When I wrote the title of this post, I nearly wrote “Please help to stop unnecessary experiments on animals” but, thinking about it, there are NO necessary experiments on animals. Now, I can hear people saying that we need to experiment on animals to beat diseases such as cancer but we have been conducting experiments on animals for decades without finding the cure. (Please don’t think that I’m all for animals because I don’t know anyone who has had cancer – my mother had a brain tumour and died when I was 18.) Animals do not have the same DNA as humans so drugs do not necessarily have the same effect on them as they do on us. Actually, what works for you might not work for me because there are so many variables, including our beliefs and expectations about whether the treatment would be successful or not. There is an interesting article from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine in the USA that includes a section about how non-animal tests are revolutionising the search for cancer cures. It also says that non-animal testing to see if certain chemicals cause cancer can be done in a week (instead of years) and the cost is only approximately 1% of the cost of testing on animals: http://www.pcrm.org/research/resch/reschethics/a-look-at-cancer-research
These days we have sophisticated methods of drug testing such as computer modelling and in vitro testing (plus human volunteers) that mean we do not have to do experiments on animals. Most of these alternative methods are quicker, a lot cheaper and, most importantly, do not harm any animals. To see the different methods available now, please visit PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) site by clicking here: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-to-animal-testing.aspx
There is a list on PETA’s site that shows which charities DO experiment on animals so you can avoid them: http://www.peta.org.uk/features/health-charities-that-do-and-that-dont-test-on-animals/ As it says on the site “If the charity does test on animals, please let them know that you will be donating your money to one which invests all its resources in effective, humane non-animal research instead”. That is a very good idea. If they know that doing experiments on animals is making them lose money it could help to persuade them to change to non-animal research. I’ve also found this site which lists UK charities and says whether they do research on animals or not: http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/campaigns/experiments/all/281/
Cats, dogs, primates, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, birds and fish are all used in various experiments. It is not just for drugs either. Household cleaning products are tested on animals too. Don’t we have enough household cleaning products already? If this torture (because that is what it is so let’s not sanitise it) was being carried out on children it would have been banned long ago but because it is animals who are suffering some people think that is acceptable. Animals feel fear and pain just as we do. This site tells you which brand names test on animals and which do not for cosmetics, toiletries and household products: http://www.nottested.co.uk/
When the Coalition Government took office in 2010, it pledged to work to reduce the number of animals involved in research. Instead that number had increased to over 4 million in 2012. That is for just one year. It’s appalling! We must stop this. My favourite charity is the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection – http://www.buav.org). Their vision is “To create a world where nobody wants or believes we need to experiment on animals”. If you click here http://www.buav.org/find-your-mp and enter your postcode, you will then be taken to a page that names your MP and tells you which Early Day Motions or campaigns your MP has or has not signed up to and provides a template for you to write to them by email (if they have an email address) or you can print the letter off to send to them. It is very easy, just fill in your details. Please take just a couple of minutes to do this. If enough people write to their MPs, hopefully, the Government will take notice and it could make a huge difference to the millions of animals who are suffering.
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