The 20th annual World Week for Animals in Laboratories (WWAIL) is currently under way, and people all over the world are coordinating their efforts to put an end to animal testing.
It’s surprising that we still need WWAIL after the Vioxx debacle, which you’d think would have been sufficient proof that animal tests aren’t reliable predictors of human responses. But according to an article in The Arizona Republic, Vioxx is just the tip of the iceberg: “The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that among all new drugs marketed during a 10-year period, 52 percent had seriously toxic or fatal effects that were not predicted by animal experiments.”
The drug companies aren’t the only ones keeping these labs in business. Cosmetics companies continue to use the horrific Draize and LD-50 tests—despite the fact that the FDA doesn’t require animal testing on cosmetics. Known poisons masquerading as antiaging treatments are also tested on animals. According to The Humane Society of the United States:
Imagine that you are one of the animals unfortunate enough to be used in assessing the potency of new batches of Botox Cosmetic. A popular anti-wrinkle treatment, Botox Cosmetic’s active ingredient—Botulinum toxin—is one of the most poisonous of known substances. First, the toxic substance or the full product is injected into your stomach. Then, as it courses through your bloodstream, the toxin causes nausea and then brings on a wave of muscle paralysis that spreads throughout your body. Finally, over the course of the three-to-four day test, you suffocate to death.
As much as we don’t want to face aging, we apparently don’t want to take responsibility for our weight, either. Instead of advocating exercise and adoption of a healthy vegan diet, which would also benefit the planet, researchers are now looking to blame obesity on a virus. Human adenoviruses Ad-5 and Ad-36 haven been shown to cause obesity in animals, and chickens are now being exposed to Ad-37 to determine if that is also a factor.
Sadly, despite the ever-growing number of viable and accurate alternatives, the case for animal testing continues to be made. The People’s Petition, for example, has been signed by more than 12,000 people in Britain so far. On the bright side, the European Union has just approved six new methods that would reduce the need for animal testing of certain cosmetic ingredients, and REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) calls for cessation of all animal testing on personal care products in the EU within the next two to three years.
Here in the United States, groups like In Defense of Animals, PCRM, the National Anti-Vivisection Society and the American Anti-Vivisection Society are working to end animal testing. Just this week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for several major companies to commit to reducing and replacing animal tests.
Exert your own influence by refusing to open your wallet—and tell companies that you’re going to boycott their products until they stop experimenting on animals. Write letters urging your favorite stores to go cruelty-free. And be sure to buy only items that weren’t tested on animals.