Animal experimentation is a scandal that has been hidden from the
American public. We have been lead to believe that the animals used in
experiments are well treated and that the procedures performed on these
animals are thoroughly regulated and governed by federal laws. Nothing
could be further from the truth.
Over 90% of the animals used in experimentation are purposely excluded
from protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA -- the only federal
law that governs animal experimentation). Rats, mice, birds, and many
other species have been expressly eliminated from all safeguards.
The AWA places no real restrictions on what can be done to an animal
during an experiment. Animals are routinely subjected to addictive
drugs, electric shock, food & water deprivation, isolation, severe
confinement, caustic chemicals, burning, blinding, chemical and
biological weapons, radiation, etc. The "scientist" in question only has
to say that a specific procedure is "necessary" for the experiment, and
it is allowed. The goal is not to protect the animal; the goal is to
insure that the experiment proceeds -- at any cost.
The National Death Toll
Recent (fiscal 2002) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
statistics list a total of 1,136,841 primates, dogs, cats, rabbits,
guinea pigs, hamsters, and other species as being subjected to
experimental procedures. The species by species listings include:
72,037 dogs 69,990 primates
65,615 pigs 236,511 rabbits
22,687 cats 172,498 hamsters
31,106 other farm animals 13,240 sheep
136,509 other animals 207,257 guinea pigs
However, this total is likely far from accurate. At no time have all
laboratories in the U.S. reported their experimental totals. The total
of non-reporting facilities has varied from 22 to 128 (out of
approximately 1200). And since some specific laboratories report using
over 100,000 animals the omission of even 22 reports could be very
The species that are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act (rats, mice,
etc.) are not even counted. Therefore, the total above ignores the
majority of animals experimented upon in the U.S. The real number of
animals experimented on in the U.S. each year is well over 20 million.
Additionally, these statistics do not cover animals that are caged in
laboratories but are being held for conditioning or breeding. For
example, while the USDA reports the use of over 69,990,000 primates, an
almost equal number of primates are imprisoned in breeding colonies.
How does the federal government manage to spend so much money on
animal experiments? Simple, it pays for the same experiment to be done
over and over and over again. 57 projects currently study visual neural
information processing in macaque monkeys, costing over $110 million
every five years. Similar levels of duplication exist in areas such as
drug addiction, psychological experimentation, etc. Even if this
experimentation was worthwhile, why must we pay for it to be done over
and over and over again? Why does this duplication continue?
Simple (again), hundreds of institutions and thousands of individuals
make money from these experiments. The bottom line is that the federal
government currently supports an industry that squanders billions of
dollars, kills tens of millions of animals, and is essentially
unregulated. No experiment, no matter how painful, is illegal.
Where Does the Money Come From?
Many federal agencies fund animal experiments including: the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA),
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP),
Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Office of
Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH). The National Institutes of Health
has been estimated to spend over $12 billion per year on animal
Almost No Legal Protection
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the only law that regulates animal
laboratories in the United States. The AWA is enforced by the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over 90% of the animals used in
experimentation (rats, mice, birds, amphibians, etc.) are not considered
animals by this law, and receive no protection whatsoever. No experiment
is illegal, no matter how painful or cruel.
The existence of the Animal Welfare Act has not protected animals
from abuse in laboratories. At the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical
Research the post-mortem dissection of a baboon was begun before the
animals was dead. At Michigan State University a puppy named Kelly was
allowed to drown in a floor drain and 66 mink died of heat prostration.
Five dogs died at Loyola University in Chicago due to a lack of post
surgical monitoring. A hamster was killed in a cage washing system and
as many as 19 living hamsters were put into a freezer for dead animals
without being properly euthanized at the Bioreliance lab. The hands of
primates were crushed and 32 other primates were killed during a heating
malfunction at a Charles River Laboratories facility. University of
Washington researchers were cited for performing unapproved surgical
procedures on primates. The brain of an un-anesthetized monkey was
subjected to a scraping procedure at Vanderbilt University. Most of
these incidents did not result in any fines or meaningful enforcement
actions by the USDA.
What YOU can do to Fight Animal Experimentation:
1. Read, copy, and distribute this fact sheet.
2. Contact your Senators and Representatives to ask for these things:
A. Extend the protection of law to all species that are the victims
B. Extend the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit:
1. The use of electric shock
2. Food and water deprivation
3. The use of extreme confinement, such as the primate restraint chair
The Honorable ____________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Washington, D.C. 20510
3. Organize public events to expose abuses at facilities in your
area. Use the Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) website:
investigate labs in your area. Contact SAEN for help with investigations
or for event planning.
4. Write to your federal legislators to request a General Accounting
Office (GAO) investigation of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded
5. Send as large a tax-deductible donation as you can afford to Stop
Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) to support this campaign.
Send contributions to:
1081-B St. Rt. 28 PMB 280
Milford, OH 45150
donation will help us to continue fighting for the freedom of these
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