In the game of life, animals have become pawns for the human race; they are selectively bred, used and abused so we can feed our insatiable appetite for progress, luxury, comfort and pleasure. Besides the issue of eating animals, no other issue has been the subject of as much widespread attention and controversy as animal testing. Although many claims have been made either way, large-scale studies of their efficacy in advancing human health and well-being have been rare. Many experiments cause extreme suffering, often to the point of the animal’s death. Even when they are not being experimented on, animals suffer stress in laboratories where they are typically kept in barren containers or kennels. Some spend their entire lives in solitary confinement and are denied any company or comfort. After the animals have been used in experiments they are usually killed, although many are kept alive to be used in ongoing experiments over a period of months, or even years.
As a consumer, you may not be able to reject all forms of animal use and animal testing that are conducted for purposes as wide-ranging as biomedical research to warfare experiments, but you can control what you purchase. Firstly, if you care about animals in general, you need to stop eating them and using their byproducts. There’s no morally good reason why we should continue to buy cosmetics, household and personal care products manufactured by companies that continue to test on animals and use animal ingredients. We don’t need to support these exploitative industries, when in vitro methods and alternatives to animal testing and animal-derived ingredients exist. The system of exploitation won’t change till you stop paying for products that finance the system. If you still need more reasons why you should only buy cruelty-free products, here are some examples of unnecessary experiments that are carried out on animals:
1. The Draize Eye Test
The Draize Eye Test is used to test shampoos, weed-killers, pesticides and household detergents. The substance under test is sprayed or instilled into one eye of a rabbit. Generally, no anesthesia is administered and the test often proceeds for 7 -14 days, during which the cornea, iris and conjunctiva are examined for signs of opacity, ulceration, hemorrhage, redness, swelling and discharge. The rabbit’s eye is then monitored over several days for signs of healing or deterioration. Typical reactions include tears, swelling, inflammation , bleeding and even blindness. Not only does this test cause immense suffering to the animals used, but it is also known to be unreliable and imprecise.
2. The LD50
The Lethal Dose (LD) 50 test determines the dosage of a substance that kills 50% of the animals it is given to. The LD50 value for a substance varies according to the species involved and it is used to test household products, drugs or pesticides. Rats, mice, rabbits, dogs, monkeys and guinea pigs are the most commonly used animals for these tests. The substance being tested is itypically forced into the throats or pumped into the stomachs of the animals by a tube, but may also be administered orally or intravenously. Again, no painkillers are administered “to avoid interference with results” and the test is allowed to proceed for 14 days (if the animals have not already died). The LD50 test have limited, if any, significance when applied to humans.
3. Skin Corrosion or Draize Skin Test
Another test that is highly subjective and therefore very unreliable, it is used to assess the potential of substances that cause severe damage to human skin by observing and recording their reactions such as itching, swelling, and inflammation on animals. The test is typically carried out on rabbits, rats or mice that are restrained and have a high concentration of the test chemical or substance applied on their shaved skin. The wounded skin is then covered with a gauze patch and the skin is observed at regular intervals to check for adverse reactions. No painkillers are administered during the test period and the animals used are killed at the conclusion of the test.
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