When we talk about animal testing, we’re describing the practice of forcing animals to undergo experiments that are likely to cause distress, pain or in some cases, permanent harm. The purpose of testing on animals is not for the benefit of animals either, as it’s invariably conducted to ensure that products are safe for humans.
Whichever way you look at it, testing on animals is something that puts the interests of animals at the very bottom of the list of priorities. Animals used in testing are deliberately harmed and in many cases, destroyed afterwards, so it’s a tragedy in every sense of the word.
There are many ways in which organisations perform testing on animals, with the experiments being conducted varying greatly depending on what it is that’s being tested. The ways in which animals are made to suffer are extensive and can include:
- Force-feeding or injecting of possibly harmful substances
- The surgical removal of tissue or organs to cause deliberate damage
- Subjecting animals to radiation exposure
- Making animals inhale potentially toxic gases
- Deliberately traumatising animals to make them depressed or anxious
It seems that there is very little that animal testing organisations are not prepared to do in the interest of keeping humans safe. It certainly is a controversial practice and for very good reason and it’s led to much in the way of protesting across the world.
What Animals are Tested Upon?
It wouldn’t be true to say that there are no rules governing animal testing, as there are. Animals used for testing need to be bred for that specific purpose in either a breeding facility or a lab and vertebrates need special legal permission to be tested upon. However, the rules can change from country to country and some awful things are allowed to go on because of loopholes in the law.
For example, in the USA, despite being vertebrates, mice, rats, birds and amphibians are not deemed to be animals under animal testing guidelines. This very surprising omission means that these animals can be tested on without any special permission being granted.
In other parts of the world like South America, Asia and Africa, monkeys are routinely trapped and tested up on, with their children being exported to other laboratories located across the planet. This kind of practice may be banned in places like Europe, but it’s still very much occurring elsewhere.
The Animal Suffering Scale
Believe it or not, in animal testing there is a scale that measures how much an animal is made to suffer and it ranges from mild to moderate to severe. According to EU statistics, testing on animals in the UK in 2018 led to a huge 31% experiencing moderate to severe levels of suffering.
On some occasions, experiments require an animal to die and it’s not always for a noble cause either. Whilst human vaccines are sometimes the reason for testing, it’s very often cosmetics and products like Botox that call for lethal experimentation.
However, it’s very hard to defend this kind of practice - whatever the reason behind it.
Interested In Animal Welfare?
Animal testing continues to this day and until it’s banned globally, it will continue to do so. The animal welfare and animal rights movements are constantly calling for the practice to be officially stopped, however, it appears to be a fight that is set to rage on for some time yet.