Anywhere from 25 to 100 million animals are used every year for different types of research in the U.S. This number is inexact, as governmental labs aren’t required to report the number of rats and mice they test on. Numerous species are used, including mice, cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and chimpanzees. There are 65,000 dogs and 250,000 rabbits used every year.
The AWA (Animal Welfare Act) is the only federal law that covers lab research animals. It offers only minimal protection to some species, while totally excluding mice, rats, birds, cold-blooded animals such as fish and reptiles, and most farm animals. The remaining 10% of animals in labs who are “protected” are still only offered the bare minimum in terms of housing, feeding and care.
What a lot of people don’t know is that a large percentage of research done by drug companies and infectious disease labs have not been applicable to humans. There are countless examples of drugs being deemed safe for humans due to animal trials and then go on to cause horrific birth defects, heart attacks, strokes and death once prescribed to people.
Animals are simply poor models for human disease research. Studying disease in animals and extrapolating results to humans often leads to inadequate or incorrect information. This is because they are obviously genetically different, and therefore have different metabolic and cellular reactions to the same diseases. Nonhuman animals simply do not react the same way to various drugs or diseases as humans do. Add to that, the artificial environment and the pain and stress the animals endure, make their test results even more unreliable.
Today, there are numerous scientific methods which don’t use animals that can and should be used in place of the barbaric use and death of so many innocent creatures. Methods that actually are more reliable and relevant to humans, faster and more cost-effective.