Just a quick but timely post. The New York Times has recently published a stunning article about some of the concerns regarding animal welfare at U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Nebraska. What these animals have had to go through in the name or productivity is repulsive and arguably, not justifiable. Take a read regardless of where you stand on the issue and if you feel that the reports are unacceptable, consider signing this petition from the Humane Society of the United States to halt research at the facility.
Also, if it interests you, check out HSUS’s “State of Animal Union”, a parallel to the President Barack Obama’s recent “State of the Union”.
I wanted to follow up from a post from this past April regarding World Week for Animals in Laboratories. In that post I discussed the millions of animals, hidden from our sight, who are subjected to product and medical testing.
Animal testing is a difficult subject which has evoked fierce debate over how to balance important medical research with the well-being of laboratory animals. In his book Animal Rights Without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations (2012), Alasdair Cochrane distinguishes between therapeutic and non-therapuetic testing. Therapuetic testing is designed to save human lives and cure life-threatening ailments. This type of testing hasn’t been considered as controversial by the general public, but animal rights advocates have discussed the extent to which such research should be carried out and if it is always the best way to make discoveries about human medicine. Non-therapuetic research, on the other hand, consists of testing for the sake of creating knowledge and is not intended to directly prevent human suffering. A lot of testing in cosmetics and cleaning products falls into this category. Awareness of this issue and rising public concern has resulted in bans in the European Union and Isreal. The US House of Representatives is now considering such a ban, particularly aimed at cosmetic animal testing and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. However, to be introduced, your help is needed! Click here to be linked to the Humane Society of the United State’s page on the proposed bill and consider supporting it by contacting your representative!
In the meantime, consider cruelty free cosmetics and products! One company that comes to mind that is widely available and with a large variety of products is Lush Cosmetics.
Cochrane, Alasdair (2012). Animal Rights without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations. Columbia University Press: New York.
A recent report made by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) brought to light unnecessary animal testing done by major food corporations, such as Nestlé, Unilever, and Danone/Dannon. Nestlé defended saying that animal testing is only used for “medical foods”. Health claims on food items are strictly regulated by the FDA and need to be supported by high-ranking scientific studies. However, this still includes the use of animal testing even though reliable existing human data is available. Dr. Katy Taylor, head of science at BUAV, states, “There is a thin line between medical and regular foods anyway – Nestlé was testing goji berries – that is a regular food isn’t it?”
Dr. Taylor further states that organizations like the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) prefer human data, which exists extensively on the market. “The motivation to do this for most companies is financial – it is cheaper [than using human data] and less hassle to conduct animal trials.” Per the BUAV website, ” Not only do animals suffer the painful effects of conditions… but such animal ‘models’ are poor representations of complex and long-running human conditions”.
Types of animal testing done by the various companies included