Raise the requirements for animals used for testing
Raise the requirements for animals used for testing
Sadie Schnierow and Riley Weiss
Every day millions of animals are kept in unfitting environments to be tested on. These animals are kept in cages that are too small and in harsh and unnatural environments. They watch their families go through dangerous and often deadly testing and then go through it themselves. Furthermore, this testing is often inaccurate for multiple reasons, making it somewhat unnecessary. Testing laboratories are great in number and have low standards that need to be dramatically raised. Unfortunately, results and efficiency are put before the animals’ welfare in many research laboratories. Animal testing takes place all over America with a whopping number of research facilities numbering over 1,000 that are rarely inspected. With animal testing on such a large scale and with such low standards, the standards need to be raised.
The AWA itself was put forth by the secretary of agriculture and has over time been amended to include a larger range of animal testing subjects. It is the only federal act that discusses animals used in research and was passed in 1966, a long time ago. Despite this lack of government action, there are still federal and non-federal organizations trying to fight for higher standards. The AWA is upheld by two main committees; the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Other committees or organizations like the Committee on Animal Research, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees, and PETA also contribute to taking action on the subject of animal testing.
In the USDA’s annual report, it was found that 76,000 animals used by researchers are hurt while they are being used. These results are trying to be avoided by using IACUCs. Any licensed facilities are required to have an “Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee” (IACUC) which oversees the care and use of animals within that facility. IACUCs are required to have a minimum of three members made up of a vet from the facility and someone not connected to the facility in order to represent the “general community” Facilities using vertebrates for testing that are funded by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), are responsible for following the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the PHS Policy).
The standards set to “protect” animals are set very low to not interfere with scientific research. In fact, it is not even required to give animals pain-relievers after the torture that is done to them. The animals that the US uses for “science” can be electrocuted, blinded, poisoned, or even cut up alive. Our current laws in the US allow researchers to burn, shock, poison, isolate, starve, drown, brain-damage and addict animals to drugs.
Currently, standards are set by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA. The AWA is rather alone in setting these regulations and rules. There are just 2 official government committees covering this topic and no other laws or acts setting standards. The standards set by the AWA are as such: First, you are not able to use animals for the creation or testing of biological cures or treatments unless you have a proper warrant. However, this only applies to living organisms classified as animals under the “Animals Experiment Regulations,” in the AWA. This shockingly does not include rats, mice, fish, amphibians and some birds. The act was later amended in 2002, but still purposely excluded farm animals, mice, birds, and amphibians.
There was another amendment added in 1985 which introduced a minimum standard of treatment towards lab subjects. Research facilities were required to create an Animal Care committee including a member of the public to secure the minimum living standard. These standards included institutional approval as well as proper handlers for the animals. Although once again, facilities that tested on animals excluded from the Animals Experiments Regulations, were not restrained by these requirements.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was put forth by the secretary of agriculture originally to set up dog and cat licensing and create registration for laboratory research facilities. It was not put forth in order to conduct how animals are used in laboratories, but rather to set standards about their living standards and how they have been obtained. Breeding facilities and animal dealers were kept track of and needed proper licensing. It was also implemented in order to establish an inspection system, but the current system is rather slow and ineffective. Currently, there are 70 inspectors to complete the inspection of around 1,000 facilities. Furthermore, 4,000 separate inspections need to be conducted by the same 70 inspectors making this system unreliable and ineffective.
It was mentioned earlier that biological testing on animals can often be inaccurate, one of the main reasons for this is because of animal stress, which isn’t good for the animals or for humanity. According to scientist Dr. Jarrod Bailey, animal stress can be a result of unnatural environments, prevention of natural behavior, and exposing them to dangerous and experimental products. If an animal is highly stressed during an experiment, the test results may not be accurate or valid. This means that biological products that are successfully tested on animals, may not be suited for human use and can have dangerous consequences. The standards set to “protect” animals are set very low to not interfere with scientific research. In fact, it is not even required to give animals pain-relievers after the torture that is done to them such as being electrocuted, blinded, poisoned, or even cut up alive. Our current laws in the US allow researchers to burn, shock, poison, isolate, starve, drown, brain-damage and addict animals to drugs.