Why are millions of animals still suffering in laboratories? There’s no justifiable reason. Companies don’t need to torture animals in order to test mascara, shampoo, detergent, or other household products. Scientists don’t have to torment monkeys in order to cure a disease. Educators don’t need to buy foetal pigs to teach students physiology. There are easy ways we can help animals suffering in experiments, and together, we can stop animal testing. Here are six ways you can help them:
Always buy cruelty-free products.
Cruelty-free cosmetics and household products abound. If you aren’t sure whether your favourite brands drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes, check out PETA US’ comprehensive database.
Unfortunately, many health charities fund animal testing, often without making it clear to members of the public, who may never realise their donations are paying for cruel and unnecessary experiments on animals. If you’re considering making a donation, be sure to consult the Humane Charities List – an Australian guide to health-related charities that don’t fund or engage in animal research.
Tests on animals very rarely lead to scientific breakthroughs for human illnesses. Taking healthy beings of a completely different species, artificially inducing a condition that they would never normally contract, keeping them in an unnatural and stressful environment, and trying to apply the results to naturally occurring diseases in humans is dubious at best.
Consider switching your superannuation.
Contact your super fund and find out where exactly your money goes. Currently, there are four funds in Australia with policies to help animals – Cruelty Free Super, Australian Ethical, Future Super, and Christian Super.
Cruelty Free Super is the only fund that explicitly states that it doesn’t invest in any animal testing, while Australian Ethical and Future Super both exclude companies that practise animal testing for cosmetics. Christian Super states that it screens companies that continue to conduct animal testing unnecessarily without consideration of the “3Rs” of replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal testing procedures.
Of course, the idea of ethical investments is not without loopholes for downstream investments, but as more customers voice their opposition to animal testing, financial institutions can’t help but listen if they want to keep their business (and money). Get started by sending an e-mail to your current provider and ask whether your fund invests in companies that conduct experiments on animals.
Always speak up about classroom dissection.
Every year, countless animals are dissected in elementary, secondary, and university science classes all across Australia. Each animal who’s cut open and discarded represents not only a life lost but also a part of a long trail of animal abuse and environmental havoc. No state education department in Australia has made dissection compulsory.
Dissection is also not an essential preparation for students who will study medicine or veterinary science, and students are entitled to submit a conscientious objection without penalty.
Humane, more cost-effective, and superior alternatives are available, but perhaps your teacher hasn’t heard of them, so be sure to mention these options.
With PETA US as its major funding partner, SynDaver has created a new, simulated whole-body frog model called SynFrog—a realistic and detailed frog body with removable, anatomically correct organs—that can replace the use of real frogs in classroom dissection exercises. This huge technological advancement will spare millions of animals’ lives each year, improve students’ learning, and eliminate their exposure to toxic chemicals.
Leave your body to science.
Help scientists, doctors, and medical students advance their research and training without hurting animals by arranging to donate your body to science after you die. After all, you won’t have any use for it, and you’ll still be helping animals even after you’re gone.
Loads of Australian universities – including The University of Melbourne, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia, The University of Adelaide, Griffith University, and Australian National University – run body-donor programmes for which you would have to make arrangements ahead of time.
Get on your social media soapbox.
Research shows that many people aren’t even aware that animal experiments are conducted in Australia. Imagine the impact if all your friends and family did everything on this page, too! By sharing this information, you could influence the people around you to help animals suffering in laboratories.
Currently, PETA is campaigning to end the forced swim test – in which experimenters put mice and rats into inescapable containers filled with water and force them to swim for their lives – at universities and pharmaceutical companies. Please sign the action alerts linked to in the previous sentence and then join our Action Team to stay informed about new ways you can help animals: