In the first post in the animal testing series, I introduced the topic of animal testing, and discussed at the scientific inefficacy of it. Today I'm going to address why the hell it's still happening. And for all of you who keep saying you can't watch the videos because they're too graphic, the video for this post has “cuteness relief” throughout so you can learn about a serious topic without being traumatized. You're welcome. :)
As we saw in the first post regarding animal testing, non-animal tests are generally more reliable, less costly, and always more humane. so you may ask, why the $#@&^ are we still testing on animals? well here are the three main reasons:
- Momentum (meaning familiarity, or “it's what we've always done”)
- For companies to cover their @sses!
So, reason one, momentum. According to SaferMedicines.org, which by the way, is an organization that has nothing to do with animal rights and everything to do with human safety say, “many factors perpetuate animal experimentation, the most obvious of which is momentum. The tradition is so deeply ingrained that the whole system is based on it. Technological lock-in and status quo bias are powerful factors here.” This is the same argument of eating animals and animal byproducts because it's what we've always done.
And now on to the second reason, the big number two. And I mean that in both ways: money. Researchers attract grant money based on how many papers they publish in scientific literature. It is much easier and faster to publish papers using animals, than by doing human-based research. Remember Dr. Vlasak from the first post? He's the medical doctor who is also an animal rights activist and he states,
“I was told that I could make a name for myself if I published papers and experimented on animals; and I was told that universities were given lots of money by the government as long as they continue to do experiments on animals. Being the naive young doctor and wanting to follow the lead of others, I did a year of vivisection and visited animal labs throughout the country. What I learned and what I saw with my own eyes was mind-boggling. I learned that the pharmaceutical companies spent millions of dollars taking doctors out to dinner and paying for lavish vacations for them and their families.
“And in turn, these researchers were to manipulate animal experiments to get the results the drug industries wanted. I learned that the way universities get grant money isn't by coming up with the best and most scientific research methods, but by continuing to use animals as a model because of the billions of dollars made in the vivisection industry. Greed, corruption and absolute power; these are the things that drive the vivisection industry; not saving lives or preventing disease. The scientists who still use animals in their research are not only frauds, but are addicted to an outdated form of research. Colin Blakemore for instance, who has sewn kittens eyes closed for fun and profit, is no more of a true scientist than the mad scientists in the monster movies we watched in the 50s.
“In all reality, vivisection is a business. The organization Last Chance for Animals states that “vivisection uses images of sick children and notions of medical necessity to play upon our sympathies and generate revenue. In reality, children all over the world routinely die from starvation and curable diseases while we waste millions on animal experimentation.”
Now just how much money are we talking about? Every year the US vivisection industries spend over $18 billion on animal experiments. The United States National Institutes of Health is the world's greatest source that funds animal experimentation, with an annual budget of more than $13 billion. And just where does this money come from? Your wallet. More than $16 billion of US taxpayer money goes to animal testing, despite its ineffectiveness.
So just what are you paying for? Here's some examples of animal experimentation funded by taxpayer money:
- At the University of Pennsylvania, to study the results of head trauma, primates were strapped into machinery to receive high impact blows to the head. A video camera captured by an animal rights activist, showed footage of vivisectionists taunting the injured animals who were left with severe brain damage.
- To examine severe burns on life tissue, the United States army restrained pigs who were burned alive with a flame thrower until their charred flesh could be removed in large pieces.
- To measure injury recovery, the Uniformed Services University Department of Defense strapped dogs down and cut apart the skin on their knees, leaving flaps. At the end of the study, all the dogs were killed.
- At Emory University, to demonstrate that the eyes protein levels are the same in sight deprived monkeys compared to normal ones, animal experimenters sewed the monkeys eyelids shut.
- Our government-run space agency NASA, committed $1.75 million dollars in taxpayer money to fund experiments subjecting 1 foot tall squirrel monkeys to massive amounts of radiation.
All of these cruel labs are very expensive. Each dog lab at the University of Colorado for instance costs taxpayers about $40,000.
And finally reason number three: companies covering their asses. Pharmaceutical companies continue to do animal tests because they provide liability protection in court when the drug happens to kill or injure a person. Companies test on animals in order to provide data that they can use to defend themselves when they are sued by injured customers. Even though the very same courts have ruled that the FDA has failed to show that the results of animal tests can be extrapolated to humans. Basically the unreliability of animal test allows companies to put virtually any product on the market.
What do you think of these reasons for continuing animal testing? Do they hold any water? Let me know in the comments!
PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)
Safer Medicines.org Articles
Negotiation Is Over
Video on the finding from the raid of UPenn's head trauma lab
Infographic on taxpayer money funding animal testing