Animal Testing is something we all have an opinion about – we’d be lying if we said we didn’t. Most scientists are for the idea; believing it is the better option to safely test products before they are available to humans. This may be the case, but is it really fair to test on animals if testing on humans is a no-go? The difference being, of course, that animals cannot defend themselves, and hence are seen as easier targets – but how is it fair to decide the fate of defenceless animals? You certainly couldn’t do that to humans. Many others, though, have a very different opinion to scientists, and believe that animal testing in any form needs to be stopped; and rightly so. Thousands are putting their energy into petitions in order to gain attention of governments to make them see sense on this incredibly tender matter.

Recently in the UK, the number of mutant mice has increased, and therefore so has the amount of animal testing. In 2012, 4.11 million experiments took place, an increase of a jaw-dropping 317,200 from the previous year. People see this as okay because mice come in their millions, but where is the logic behind that? Even non-genetically modified animals are being tested, the number having reached 1.68 million in 2012 – still a shockingly high number. Yes, doing this helps to find safe products for human consumption, but is it really okay to deform and kill these animals through testing just because we can?

According to recent figures; rats, mice and fish were the most common animals used in the UK – those that cannot, under any circumstances, defend themselves. That said, there has also been an increase in the number of monkeys used in testing, including macaques and baboons – more relatable to humans. Pledges to stop animal testing and promote better welfare seem to have fallen on deaf ears after the numbers continue to increase.

It is not only UK scientists that think it is acceptable to test on vulnerable animals. One of the most shocking cases of animal testing comes from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, located in the United States. This University tests on cats, ending the lives of over 30 felines a year – and to what avail?

Leaked information about the University suggests that they carry out these tests to gain sufficient fund money from governments. This, then, is not even about finding ways to ‘improve human health’, as would be expected from such brutal testing, but is more focused on the University’s image. These cats are dying for no other reason than to gain a profit. What heartless individuals could do this to such innocent, trusting creatures? One cat in particular, whose tear-inducing story has touched the hearts of many, was named Double Trouble by scientists and was obtained for testing purposes. As a young, friendly ginger kitten, Double Trouble wanted only love and affection from her owners – and what did she get instead? Months of abuse and torture.

The tests on Double Trouble stated off with surgeries on her head and ears – in which scientists drilled a steel frame into her skull, disallowing her from moving during testing. Toxic substances were placed into her inner ears in order to deafen her – leaving her in severe agony and fear – and unable to move away from the pain. Still sore from the procedures, the feline’s ears were then tested by a number of loud sounds being played from different directions, likely to cause even higher levels of discomfort and fright. Depriving her of food before procedures, Double Trouble was not only starving but also completely weak, becoming stressed from the harshness of the operations. Pretty soon, her wounds refused to heal, her face became partially paralysed and her constant shivering and twitching prompted scientists to note on her file that she ‘appeared depressed’ – months after the signs began.

Eventually, scientists decided that Double Trouble was too sick to work on, and the experiments stopped. However, instead of allowing her to gain veterinary treatment, the scientists instead killed her and used her limbs for dissection – and soon began work on the next defenceless animal. Her story is sadly only one of many such experiments at this university, having caused debilitating suffering, illnesses such as depression and chronic infections – and for what?

Cats are friendly and playful household pets, they should not be victims of such vehemence for nothing other than profit, which will inevitably lead scientists to go on and harm even more animals. If you would like to sign the petition in order to stop this from happening, please follow the following link; every little helps. ( http://www.change.org/petitions/university-of-wisconsin-stop-experimenting-on-cats ).

The UK government have reportedly began encouraging scientists to use alternative methods of testing products which do not involve animals, due to increasing public dissatisfaction. Animals or not, they still have feelings – right? Ethical research techniques are being looked into which are set to improve ways of testing, without hurting any living beings in the process. With today’s scientific advancements, it is closed-minded to believe that there is no other way for scientists to check the safety of products. Britain is a world leader in science but also in concern for animal welfare – meaning that now everything possible is being done to ensure that the number of animals tested on at least decreases, if not being completely erased. Although differences are being made in Britain, only time will tell whether or not places such as the Wisconsin-Madison University will follow suit. I hope, for their sakes, that they do. And soon.

 

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26058058

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23325821