved with anesthesia (Why don’t farm animals get this same treatment? I have no idea.)
  • 6% experience pain, as alleviation would compromise the validity of the data. Much of this work is directed at an understanding of pain.

  1. It’s impossible to know exactly how many animals are being used in research because U.S. laws do not require scientists to report how many mice, rats, or birds they use, but it’s estimated that 90% of lab animals are mice and rats.
  2. Since more than 1.4 million mammals other than rats and mice were used in research, and since mice and rats probably make up 90% of the animals in labs, we can guess that about 14 million rats and mice were used in research in 2002.
  3. In labs, small animals, like hamsters, rats and mice, are usually kept in clear or white plastic boxes about the size of a shoebox. Animals a bit bigger, such as guinea pigs, live in larger boxes about twice the size of a shoebox. Usually, more than one animal lives in a box.
  4. Larger animals like dogs, cats, and primates usually live in wire cages. Most animals stay in their cages all the time except when they are being used in experiments.
  5. Living in cages can be a big problem for intelligent animals like dogs, cats, pigs, and primates who become tremendously lonely and bored unless they have things to play with or ways to get more exercise.
  6. 489,262 animals that were used in research in 2002 (not including mice, rats, and birds—no one knows how many of these animals are used in research) were used in research that was either painful, distressful, or both. Most of these animals were given something that either helped take the pain away or helped them get over the pain quickly.
  7. 103,764 of the animals made to feel pain were not given anything to reduce their pain and suffering. Although some of this pain was slight—like getting an injection with a needle—some of it was extremely severe.
  8. Most of these animals are only used in one experiment, but sometimes the same animal will be used in more than one experiment. Most are euthanized shortly after being used in an experiment.

There are several routine tests that the scientists use to test each product and ingredient. These include:

Repeated dose toxicity

This test assesses whether long-term repeated use of a substance is poisonous. Rabbits or rats are forced to eat or inhale a cosmetics ingredient or have it rubbed onto their shaved skin every day for 28 or 90 days,

Reproductive toxicity

To test use of a substance and its effect on fertility, sexual behavior, birth and growth of the young, pregnant female rabbits or rats are force-fed a cosmetics ingredient and then killed along with their unborn babies. Such tests take a long time and use thousands of animals.


This test assesses how a substance is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and excreted by the body. Rabbits or rats are forced to consume a cosmetics ingredient before being killed and their organs examined to see how the ingredient was distributed in their bodies.

Skin sensitization

This test assesses whether a substance will make the skin increasingly inflamed and itchy each time it is used. A cosmetics ingredient is rubbed onto the shaved skin of guinea pigs and ears of mice to see if they have an allergic reaction.


A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer or increases the likelihood that someone will develop cancer. To assess this, rats are force-fed a cosmetics ingredient for two years to see if they get cancer.

After every one of these tests, the animals are killed.

There are two sides to every story. This site paints an entirely different story. Both sides seem to be biased and they seem to claim that every testing facility is one way or the other. While I don’t believe that every single case in a testing facility is a horror show, I think that most of them are. How could they not be? They said that the negatives that most anti-cruelty programs exaggerate the cruelty, which I don’t doubt, but do they think this is exaggerated?


Or this:


Rabbit being held in stocks during testing.

Or even this:

Animal Testing Cages

Animal Testing Cages

Tests for different things cause different levels of pain. Ironically, the one we ‘need’ the most is the one that causes the most pain. Medication.

This site has tons of information on it and it talks about just about every aspect and question that you could have. It was an interesting read and answered most of my questions. The only problem I think it downplayed the problem.

The last thing I’ll say about this is that this crap isn’t necessary. If we wouldn’t try to pump everything full of toxins and chemicals, instead natural organic stuff that had worked for the years before we started trying to alter everything.  Even the medication testing could be lessened if we would grow up and start eating like we’re supposed to. And I say grow up because I feel like anytime I try to talk about eating better people act like they’re a bunch of children. “I don’t like that,” they’ll say.  Food can be our medication or it can be our poison. You get to choose and the animals have to suffer for it. Solutions for this will next time.

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