experimentation is a complex issue which involves many factors. Money,
fear, and both individual and institutional prestige are at the very
heart of the status quo which prop up animal laboratories. These things
support the slaughter of millions of animals for allegedly scientific
reasons – but they are not the true foundation of this archaic
practice. The foundation, the basis, the very cornerstone of animal
experimentation is ignorance. Despite federal reporting requirements
and the work of dozens of animal groups to bring out the truth, most
people actually know very little about animal experimentation.
How many animals are in laboratories? No one knows for
sure, but one thing is certain – the USDA does not want the American
people to have the whole picture. Why else would this agency
consistently under-report the numbers of dogs, cats, and non-human
primates in laboratories – often by as much as 50%? Why would the
USDA Animal Welfare Enforcement Report for 2005 list only 440 primates
inside South Carolina labs, when a single facility in that state
actually holds over 5000 monkeys? Why are roughly 2200 monkeys listed
for the entire state of Louisiana when two labs within this state report
housing over 12,000 primates? Why would the USDA, while compiling an
annual report that discusses violations of the Animal Welfare Act,
neglect to mention that for sections of this law that are relevant only
to labs – violations have increased by 90% in a 5-year period?
Why are laboratories allowed to deprive primates of water, confine
them to restraint chairs, bolt devices to their skulls, and still be
permitted by the USDA to report that these animals do not feel any pain
The only conclusion we can draw is
that the USDA is actively disinterested in telling the truth, and as
long as this agency is allowed to perpetuate these myths, animal
experimentation will never change. If the sole federal entity that
regulates laboratories says that only a bit over 7% of all animals in
labs actually experience any pain or distress, then the public will
continue to believe that nothing is wrong. If the public is told that
the cages are clean, the animals are pampered, and science is being
served, then why should they have any questions or doubts of any kind?
The truth is that some of our most prestigious colleges
and universities are also our most criminal laboratories. The truth is
that animals have become pawns in a multi-billion dollar game whose true
goal is institutional and personal wealth.
It is up to all of us to continue to bring the hard facts
out from their hiding places. We must continue to be witnesses to the
reality of what is concealed behind the laboratory door. No need to
exaggerate -- the truth is shocking enough.
While many of our efforts to expose and end animal abuse
in laboratories deal with experimental procedures and other issues like
inadequate veterinary care, the essential dishonesty of most
laboratories in the way that they report animal experimentation must
also be emphasized. Laboratories must not be allowed to continue to
claim that highly invasive procedures do not cause pain or distress,
even though they result in sepsis, tissue necrosis, severe confinement,
and nutritional and/or social deprivation. This essential dishonesty
denies the very nature of the animals involved in the procedures.
Before animal experimentation can be ended, we must, as a
society, open our eyes wide enough to truly see the nature of how
animals suffer inside research facilities. This suffering not only
makes animal experimentation morally reprehensible, but potentially
scientifically invalid as well.
The basis of all that we do at SAEN
is the truth, because the truth is a very powerful weapon. One of our
goals is to force both individual laboratories and federal regulatory
agencies to make that first vitally important step of actually telling
the truth about animal experimentation. In the end this vital truth will
bring freedom to all animals that are imprisoned in laboratories.