Animal Vivisection Is Cruel and Inhumane

vivisect

Sarah Jane Hardt

UCLA PROTEST: Animal rights activists carry signs against the practice of animal experiments at UCLA on April 25.

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Julia Orr, Staff Writer
May 29, 2014
Filed under Opinion

Look behind the manicured facade of a whole host of universities in California and you will find a hellhole for animals. Far from inquiring minds and hidden behind high security, animal experimentation laboratories operate at many prestigious institutions.

Whether or not one agrees with vivisection — the practice of cutting into living animals — the fact is, to the animal it is torture. For the animals, it’s on par with the torture suffered by Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison – if not worse. Some of those people got out alive.

Judging by all of the undercover footage of animals enduring experiments, and the horrible treatment they suffer in the laboratories, it is unconscionable that we continue the barbaric practice of vivisection into the 21st Century. We can land a rover on Mars, so it is not beyond our capabilities to replace animal experiments. Alternatives already exist such as in vitro cell cultures, computer simulation, epidemiological studies and the latest “organ on a chip” technology developed by Harvard.

Top universities such as the Universities of California at Berkeley, Irvine, San Francisco, Davis, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Cruz all have extensive animal experimentation laboratories and many have records of repeatedly violating the Animal Welfare Act.

Public opinion on the validity of animal experimentation has been changing recently. Information released by PeTA in February 2014 showed that in a Gallup poll survey, opposition to painful animal experiments has been on the rise in young adults between 18 to 29 years old since 2001.

An astounding 26 million animals are subjected to a variety of experiments every year in the U.S. However, that does not even include mice, rats, birds, reptiles and farm animals that are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act. Those animals are not included in the statistics gathered yearly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the number of animals used in experiments.

Much of the hyperbole about vivisection is based around the animal experimentation industries’ success in marketing — explaining away what they do as a “necessary evil” and that the choice is between “a mouse or your child.” But is it?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) funds a large percentage of animal experiments at universities. It is difficult to calculate exactly how much taxpayer money is spent on these projects. That information is not readily available and it would be necessary to pour through thousands of individual grants to obtain the exact amount, but it runs into the hundreds of millions per year.

UCLA has a long history of controversy over its animal experiments. For just one experiment, the university receives millions of dollars in grant money from the NIH to addict monkeys to methamphetamine in the ridiculous hope of one day finding a cure for addiction. There are so many variables in addiction that the potential of one-pill-fits-all is an effort that could only be considered stupefying.

In 2008, an anti-smoking group exposed UCLA scientists for taking $6 million from the Phillip Morris tobacco company to addict monkeys to nicotine. If anyone does not know this yet, smoking can give you cancer, we do not need more animal tests to tell us that.

UC San Francisco has repeatedly been in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, which is a weak law governing the use of animals in laboratories. The university was fined a staggering $92,500 in 2005 alone for serious violations.

It is unlikely that one branch of the government such as the NIH communicates effectively with another branch, i.e. education, but considering the massive cuts in California’s education budget over the past few years, one has to question why the government is wasting money on funding monkey meth labs to the tune of millions instead of more vital needs.

Nearly 500,000 students were unable to find places in colleges as a result of these cuts. It makes no sense to fund futile animal experiments and not education.

In a statement made in 2013 at a Scientific Management and Review Board, Elias Zerhouni, the ex-NIH Director, said, “We have moved away from studying human disease in humans. We all drank the Kool-Aid on that one, me included.”

It may be, that in the privileged and extremely conservative corridors of the NIH, it is more acceptable to spend millions of dollars funding one of their own, than it is to fund a drug rehab center for the disenfranchised and poor.

There is a huge human cost that largely goes unnoticed. The FDA reports that 92 percent of drugs tested in animals fail in humans. Adverse drug reactions cause the deaths of more then 100,000 people in the U.S annually. All of these drugs that have been tested in animals.

The demigods in white coats have been allowed for too long to obfuscate the truth and emotionally blackmail the public into believing that animal experiments are unquestionably good for the benefit of humankind.

The fact is that more and more we are discovering this isn’t true, and you cannot extrapolate information from one species to another. It simply doesn’t work.

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