The Problem with Testing Drugs on Animals Every year is that nearly 100 million animals die in research laboratories at the hands of curious scientists who perform outdated and inaccurate tests that prove no benefit to humans or animals. Before these animals die, they are routinely burned, scalded, poisoned, starved, given electric shocks, addicted to drugs, subjected to near freezing temperatures, dosed with radioactive elements, driven insane, deliberately inflicted with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, oral infections, stomach ulcers, syphilis, herpes, and AIDS. Their eyes are surgically removed, their brains and spinal cords damaged, and their bones broken. Law does not mandate the usage of anesthesia; consequently, this is rarely administered. Despite all of this cruelty, not a single disease has been cured through vivisection in this century. The overall adult cancer rate has risen in the past 40 years, and a fatal heart attack strikes a person every 45 seconds.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 70-80% of the common diseases killing Americans are preventable given a responsible diet and lifestyle. Drug testing on animals is inaccurate and does not benefit humans or animals at all. Animals including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rhesus monkeys, imported primates, owls, deer, sheep, llama, and cattle are commonly used for vivisection. Vivisection is the medical term for the practice of experimenting on animals. Charles River Breeding Laboratories, a company owned by Bausch and Lomb, provides 40-50% of the animals used in experiments of laboratories. The other remaining misfortunate animals come from places a little closer to you and me.
Some of them come from animal shelters, some come from the free to good home ads in the classified section of the newspaper, and some from unsuspecting people who allow their companion animals to become pregnant. What is even worse is that some have been stolen directly from their own front yard. Imagine your pet one day being crammed into a cage with ten other animals waiting to die like approximately 20-100 million other animals do each year in numerous unreliable tests. More than 205,000 new drugs are marketed worldwide every year. Most of these animals die after undergoing the most common unreliable test method still in use, animal vivisection. The current system of drug testing puts consumers in a dangerous predicament. According to the General Accounting Office, more than half of the prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration between 1976 and 1985 caused serious side effects that later caused the drugs to be either re-labeled or removed from the market.
The following drugs passed safe in animal experiments but proved tragic consequences in humans. Opren caused 3500 people to suffer serious side effects including damage to skin, eyes, liver, and kidneys. Thalidomide caused about 10,000 birth defects worldwide. Clioquinol caused 30,000 cases of blindness and/or paralysis and thousands of deaths. Conversely, many drugs that are beneficial to humans are dangerous or even fatal to animals.
Penicillin, which is an antibiotic to humans, kills guinea pigs. Aspirin causes birth defects in rats, mice, monkeys, guinea pigs, cats and dogs, but it does not harm humans in any way. This is obvious proof that testing on animals is unreliable, but sadistic tests still go on every day. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that sophisticated non-animal research methods are more accurate, less expensive, and less-time consuming than traditional animal based research methods. Fewer accidental deaths caused by drugs and treatments would occur if stubborn bureaucrats and wealthy vivisectors would use the more accurate alternatives such as: 1. Cell and tissue culture in vitro 2.
Microorganisms and other species of little or no capacity for pain or suffering 3. Computer models to answer questions and guide animal research 4. Fewer animals used per study 5. Less poorly planned work If animal experimentation was eliminated, it would free up 6.8 billion dollars that could be used for education programs and medical assistance programs for low-income individuals. This would help more than 30 million U.S. citizens who cannot afford health insurance, rather than making animals sick. There will be nearly 275,000 animals dead this time tomorrow that are not dead right now due to a fatal animal testing mistake.
The numbers are real, and this is happening in our world every day because it is a multibillion-dollar income for some people and is legal in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health, the worlds largest recipient of funds used for research, must be pushed to fund more preventative programs and human based research. The problem that we are faced with today is not a difficult one to fix. The technology is available for us to use and we should take advantage of our advanced alternate methods.