Animal cruelty Essay

This essay has a total of 2130 words and 10 pages.

Animal cruelty



Jeff Albrecht
Joseph Aimone
Writing and Rhetoric
13 December 2000
Animal Cruelty
One of the most touchy aspects of our relationship with animals is the use of animals in
laboratory sciences. Some manufactures of cosmetics and household products still conduct
painful and useless tests on live animals, even though no law requires them not to. Some
people, called anti-vivisectionists, are at one extreme in their concern. They want an
abolition of all experiments on live animals. At the other extreme there are those who say
that it is quite all right for us to do whatever we like to animals. They say that God
gave us such a right, since it is written in the bible (Genesis 1:26) that man has
dominion over all creatures. If these tests give some educational value, adds to
scientific knowledge, or can help improve human health, they argue that it is worth
killing animals or subjecting them to painful experiments. I believe that the unnecessary
testing of animals is inhumane and unethical when alternative methods



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are available.
The anti-vivisectionists say we should not allow experiments on animals and the animal
utilitarians, or vivisectionists, claim that we can do anything to animals if it is for
the ultimate good of humanity. Perhaps they are both wrong. Much can be learned from
treating animals that are already sick or injured in testing new life-saving drugs and
surgical techniques. Animals, as well as people benefit from new discoveries. But is it
right to take perfectly healthy animals and harm them to find cures for human illnesses,
many of which we bring on ourselves by poisoning the environment, eating the wrong kinds
of foods, and by not adopting a healthy active life-style?

Do people have the right to do what ever they like to perfectly healthy animals? Do we
have the right to continue doing experiments over and over again in a needless repetition
and a waste of animals if no new information is going to be gained? Animals suffer
unnecessarily and their lives are pointlessly wasted. If the issue were simple, animal
experimentation might never have become so controversial.

Each year in the United States an estimated 20-70
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million animals-from cats, dogs and primates, to rabbits, rats and mice-suffer and die in
the name of research. Animal tests for the safety of cosmetics, household products and
chemicals are the least justifiable. Animals have doses of shampoo, hair spray, and
deodorant dripped into their eyes or applied to bare skin in attempts to measure eye and
skin irritancy levels. Other are force-fed massive quantities of toxic materials such as
bleach or soap, in a hit-and-miss attempt to measure levels of toxicity. Since 1938, The
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that each ingredient in a cosmetic be
"adequately substantiated for safety" prior to being made available to the consumer.
However, neither the FDA nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( a regulatory agency
that oversees product safety, consumer complaints, etc.) requires firms to conduct animal
testing of any cosmetic product. Cosmetic companies use animal tests to insure themselves
against possible consumer lawsuits. If sued for liability, they can protect themselves by
arguing that the cosmetic was "adequately tested for safety" with tests standard in the
cosmetic industry. How placing a piece of lipstick in the eye of a rabbit to determine if
it is safe


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for the consumer, boggles my mind. If someone placed a piece of lipstick in my eye, I do
believe it would irritate my eye also. How in the name of God does this test prove it is
safe for the consumer? I don't believe lipstick is gong to be used in the eye area, unless
you are an illiterate that canít read directions.

The Draize Eye-Irritancy Test was designed to assess a substance's potential harmfulness
to human eyes based on its effects on rabbits' eyes. This test was developed in the early
1940s by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This test is typically performed on six
rabbits per substance tested. Technicians restrain each rabbit and place a measured amount
of the test substance in the lower lid of one eye. Usually no anesthetics are given. the
rabbits eyes are than examined at different intervals. If severe injury has resulted, the
rabbits may be observed for signs of recovery for as long as twenty-one days. Technicians
record signs of damage, such as redness and swelling of the conjunctiva (the sac covering
the eyeball), inflammation of the iris, and clouding of the cornea. Using a standardized
scoring scheme, the degrees of damage to the conjunctivia, iris, and cornea are compared
to graded


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levels of irritations. Scores for each of these parameters are than totaled. Based on the
total Draize score and the symptoms' duration, the test chemical is classified by the
degree of irritation it causes: none, mild, moderate, or severe. At best, the Draize test
yields a crude measure of a substance's irritancy; it is not designed to yield information
about possible treatments or antidotes. the Draize is inhumane. Substances such as oven
cleaners and paint removers cause obvious pain and suffering. Also, because animal and
humans differ in medically important ways, results from the Draize test do not necessarily
apply to humans. Rabbit eyes differ significantly from human eyes: rabbits possess a
nictitating membrane (a third eyelid) and have a slower blink reflex, a less effective
tearing mechanism and a thinner cornea than humans. These differences make rabbit eyes
more sensitive than human eyes


to some chemicals and less sensitive to others. The test is unreliable. Several
laboratories may perform the test on the same chemicals and report different results.
Manufactures argue that they conduct the Draize test to protect the public from unsafe
products. Since 1986


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legislation has been introduced in several states to limit or ban the Draize test for
particular products (especially cosmetics), but no bill has yet passed.

Another test I like to address is the Lethal Dose 50 Percent (L50) test. This test is a
procedure that exposed animals to a particular chemical in order to yield an estimate of
how poisonous that chemical would be to human beings. Substances tested can include drugs,
cosmetics, household products, industrial chemicals, pesticides and the individual
ingredients of any of these products. The test procedure requires between 60 to 100
animals to determine what constitutes a lethal dose of a particular substance. The test
spans a time period from two weeks to sever years, depending on the amount of toxic
chemicals in the product being tested. The animals are observed daily. Since chemicals are
bitter-tasting and have an unpleasant smell, animals refuse to swallow them. The animals
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