Being the last week of the quarter, I must dedicate my final column to my furry imprisoned friends, the animals of research testing. Many arguments have been proposed, declaring that animal testing is necessary for the progress of medicine. This argument I am not addressing. The argument I am concerned with considers those animal experiments which are frivolous to human health. Every year tens of millions of animals are killed by vivisection, the practice of experimenting upon live animals. A good number of these experiments practicing vivisection, “often do not even purport to be linked to human health,” according to P.E.T.A. Sadly enough, not only are animals being subjected to excess cruelty, such as having their vocal chords sliced making it impossible to howl during experiments, but many of these experiments are being repeated due to a poor centralized information system. Results from prior experiments often aren’t communicated, which allows for the same brutal experiments to be conducted again. You think that is bad enough? Well, as U.S. taxpayers we help fund the careers of these animal experimenters. The National Institute of Health, a government based organization is the, “largest single financier in the world,” according to P.E.T.A. Our money helps keep them alive and functioning, unlike their subjects. The majority of animal experiments are conducted by “government agencies, the military, manufacturers of cosmetics and household products, chemical and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals,” according to P.E.T.A. The military, specifically, uses animals to explore the effects of radiation, bullet wounds and chemical warfare upon live bodies, even though these effects have already been well documented upon humans. Besides the military, unnecessary tests are conducted by large-scale companies, primarily those involved with cosmetics and household products. The FDA doesn’t require the majority of animal testing, however, “every year 22 million monkeys, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, birds and other animals are forced to ingest, inhale or contact potentially dangerous chemicals, causing extreme pain, convulsions, mutilation and blindness,” according to Animal Outreach. Excess? I think so. Besides this lack of necessity, the validity of animal tests is questionable. Through animal testing, formaldehyde, dioxin and asbestos among other chemical toxins were proven to be unacceptable for humans, according to Animal Outreach. This brings into debate the soundness of animal testing. The examples I encountered while researching animal testing were in the least to say, compelling. However, exposing the sadistic practices is the only way animal cruelty may stand any chance of reform. Animal cruelty is not an evil that will go away over the course of a few years or even a few decades. However, as consumers we can at least extract our support from those companies that excessively and unjustly use animals for experimentation. (Proctor & Gamble Co., Gillette, Schick, Cover Girl and Johnson and Johnson) There are alternatives to animal testing. Many companies have adopted tissue culture systems, which clone human skin cells and test upon them. (Bath and Body Works, Aveda, Body Shop and Garden Botanika) This saves money as well as lives. Computer modeling also offers methods by which to gage human response to stimuli. A large portion of animal testing is cruel and unnecessary and by supporting companies that forbid these inhumane practices, an ethical movement for all species may begin.
Lisa Bhungalia is a senior English major.