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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Experimentation on animals is inhumane and does not help the health of humans

Testing on humans is considered an absurd and highly unethical idea. Torture is banned under the eight amendment to the US Constitution. So why is animal testing allowed to continue when inhumane testing is outlawed for other forms of living creatures? Animals may not be able to walk away or protest in comprehensible language like humans, but they are not immune to pain, discomfort, or suffering. All of the suffering is for a little piece of candy or a bottle of shampoo. According to PETA, the Mars Candy Corporation, which produces M&M, Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, Skittles, Starburst, and Dove, funds testing of components of their products on animals in horrendous experiments. One of the experiments tests the effect of flavanols (phytochemicals found in chocolate) on mice. The mice were force-fed the chemicals and forced to swim in a pool of water mixed with paint until they found a hidden, submerged platform. If the mice did not find the platform, they were left to drown. The mice who managed to survive were later killed and dissected. This experiment and others funded by the Mars Corporation are unnecessary because there is no law that requires the company to test products on animals before selling the products to consumers. Also the test lacks validity because, regardless of whether the mice have flavanols in their system, the chances of whether they will find the hidden platform is completely random. There are many alternatives to animal testing which large companies, such as Revlon, have begun researching. Alternatives to animal testing include human “clinical trial” tests, computer programs, simulations, software, and in-vitro tests which use organs and parts of animals instead of whole, living animals. Thus far, these alternatives have proved to be more cost effective, better indicators of human injury, produce quicker results, and do not include animal cruelty and death. When compared to animal testing, the alternatives are clearly better. Another large company that funds animal testing is Unilever, according to PETA. The company is responsible for producing brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Skippy Peanut Butter, Lipton Ice Tea, Axe deodorant, Q-Tips, and many others. One animal is tortured so that a consumer can have a jar of peanut butter and a pint of ice cream. Along with being accused of animal testing, Unilever has also been accused of releasing excessive greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by Greenpeace. Unilever has since initiated a plan to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emission. Fewer companies fund animal testing today because of increased technology. Also many companies have enacted plans to stop animal testing and replace it with an alternative method. Johnson and Johnson, which used to test animals, has taken the 3 R’s approach. The R’s stand for reduce, replace, and refine. The company has replaced animal testing with in-vitro (test tube/cell culture) experiments according to their website. Other companies such as the Bic Corporation are currently serving a moratorium. A moratorium is a temporary suspension of animal testing, but not necessarily an abolishment of it. Hygiene and beauty companies also use animal testing. According to PETA, companies such as Covergirl, Clairol (Aussie, Herbal Essences), L’Oreal U.S.A. (Maybelline, Redken), Max Factor, Olay Company, and Pantene fund animal testing. Cosmetic testing is as inhumane as food testing and quite controversial. The tests that are used include tests with skin, eyes, and toxicity. In the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Belgium, cosmetic testing is banned. Instead of conducting unnecessary tests on animals, much safer and humane testing can be done on humans. The unnecessary testing only reinforces common knowledge, such as the fact that bleach should not be swallowed and should not come in contact with one’s eyes. Some may argue that animals feel no pain or are unsure of how much pain the animals feel. This was an acceptable view in the 17th century, but we live in the 21st century. People can see animals in pain in the real world. When a dog breaks its leg, it winces in pain. When someone squeezes a cat’s tail, the cat fights back. The animals are reacting in order to stop the pain that is being caused. Based on simple observations in real life, it is obvious that animals are capable of feeling pain or unpleasant mental states. Experiments that cause suffering to an animal are unethical and inhumane. As a “thank you”, the animals are commonly disposed of after the tests. Inhumane experiments have been outlawed for humans so why not animals. Animals live, breathe, eat, sleep, feel pain, and suffer as a result. The next time you are about to eat a Snickers or open a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, remember that an animal was tortured and killed so that you could enjoy the product. If you are deeply upset by the idea of animal testing, please boycott a company, like the Mars Corporation, that funds animal testing, write a letter to your local state representative asking for government legislation banning animal testing, or spread the word among friends and family.

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