Stories tagged animal testing

Jun
26
2008

She'll never know a hard day's work in her life: unless you're willing to help her.
She'll never know a hard day's work in her life: unless you're willing to help her.Courtesy PKMousie
Studies have shown that rats that are not subjected to cruel medical tests grow up to be wild, dirty rats. Without a healthy fear of God, so to speak, rats never learn appropriate boundaries, and stroll through life taking for granted the fact that they’ve never had eyeliner blown up their nostrils. For years, pharmaceutical companies and cosmetics developers have done their very best to make sure that rats grow up to be humble, responsible adult rodents.

However, there is a disturbing new trend towards zero-rat (zero animal, in fact) medical testing. Popular Science details a few of these frightening new methods. Episkin, for instance, is lab-grown human skin developed by L’Oréal, which can be used for testing cosmetics. “Can be used,” certainly, but “should”? Hardly. Why volunteer defenseless human skin for painful tests when there’s probably a perfectly good mousey in the next room, just waiting for a little discipline and structure to come into its life?

Another company is developing a “chip” that uses liver enzymes, and various types of cultured cells to test new medications for toxicity in the body. Again, we’re taking jobs away from rats here.

The article also mentions the idea of introducing human subjects earlier in the trial period of a new drug. Tragically removing many animal test subjects from the process, humans are given itty-bitty “microdoses” of a drug, which are then tracked through the body by means of radioactive, non-toxic tracer particles. The activity of the drug is observed and evaluated to see if further tests (on animals) are warranted. But why not just use animals in the first place? It sounds like something they’d enjoy.

The whole thing serves to reemphasize that we have be conscious of where our medicines and cosmetics are coming from. Don’t just assume that they’ve been tested on animals—insist on it. It’s better for us, and for them.