Each year, millions of animals are killed in laboratories.
Cosmetic and household products and ingredients are not required to be
tested on animals, and since non-animal alternatives exist, it is hard to
understand why companies continue to animals in testing.
There are tests that are more reliable and less expensive that don't require animals.
Some of these tests include: use of cell cultures, corneal and skin tissue
cultures, corneas from eye banks, and computer and mathematical
models. Companies can also use ingredients that have already been proven safe
or natural ingredients. Unfortunately, companies are still using outdated and
The Draize Eye Irritancy Test is used to judge the ability of a test substance
to cause damage to the eye. Substances are put in the eyes of conscious rabbits.
In a typical test, rabbits are held in such a way that they can't use a paw
to remove the substance from their eyes. Rabbits don't have tear ducts like humans
do, so the substance is not 'washed' away. Clips keep their eyes open so they
can't blink. The rabbits often scream when the substance is
put in the eyes. Sometimes they even break their necks or backs while trying to
escape the pain. Once the reactions (swollen eyelids, bleeding, blindness, etc.)
are recorded, the rabbits are killed or put into other tests.
Acute toxicity tests, also known as Lethal Dose (LD) or poisoning tests,
determine the amount of a substance that will kill an animal. Animals are made
to ingest substances through stomach tubes, to inhale substances, to have
substances injected or to have substances applied directly to exposed skin.
How do these animals react to these tests? They suffer from convulsions, vomiting,
diarrhea, paralysis and bleeding (from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum).
These are not quick tests. Sub-acute tests last from 28-90 days, and chronic
tests can last up to 2 years! The testers refuse to use painkillers because they
fear interference. Is what they do to these animals not interference with their
lives? Perhaps that's what they should think about.
If you're like me, the thought of these tests turns your stomach and breaks your
heart. How can we let this go on? On top of the sheer cruelty of these tests, their
results may not be useful. The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal
Testing stated that the Draize test 'does not adequately reflect the degree of
irritancy in humans'. The Lethal Dose test shows us that the substance is toxic
to the animal it's tested on, but we don't know what that means for humans.
The results of these tests can depend on age and sex of the animals, experimental
setting, and other variables. How on earth can we generalize this accurately to
There are many people who will argue that we do get benefits from some animal
research. Even if this is true, does this give humans the moral justification
to cause so much suffering? Look at it this way. If getting a benefit from a test
justified cruelty, why does this not extend to human testing? We would never
experiment on human beings, no matter what the benefit would be. We'd be able to
get very reliable results with human testing, but it isn't done. We believe, as a
society, that people have the right to protection from cruel treatment, and the
protection against being treated as a 'thing'. Why don't animals have that same
protection? Why are there still millions and millions of animals being used in
To justify this, we would have to distinguish humans from animals. But what exactly
is the characteristic that is important enough to distinguish who deserves
protection and who doesn't? Humans and animals both think, feel pain, communicate,
and have survival instincts. I don't see any justifiable distinction for the
existing cruelty that goes.
When I first put this page together, I had included some photos that showed just
how cruel the tests really are. I find the pictures so disturbing that I've decided
to not include them. However, I do believe it is important for people to see how
horrible these tests really are. Please visit the
Gallery of Horror and PETA's
to see what's being done to the animals.