A lonely rat, huddles in the corner of it s cage, constantly in fear, awaiting the ship of fate to sail down and pick it up. Test tubes, beakers, pipettors and flasks seem like a whole complete world towering around the cage amongst the gloves, pens, paper and safety glasses. The scent of disinfectant lingers in the chemical filled air. As it sleeps, it tries to block out the squeals of pain echoing from all directions in the room and it hopes that it wont be the next one to be pulled out. While this rat is living in a state of constant fear, there are thousands of other monkeys, cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs, sheep, guinea pigs and opossums are being injected, scraped, plucked, burnt, soaked and force fed around the globe.
You may not know it but many well-known brand products on your everyday supermarket shelves test their products on animals before they send them out into the market. Why do these companies do this? Knowing that adopting testing methods that are more cost effective, better predictors of human injury, quicker results and don t involve animal cruelty, companies still test on animals due to the fear of human safety and product liability suits.
Annually, Australia spends approximately $20 billion on health. 99.3% of this colossal amount of money goes to doctors, hospitals, drugs and surgery-much of which is based on animal experimentation and all of which is an action after the event. Horrific experiments are conducted on helpless animals without the concern of the animals well being. Some inhumane deeds that have been discovered include, baby monkeys having their eyes sewn up, puppies being involved in burn tests and a dog that has had an another dog s head attached to it s body.
However, there are still some companies that do not test on animals such as Revlon, Avon, Australis and Estee Lauder. They adopt alternative techniques such as in-vitro tests, computer software, human clinical trials and keeping databases of tests already done which is to avoid duplication tests. Some of these experiments include in-vitro methods that tests skin irritancy by using pumpkin rind to copy the reaction of a foreign substance on human skin. Surveys of diseases of other cultures, life styles, diets: human case studies, autopsy reports and statistical analyses of effects of various factors on the incidence of disease and using discarded human placentas may be used for mocrovascular surgery practice and can provide accurate data for sensitivity to chemicals.
Even though that animal experimentation has not yet desisted, companies have made an effort to reduce the amount of animal experiments being carried out. The Replace, Reduce, Refine concept is a good example. Replace refers to substituting animal tests with other ones that include using tissue cultures that can be grown in glass or plastic dishes. When testing a new medicine or product ingredient, scientists are urged to reduce the number of animals in the list to the bare minimum. Finally scientists refine their tests to make certain that the animals are as comfortable as possible and that laboratory tests do not inflict any pain on the animals. Due to this concept the number of animals used in testing has decreases by more than 40% in the last 20 years.
The use of animal experimentation is also not always successful. Dr. Kenneth Starr from the New South Wales Cancer Council quotes, It is not possible to apply to the human species experimental information deprives from inducing cancer in animals. Animals are totally different to humans; even though primates are our closest relations, their anatomy is not identical to that of ours. There have been cases where drugs and products that have had harmless effects on animals, but have caused major defects in humans and vice-versa. For example, some examples of thoroughly tested drugs that have injured or killed humans include Amydopyrine which was used as a pain killer but was discovered to cause blood disease and Chlomycin used for typhoid but caused leukemia, cardiovascular collapse and therefore death.