Animal Cruelty

Jeff Albrecht
Joseph Aimone
Writing and Rhetoric
13 December 2000
Animal Cruelty
One of the most touchy aspects of our relationship with animals is the use of animals in laboratory sciences. Some manufactures of cosmetics and household products still conduct painful and useless tests on live animals, even though no law requires them not to. Some people, called anti-vivisectionists, are at one extreme in their concern. They want an abolition of all experiments on live animals. At the other extreme there are those who say that it is quite all right for us to do whatever we like to animals. They say that God gave us such a right, since it is written in the bible (Genesis 1:26) that man has dominion over all creatures. If these tests give some educational value, adds to scientific knowledge, or can help improve human health, they argue that it is worth killing animals or subjecting them to painful experiments. I believe that the unnecessary testing of animals is inhumane and unethical when alternative methods
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are available.
The anti-vivisectionists say we should not allow experiments on animals and the animal utilitarians, or vivisectionists, claim that we can do anything to animals if it is for the ultimate good of humanity. Perhaps they are both wrong. Much can be learned from treating animals that are already sick or injured in testing new life-saving drugs and surgical techniques. Animals, as well as people benefit from new discoveries. But is it right to take perfectly healthy animals and harm them to find cures for human illnesses, many of which we bring on ourselves by poisoning the environment, eating the wrong kinds of foods, and by not adopting a healthy active life-style?
Do people have the right to do what ever they like to perfectly healthy animals? Do we have the right to continue doing experiments over and over again in a needless repetition and a waste of animals if no new information is going to be gained? Animals suffer unnecessarily and their lives are pointlessly wasted. If the issue were simple, animal experimentation might never have become so controversial.
Each year in the United States an estimated 20-70
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million animals-from cats, dogs and primates, to rabbits, rats and mice-suffer and die in the name of research. Animal tests for the safety of cosmetics, household products and chemicals are the least justifiable. Animals have doses of shampoo, hair spray, and deodorant dripped into their eyes or applied to bare skin in attempts to measure eye and skin irritancy levels. Other are force-fed massive quantities of toxic materials such as bleach or soap, in a hit-and-miss attempt to measure levels of toxicity. Since 1938, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that each ingredient in a cosmetic be adequately substantiated for safety prior to being made available to the consumer. However, neither the FDA nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( a regulatory agency that oversees product safety, consumer complaints, etc.) requires firms to conduct animal testing of any cosmetic product. Cosmetic companies use animal tests to insure themselves against possible consumer lawsuits. If sued for liability, they can protect themselves by arguing that the cosmetic was adequately tested for safety with tests standard in the cosmetic industry. How placing a piece of lipstick in the eye of a rabbit to determine if it is safe
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for the consumer, boggles my mind. If someone placed a piece of lipstick in my eye, I do believe it would irritate my eye also. How in the name of God does this test prove it is safe for the consumer? I don't believe lipstick is gong to be used in the eye area, unless you are an illiterate that can't read directions.
The Draize Eye-Irritancy Test was designed to assess a substance's potential harmfulness to human eyes based on its effects on rabbits' eyes. This test was developed in the early 1940s by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This test is typically performed on six rabbits per substance tested. Technicians restrain each rabbit and place a measured amount of the test substance in the lower lid of one eye. Usually no anesthetics are given. the rabbits eyes are than examined at different intervals. If severe injury has resulted, the rabbits may be observed