Q&A: Animals Used For Experimentation
The following is Q&A about animals used for experimentation (vivisection).
There are also Q&A pages in these areas:
Animals are intelligent. Maybe not intelligent by the standards we judge human intelligence by (for example, none of them are getting university degrees), but they’re still intelligent.
That said, it's beside the point because what does it matter how intelligent animals are? Intelligent or not, that's no reason to torture them in a laboratory. Because by that thinking, we should therefore round up all the unintelligent humans (and there are plenty of them!) and experiment on them.
As for animals not being able to speak, again: so what? Animals can and do communicate through complex systems of body language and a variety of nuanced sounds. So while they don’t communicate like we do through spoken and written language, they still can and do communicate. But once again, this is beside the point. The ability of animals to communicate is meaningless in light of whether or not it's right to torture them. If it were meaningful it would therefore be okay to experiment on human babies because they don't speak either.
Some would then say, "Well, that's different because human babies eventually do grow up and learn to speak." That’s not true: most babies do, but not all. Some humans who have cognitive disabilities will never be able to speak. And, once again, if we were to follow the above argument it would mean it's okay to experiment on humans with cognitive disabilities who haven’t got the ability to speak.
Judging animals by impossible standards - standards they’d never be able to reach - and then using their failure to reach those impossible standards as an excuse to torture them is unfair. And using the argument that it’s okay to torture animals in laboratories because they don’t speak and don’t have the same type of intelligence as humans is both feeble and absurd.
Philosopher and activist Jeremy Bentham summarised it well when he said about vivisection: "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather 'Can they suffer?'".
If we were to accept the viewpoint stated in the original question, then experimenting on unintelligent humans, babies who can’t yet speak, and people who are cognitively impaired would be acceptable. It’s clearly not acceptable on any level and in any way, just as it’s not acceptable to inflict suffering and death on non-human animals using the same excuses.
Just animals? You mean, just like we humans are animals?
Non-human animals have pain receptors and a central nervous system just as we do. This means that they feel pain in much the same way as we do. So if it's wrong to experiment on human animals then it's just as wrong to experiment non-human animals: they feel pain too.
Absolutely not true.
If you think that the animals being mutilated in laboratories don’t feel anything, you have a profound misunderstanding of the very basics of biology. I’m no scientific genius - not by far - but I know enough to say with conviction that any creature with a nervous system and pain receptors (like the animals tortured in vivisection laboratories) most definitely feel pain.
The question should be: “How can we progress in medicine while we continue testing on animals?”
While vivisectors and pharmaceutical companies claim that medical advances are only made possible through animal testing, the exact opposite is true. Animal testing hinders progress.
A scientifically-substantiated introduction to the subject is put forth in the booklet Physicians Convincingly Argue That Animal Testing Seriously Impedes Progress in Human Medicine While Vivisection Industry Profits by the non-profit organisation PRISM (People for Reason in Science and Medicine).
Many individual scientists and doctors agree that vivisection is unscientific. There are lots of quotations I could share, but I’ll keep it at these three:
"Vivisection is barbaric, useless, and a hindrance to scientific progress." - Dr. Werner Hartinger.
“The reason why I am against animal research is because it doesn’t work, it has no scientific value and every good scientist knows that.” - Dr Robert Mendelsohn.
“Practically all animal experiments are untenable on a statistical scientific basis, for they posses no scientific validity or reliability.” - Dr Herbert Stiller and Dr Margot Stiller.
You can find many more quotations on the Internet. If you go to Medicine Kills Millions, you can download a free PDF that contains over a thousand quotations from people in the fields of medicine and science who are against vivisection.
There valid alternatives to animal experimentation that are both reliable and cost-effective. But, while science and medicine contains individuals bogged down by habit and a public mired in tradition, vivisection will continue to be used. The public must stop bankrolling this carnage; once that happens, the nightmare of vivisection will end, because without donations it simply can’t go on.
It doesn’t take much research to see that vivisection is neither necessary nor useful. So don’t be duped by those who benefit from this brutal practice. Be convinced by the facts, which show that vivisection is nothing but pseudoscience. It will not give us progress, but only take us backwards both scientifically and morally.
No, it’s not.
Despite the insistence that experimenting on animals (vivisection) is for the advancement of science, the results are so consistently unhelpful to us, that vivisection can only be accurately called pseudo-science.
And vivisectors know very well that animal testing has an incredibly high failure rate…which means that they're torturing those poor creatures for little more than keeping themselves employed. But to be fair, the full blame for the savagery of vivisection can’t be entirely put on the shoulders of the scientists. Why? Because those hapless animals wouldn’t be in vivisection laboratories without the support of the majority of the public.
So while the vivisectors themselves are often accused of being cold-blooded for their barbaric actions (they are, after all, the ones doing the mutilating, the injecting, the poisoning, the blinding, etc), they’re only able to do it because they're supported by an equally callous public.
I do hope that makes you feel sick and ashamed, because it should. And I do hope that it makes you think twice before supporting the mindless violence of vivisection.
Of course it's not. Causing animals to suffer under any circumstances and for any reason is immoral.
You must also realise that this idea that vivisection can "save many human lives” is pure fantasy, because the ‘success’ rate (if you can even call it that) of vivisection is miniscule.
But most importantly, any scientific progress made through vivisection is tainted. As George Bernard Shaw said: "Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research." So the moral implication is that any success through vivisection is ill-gotten - contaminated by the violence from which it was gained. This means that any small advances vivisection does miraculously manage to make brings us ever closer to complete moral bankruptcy.
On the contrary, scientific and medical progress will lag behind if we don’t stop testing on animals.
Almost all experimental drugs deemed effective in animals end up failing in human clinical trials, and much more progress is made when the testing is done with non-animal methods. But don’t take it from me - take it from the doctors themselves. Have a look at People for Reason in Science and Medicine and Medicine Kills Millions. Take it from the medical professionals themselves that vivisection is a failure and does nothing to take us forward.
Stopping animal experimentation is the only way we’ll make great strides in science and medicine. In the face of the glaringly obvious evidence that animal testing is unempirical, only the deluded could think otherwise.
No, it doesn’t.
Today’s pharmaceuticals and medical procedures have already been tested on animals. There’s no avoiding it at this point. The damage has, sadly, already been done. And using these drugs and procedures IF absolutely necessary does not mean a person is not vegan.
While we should still endeavour to avoid using them by utilising non-animal tested medicine such as acupuncture and chiropractic, it’s sometimes unavoidable. There’s no point in staying sick (or even dying) just to prove a point.
I don’t know what other vegans would do, but I certainly wouldn’t support it. The following quotations reflect exactly how I feel:
"I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence." - Mahatma Gandhi.
"Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character." - George Bernard Shaw.
"I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further." - Mark Twain.
"I despise and abhor the pleas on behalf of that infamous practice, vivisection...I would rather submit to the worst of deaths, so far as pain goes, than have a single dog or cat tortured to death on the pretense of sparing me a twinge or two." - Robert Browning.
So, like Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, and Robert Browning, I'm against vivisection on moral grounds, no matter what the success rate.
To get paid.
It’s well-documented by scientists themselves that what’s found to work on animals consistently (at least 92 percent of the time) doesn't translate to humans. Yet they continue to 'research' in the same way - doing what they know doesn't work - only to continuously fail to get results. And they keep getting money to fail over and over again through donations.
And so the game keeps going: scientists keep themselves employed, and the public kids itself into thinking all those donations are going towards a worthy cause. Everyone's a winner...except for the tortured animals and the sick people.
Scientists who currently experiment on animals can switch to non-animal methods of experimentation. They will remain employed, animals will no longer get tortured, and much more scientific progress will be made.
Sounds pretty fair to me.
The word “vivisection” refers to (supposedly) ‘scientific’ testing on live animals.
Animals are burned, poisoned, blinded, force-fed toxic chemicals, given addictive substances (like narcotics and nicotine), sliced up, have holes drilled into their skulls, given deadly diseases, have their spinal cords crushed, made to suffer seizures...the list goes on and on and on.
All without painkillers, and all unnecessarily because not only are there alternatives to animal testing but animal testing does not get results. (That said, even if vivisection did get results, it’s still wrong because the torture of any sentient being is wrong.)
Professor of philosophy Charles Magel pointed out this paradox: “Ask the animal experimenters why they experiment on animals, and answer is ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is, ‘Because the animals are not like us.’”
It’s a totally contradictory and hypocritical way of thinking and it’s time for humanity to snap out of it.
The fact is that there are ways - accurate and viable ways - of making scientific and medical progress without animals suffering. There's no reason that experiments currently done on animals can't be done on a molecular level instead. That way, no one gets hurt and the results are actually valid to humans (unlike now where over 90 percent of animal-tested experiments don't even translate to human beings).
The less we support companies that test, the more they’ll be pushed to find other ways. You can help put an end to vivisection by supporting non-animal-tested products and medical charities which don’t test on animals.
Vivisection is nothing more than the torture of animals. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Because vegans have this weird thing where they think harming animals is wrong, whether it be in the name of science, or for any other reason.
Animals who are mutilated in laboratories experience suffering to a degree that none of us can truly comprehend, but you can put yourself in the picture in a very small way like this: next time you get a splinter or a paper cut, think about the victims of vivisection. Every time you feel that tiny wound throb, think of the poor animals being sliced up alive in laboratories enduring purposely-inflicted injuries infinitely worse than your teensy cut.The animals tortured in vivisection laboratories are being mutilated by heartless people who are supported by an equally heartless public. Vegans are against this, just as they are against all forms of violence towards animals.
Leo Tolstoy and Eleanor Roosevelt said it so well that I’ll let them do the explaining:
"What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit for their cruelty." - Leo Tolstoy.
"It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures." - Eleanor Roosevelt.
Not all people in medical science say that vivisection is worthy and necessary.
For example, otorhinolaryngologist and pulmonologist Dr Hugo Knecht thinks this of his colleagues who are in favour of vivisection: "Doctors who speak out in favour of vivisection do not deserve any recognition in society, all the more so since their brutality is apparent not only during such experiments, but also in their practical medical lives. They are mostly men who stop at nothing in order to satisfy their ruthless and unfeeling lust for honours and gain."
While it’s true that many in the field of medicine agree with Dr Knecht, there are still some individuals who slavishly support vivisection, routinely defending it with almost any justification whatsoever, including sheer curiosity.
From what I can tell, there are two types of scientists who support vivisection. The first are those who benefit financially from it, and want to maintain their source of income. The second are those who are so blindly attached to convention that they support it simply because it’s a scientific institution (and do so despite the mountain of evidence that shows vivisection to be bad science).
The failure of vivisection to advance us scientifically is well-known (not to mention well-documented) in the scientific community, so don’t be deceived into thinking that because some doctors and scientists insist on endorsing this ineffectual practice, it automatically means that it’s worthy and necessary. Because remember their support is not based on science, but instead on either money or habit: the former simply want to stay in business, and the latter are trapped in the trance of tradition.
Because they’re believing the lie that vivisection will help to cure disease, despite the fact that it’s well-documented (and therefore well-known in the scientific community) that vivisection is a failure.
I once had a conversation with a couple whose daughter died of cancer
years before. The mother told me that she now donates lots of money to
cancer research. She also told me how much her late daughter loved
My point in relating this story in this: if you're one of the many people who donate to causes that conduct animal experimentation (vivisection), you’re not helping to find cures. Quite the opposite: you’re helping to actively hinder scientific progress. And you don’t have to believe me - believe the many doctors who speak out against vivisection, like the following three:
“We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn't work in humans.” - Dr Richard Klausner (member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Cancer).
“During the last 80 years, scientists experimenting on trillions of animals, came up with 900 ways of causing cancer in a mouse…but no cure to humans!” - Dr JF Brailsford (physician).
"Giving cancer to laboratory animals has not and will not help us to understand the disease or to treat those persons suffering from it." - Albert Sabin (medical researcher).
If you care about finding cures for diseases, then stop donating to charities that test on animals. It’s the only way to shift the focus to safe and reliable non-animal methods of testing, and to consequently increase scientific progress.
That’s half right. It’s evil, yes. But necessary, no.
I used to think that vivisection was morally wrong but that we had to do it in order to make any advances in science. I assumed it was a necessary evil because I couldn’t imagine why anyone would torture an animal unless there was clearly no other possible way to get results. I also figured that the scientists knew what they were doing - they were the experts, after all, and I reasoned that they were doing these awful things to animals for the greater good. I imagined them cringing and crying while they made innocent animals suffer - suffering themselves in order to help humanity.
How very wrong I was.
After just a little investigation it becomes glaringly obvious that not only is vivisection extremely ineffective, but that this fact is well-known in the scientific community! So then why, if vivisection gets almost no results and scientists know this, does it continue? Answer: because it keeps vivisectionists in business. And the public, duped into believing that vivisection is necessary for medical advancement, lines their pockets with donations.
So what can we do about it? Simple: we stop giving them money. Research the medical charities you want to donate to and don't support those that test on animals. Without funding, vivisection can't happen, so it's up to us (the public) to put a stop to it by withdrawing our financial support.
Beagles are the dog breed most often used in animal testing because of their size and passive nature. The following is from an article in The Guardian called Ethical Reasons Why Beagles Have To Die by Paul Kelso which describes what they endure.Buffalo, a large, soppy-eyed beagle, is taking his exercise at Huntingdon Life Sciences. For 20 minutes he and 23 other beagles are released from their 6ft x 6ft pens and allowed to trot up and down the 60ft passage that separates the cages. Buffalo grubs at a plastic bone, and nuzzles one of his colleagues before being scooped up into the arms of his handler. "Hello my lovely, my little baby," she says, staring down with eyes almost as soppy as his. She has given all the dogs names she says, but Buffalo is her favourite.
Buffalo is 12 weeks into his life at Huntingdon, which has the capacity to house more than 1,000 beagles. He is used to the routine; he takes his breakfast, dosed with the substance he is here to test, at around 9am before being returned to the pen. Once an hour to a chorus of excited yelps, a technician walks the passage looking for signs of adverse reactions to the substance.
Commercial confidentiality prevents HLS from revealing the nature of the substance Buffalo and co are being exposed to but it could be an agri-chemical, a drug or a food additive. Once a week Buffalo is taken out and weighed, his urine and faeces collected for analysis, and once a month a blood sample is taken. In 40 weeks when the trial is concluded Buffalo will have reached the end of his useful life and will be killed with barbiturates, along with all the other dogs in the trial.
This is when the real work begins. Postmortems will be conducted. Samples of all major organs will be taken, slides prepared and treated before being passed to HLS's laboratories where the effects of the substance on the dogs are assessed. Meanwhile the next round of testing will have begun. Buffalo's pen will have been hosed down and another beagle will have taken his place.
This unsentimental production line is the way of animal-based research, and very few companies do more of it than HLS, Europe's largest contract research organisation.
It’s a grim story. Here goes…
More than 115 million animals are poisoned, burned, crippled, and injured in other ways in laboratories each and every year. And no experiment on animals is illegal - so no matter how violent, how irrelevant to human health, how redundant, or how painful the procedure may be, it can be done.
Animals all around the world are languishing in laboratory cages right now. Some of them are enduring excruciating pain to test makeup, cleaning products, and bodycare products - products that can easily be tested using safe and cheap non-animal methods. Other animals are enduring unbearable pain in the name of bad science - 'science' that proves, time and time again, to be unempirical.This goes on despite the fact that there are viable non-animal methods of testing available.
Depressing as all this is, there is a way to make it end: If the public stop bankrolling vivisection, it will stop. This means that as an individual you can make a difference by only supporting products not tested on animals and only donating to medical charities that don't test on animals.
Actually, that’s not true. Animal experimentation harms humans enormously by impeding scientific and medical progress.
The failure rate of animal experimentation is extremely high, with over 92 percent of experimental drugs deemed effective in animals failing in human clinical trials. This means that scientists continue to insist on using this near-useless method of testing when they could be implementing much more reliable non-animal experiments using human cells, human DNA, and donated human tissues.
So if the aim is to alleviate the symptoms of illness or to cure disease, then animal testing is not the way to go because it clearly takes us in the exact opposite direction.
Of course not!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to cure disease, but attempting to do so by torturing animals is wrong. And it’s wrong because of its very nature which is caging, torturing, and killing animals.
Then, to add to the immorality is futility: not only are these poor animals being routinely tormented but doing so is bad science and mostly results in failure.
Now, don’t misunderstand me: if vivisection had a high success rate (instead of its actual incredibly high failure rate) I still would be 100 percent opposed to it. Why? Because I am 100 percent opposed to the torture of animals. And animal torture done in the name of a noble cause (curing disease) doesn’t suddenly make it okay. Nobel Prize winner George Bernard Shaw said: "Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research" and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.
So then, how should we go about curing disease? Good question!
Experiments can be done on a molecular level and the resulting drugs could be then tested on wiling humans with the disease. A great deal of progress has been made in the area of AIDs research this way - much more than was ever made by animal experimentation.
And of course prevention is the best cure of all, so eating vegan would go a long, long way to drastically lowering a great many illnesses (like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) that currently occur at a very high rate. I’ll leave you with this quotation by David Coats:
“Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the millions, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth.”
No, of course we don’t.
There are easy, safe, cost-effective, and successful non-animal ways of testing that can and should be done. That many companies don’t test on animals is clear proof that it doesn’t need to be done. In fact, if even one company can test without using animals, then all companies can.
So why, then, isn’t it done by all companies? Why, if there are alternatives, does testing on animals continue? Surely there’s a good reason for it, right? Actually, no, there isn’t a good reason for it. Unless you consider habit and laziness to be good reasons.
Companies continue to test on animals, despite it not being required by law, because…well, that’s what they’ve always done. So it’s the “that’s how we’ve always done it, so that’s how we’ll continue to do it” mentality. In other words, product testing on animals carries on because the companies are too entrenched to change.
On top of that, they’re not being given a reason to stop because consumers continue to buy their animal-tested products. And as long as people buy these products, the companies will just keep testing on animals. Lack of public support is only way to force these companies to use non-animal methods of testing. So, as with every form of animal abuse, it’s up to each us to bring it to an end by not supporting it.
Actually, it’s clear from the exceedingly low success rate of animal testing that trialing medications meant for humans on animals is close to useless.
Over 92 percent of experimental drugs that are deemed safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials. The drugs turn out to be either ineffective or dangerous when used on humans.
Thalidomide is one of the most famous examples of this. Many millions of animals were tortured to test it and, based on that, it was judged safe for human use. But thalidomide ended up causing deformities in human foetuses, and many people paid a heavy price of this slavish and misguided reliance on animal experiments.
I think it’s fair to say that, seeing as experiments on animals have proven time and again to be unreliable when it comes to transferring the results to humans, it’s just plain foolish to continue to do (and rely upon) this testing.
You might wonder what other options exist besides animal testing. Well, testing can initially be done on a molecular level, after which the drugs could be tested on willing (I repeat: willing) human subjects. Doing just this has resulted in incredible advancements in the area of AIDS research - much more than animal testing ever has.
When I’ve explained this to people, the response is usually: “But who would volunteer for such experiments?” My answer (which is the logical answer) is always: “People who are sick”.
I then get asked (usually with a smug ‘gotcha!’ attitude): “Would YOU volunteer?” And my reply is always an honest: “Yes, if I were terribly sick, of course I would. Why wouldn’t I? If I had an incurable disease, what would I have to lose? And even if it didn’t help me, it might lead to progress that will help others in the future.”
Look into it for yourself and see for yourself how futile vivisection is. Further, look at photos of the victims of vivisection to see the cost to human morality. Because, despite the fact that I’ve been discussing the futility of animal experimentation on scientific grounds in order to answer the initial question, my real opposition to it is on moral grounds. In other words, animal testing could be 100 percent effective and I’d still be against it.
But, to stick to the question, I’ll conclude by saying that no, we don't need to test medications on animals because it's unscientific.
I can’t confirm what all doctors think of vivisection, but I can confirm that a huge number of them agree that it’s bad science. For example:
“[Using animals] in a process that is known to be a failure will not help find cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and AIDS.” - Dr Ray Greek.
“It is now clear that medical research using animals has failed to demonstrate that it can produce benefits for humans.” - Dr Adrian Stallwood.
“Why am I against vivisection? The most important reason is because it’s bad science, producing a lot of misleading and confusing data which pose hazards to human health.” - Dr Roy Kupisinel
Safer Medicines, People for Reason in Science and Medicine and Medicine Kills Millions are three sites where doctors speak out against animal experimentation. Read them for yourself, and the conclusion you’ll reach is the same as that of the doctors themselves: that not only has medical progress been impeded by vivisection, but many humans have paid with their health and even their lives for our mistake of relying on it.
I was talking to a
vet once about trying to avoid products tested on animal, and he said
quite nonchalantly to me, “But everything is tested on animals”. His
defeatist attitude was surprising to me, but luckily not all vets are as
For example veterinarian Corina Gericke says: “Animal experiments
contribute nothing to the development of new therapies.” And she's
not the only vet who's against vivisection.
In the below paper
(originally found on the Save The Harlan Beagles website), veterinarian
Dr Andre Menache explains why experimenting on animals is useless.
>>>Go on to more Q&A:
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.