Animal Suffering for Human Benefit

Several million animals suffer and perish in animal experiments carried out worldwide. Animals used in experiments practically always serve as test models for humans; in other words, the research insights won are put to use for human benefit. Animals must suffer as research and test subjects for practically all fields of our life.


Figures in Switzerland

For the past 26 years, the number of test animals has been recorded in the animal experiments statistics. The total number of animals used in experiments amounted to close to 2 million in 1983. In the year 2000, this figure reached an all-time low of approx. 566,000; prior to rising to somewhat over 726,000 in the year 2007. Mice and rats accounted for the lion’s share in 2007 (79% of all test animals). Many people do not feel much compassion for these two rodent species. Test animals, however, suffer irrespective of whether they are dogs or mice.


From cancer research to cleaning agent

Animal experiments can be classified into more or less clear categories. The main fields being:

  • Basic research, requiring the most animal experiments. The experiments aim at winning insight and gaining understanding for biological processes. Contrary to applied sciences, however, it remains unclear whether this knowledge will truly serve humans and animals or not. Primarily, such research is carried out with mice and rats but also with other rodents as well as with rabbits, dogs, cats, amphibians, birds, farm animals, and monkeys.
    Example: In rats, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted for a short time in order to examine the impact.
  • The discovery, development, and quality assurance of drugs and other treatment methods are a further research field in which a horrendous number of test animals are used. Once again, experiments are mainly carried out with mice and rats but also with guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, and monkeys.
    Example: Tumors are implanted into mice that are then treated with a new cancer medication in order to study its efficacy.
  • Toxicology (the protection of humans, animals and the environment) involves testing the toxicity of substances. The law dictates that all new chemicals must be tested with regard to any possible harmful impact. Cleaning agents are tested just as Botox. Every year, a huge number of rats, guinea pigs, cats and dogs as well as fish are sacrified.
    Example: Different dosages of a certain substance are injected into the stomach of a mouse via a tube. The dosage at which 50% of the mice die is then determined. This procedure is referred to as LD50.
  • Test animals are also used in bio-medical training and further vocational training, i.e. to practice dissecting or other surgical skills. Depending on the training goals, different test animals are used.
    Example: In surgical training, students practice operating on pigs.

Susceptible to suffering

© Sergey Lavrentev / fotolia.com

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