I first got involved in the vegetarian movement when I was 15. I was the first, and only, person in my family to become a vegetarian. As I was getting to know myself as a veggie, I did a little reading about the treatment of animals. I learned that some of the products I used sometimes on a daily basis were tested on animals. Sometimes those animals even included cats and dogs. It wasn't until I got to college that I really got into animal rights/welfare. I joined an online community called Care2, through which I learned even more about how horrible labs are and just how severely mistreated lab animals are. I decided then that I was going to become a vegan and do even small things I could to help. Anyway, to make a long story short, I want to share with you a little bit about what I've learned about animals in labs and just how they are treated.
In case you don't know, this week is World Week for Animals in Laboratories. There is a great website called WWAIL that is working this week to share as much information as they can about what goes on behind the closed doors of labs. A couple of things I've learned from their site and from Vivisection Info is that there is really no way to know how many animals are used world wide for animal testing because federal law does not require companies to state how many rats, mice and cold blooded animals they use. The estimate lies somewhere between 20 and 70 million. Some of the statics they do know are:
* In the US, 28 million warm-blooded vertebrate animals are used every year in labs for testing. 18 million of those animals are killed every year. To compare that to a few other countries, in England the number is 2.51 million, in Canada it's 1.66 million and in the Netherlands it's 0.73 million.
* Some of the animals used for testing include dogs, cats, primates (usually monkeys), hamsters, gerbils and rabbits.
* Even though an act exists called the Animal Welfare Act, it does nothing to control how animals are treated while in the lab. All it controls is how animals are cared for before and after testing.
Some of the tests that are done on animals include:
* Eye irritancy test: This is when a liquid, granule or flake is place in the eyes of an animal, usually a rabbit. The animal is kept in a cage with extremely limited mobility and usually receives no anesthesia.
* Acute Toxicity Test: These are also commonly referred to as poisoning tests, where scientists test a product to see how much it takes to kill up to 100% of a group of test animals.
You can learn more about both of these types of tests here.
There are many companies that test on animals, either at the beginning, end of, or throughout the entire process of making their products. These companies include but are not limited to:
* Proctor and Gamble
* 3M (The makers of Post It's)
* Aveeno (By Johnson and Johnson)
* Arm and Hammer
* Unilever (The makers of Suave products)
A full list of companies that do test on animals can be found here.
Luckily, there are also many companies that don't test on animals. They include:
* Abercrombie and Fitch
* Afterglow Cosmetics
* Arbonne International
* Bonne Bell
* Candles with a Cause
A good bet is to look for the Leaping Bunny. They have strict standards that companies must adhere to in order to get a leaping bunny on there product. There is also a full list here of companies that don't test on animals.
I hope you find all the information here useful to live a cruelty free lifestyle. Remember to do your research and check all the labels before you buy!