Question 77: What is wrong with experimentation on animals?

The claimed large gains from using animals in research makes the practice
the most significant challenge to AR philosophy. While it is easy to dismiss
meat production as a trivial indulgence of the taste buds, such a dismissal
is not so easily accomplished for animal research.

First, a definition. We refer to as "vivisection" any use of animals in
science or research that exploits and harms them. This definition acknowledges
that there is some research using animals that is morally acceptable under AR
philosophy (see question #80).
The case against vivisection is built upon three planks. They are:
PLANK A. Vivisection is immoral and should be abolished.
PLANK B. Abolition of vivisection is not antiscience or antiresearch.
PLANK C. The consequences of abolition are acceptable.

It is easy to misunderstand the AR philosophy regarding vivisection. Often,
scientists will debate endlessly about the scientific validity of research,
and sometimes AR people engage in those debates. Such issues are part of
PLANK C, which asserts that much research is misleading, wrong, or misguided.
However, the key to the AR position is PLANK A, which asserts an objection to vivisection on ethical grounds. We seek to reassure people about the effects abolition will have on future medical progress via B and C.
In the material that follows, each piece of text is identified with a
preceding tag such as [PLANK A]. The idea is to show how the text fragments fit into the overall case. There is some overlap between PLANKs B and C, so the assignment may look arbitrary in a few cases.

Over 100 million animals are used in experiments worldwide every year.
A few of the more egregious examples of vivisection may be enlightening for
the uninformed (taken from R. Ryder's "Victims of Science"):
* Psychologists gave electric shocks to the feet of 1042 mice. They
then caused convulsions by giving more intense shocks through
cup-shaped electrodes applied to the animals' eyes or through spring
clips attached to their ears.
* In Japan, starved rats with electrodes in their necks and electrodes
in their eyeballs were forced to run in treadmills for four hours at
a time.
* A group of 64 monkeys was addicted to drugs by automatic injection in their jugular veins. When the supply of drugs was abruptly withdrawn,
some of the monkeys were observed to die in convulsions. Before dying,
some monkeys plucked out all their hair or bit off their own fingers
and toes.

Basic ethical objections to this type of "science" are presented here
and in questions #79 and #85. Some technical objections are found in
questions #78 and #80. Question #92 contains a list of books on vivisection;
refer to them for further examples of the excesses of vivisection, as well
as more detailed discussion of its technical merits.

VIVISECTION TREATS ANIMALS AS TOOLS. Vivisection effectively reduces sentient beings to the status of disposable tools, to be used and discarded for the benefit of others. This forgets that each animal has an inherent value, a value that does not rise and fall depending on the interests of
others. Those doubting this should ponder the implications of their views
for humans: would they support the breeding of human slaves for the exclusive
use of experimenters?

VIVISECTION IS SPECIESIST. Most animal experimenters would not use
nonconsenting humans in invasive research. In making this concession, they
reveal the importance they attach to species membership, a biological line
that is as morally relevant as that of race or gender, that is, not relevant
at all.

VIVISECTION DEMEANS SCIENCE. Its barbaric practices are an insult to those who feel that science should provide humans with the opportunity to rise above the harsher laws of nature.
The words of Tom Regan summarize the feelings of many AR activists: "The
laudatory achievements of science, including the many genuine benefits
obtained for both humans and animals, do not justify the unjust means used
to secure them. As in other cases, so in the present one, the rights view
does not call for the cessation of scientific research. Such research
should go on--but not at the expense of laboratory animals."

Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and
are called medical research.
George Bernard Shaw (playwright, Nobel 1925)

Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that a man is at
present committing against God and his fair creation.
Mahatma Gandhi (statesman and philosopher)

What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the
right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many,
there will be no limit for their cruelty.
Leo Tolstoy (author)

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that
are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts
upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and
it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking
Mark Twain (author)
see also
question 78-82, 85-86

Question 78: Do AR people accept that vivisection has led to valuable medical advances?

AR advocates generally believe that vivisection has played a contributing,
if not necessarily essential, role in some valuable medical advances.
However, AR philosophy asserts that the end does not justify the means, and
that therefore the answer cannot decide the legitimacy of the stance against

That said, many people, including former vivisectors and medical historians,
will readily state that there is ample scientific and historical evidence
showing that most vivisection is futile, and often harmful to those it
pretends to serve.

On statistical grounds, vivisection does not deliver: despite the use of
144,000,000 animals in Britain since 1950, life-expectancy in Britain for the
middle-aged has not changed since this date. Some 85 percent of the lab
animals killed between the 1890s and the 1990s died after 1950, but the fall
in death rate during these 100 years was 92 percent complete by 1950.
Consider, for a specific example, these figures for cancer:


Cancer type 1971-1975 1976-1980 % change
Lung, Trachea
+ 4.2
+ 5.9
+ 12.4
- 6.7
+ 2.9
+ 3.1

*data for women excised for space reasons

Gains in the war against cancer are sadly lacking, despite the vast numbers of
animals sacrificed for cancer research.
When such analyses are performed across the spectrum of health issues, it
becomes clear that, at best, the contribution of vivisection to our health
must be considered quite modest. The dramatic declines in death rates for old
killer diseases, such as, tuberculosis, pneumonia, typhoid, whooping cough,
and cholera, came from improvements in housing, in working conditions, in the
quantity and quality of food and water supplies, and in hygiene. Chemotherapy
and immunization cannot logically be given much credit here, since they only
became available, chronologically, after most of the declines were achieved.

Consider the particular example of penicillin: it was discovered accidentally by Fleming in 1928. He tested on rabbits, and when they failed to react (we now know that they excrete penicillin rapidly), he lost interest in his substance. Still, two scientists followed up on his work, successfully tried on mice and stated:
"...mice were tried in the initial toxicity tests because of their small
size, but what a lucky chance it was, for in this respect man is like the
mouse and not the guinea pig. If we had used guinea pigs exclusively we
should have said that the penicillin was toxic, and we probably should not have proceeded to try to overcome the difficulties of producing the
substance for trial in man."

Vivisection generally fails because:
* Human medicine cannot be based on veterinary medicine. This is because animals are different histologically, anatomically, genetically,
immunologically, and physiologically.
* Animals and humans react differently to substances. For example, some drugs are carcinogenic in humans but not in animals, or vice-versa.
* Naturally occurring diseases (e.g., in patients) and artificially
induced diseases (e.g., in lab animals) often differ substantially.

All this manifests itself in examples such as the one below:


(i.e., causes birth defects)
aspirin rats, mice, monkeys,
guinea pigs, cats, dogs
aminopterin humans monkeys
azathioprine rabbits rats
caffeine rats, mice rabbits
cortisone mice, rabbits rats
thalidomide humans rats, mice, hamsters
triamcilanone mice humans

There are countless examples, old and recent, of the misleading effects
of vivisection, and there are countless statements from reputable scientists
who see vivisection for what it is: bad science. Following are just a few of

The uselessness of most of the animal models is less well-known. For
example, the discovery of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of human cancer is widely heralded as a triumph due to use of animal model systems.
However, here again, these exaggerated claims are coming from or are endorsed by the same people who get the federal dollars for animal research. There is little, if any, factual evidence that would support these claims. Indeed while conflicting animal results have often delayed and hampered advances in the war on cancer, they have never produced a single substantial advance in the prevention or treatment of human cancer. For instance, practically all of the chemotherapeutic agents which are of value in the treatment of human cancer were found in a clinical context rather than in animal studies.
Dr. Irwin Bross
1981 Congressional testimony

Indeed even while these [clinical] studies were starting, warning voices
were suggesting that data from research on animals could not be used to
develop a treatment for human tumors.
British Medical Journal, 1982

Vivisection is barbaric, useless, and a hindrance to scientific progress.
Dr. Werner Hartinger
Chief Surgeon, West Germany, 1988

...many vivisectors still claim that what they do helps save human lives.
They are lying. The truth is that animal experiments kill people, and animal
researchers are responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women and
children every year.
Dr. Vernon Coleman
Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, UK

Question 79:
How can you justify losing medical advances that would save human lives by stopping vivisection?

The same way we justify not performing forcible research on unwilling
humans! A lot of even more relevant information is currently foregone
owing to our strictures against human experimentation. If life-saving
medical advances are to be sought at all cost, why should nonhuman animals
be singled out for ill-treatment? We must accept that there is such a
thing as "ill-gotten gains", and that the potential fruits of vivisection
qualify as such.

This question might be regarded as a veiled insult to the creativity
and resourcefulness of scientists. Although humans have never set foot on
Pluto, scientists have still garnered a lot of valuable scientific information concerning it. Why couldn't such feats of ingenuity be repeated
in other fields?

Forcible experimentation on humans is not the only alternative. Many
humans would be glad to participate in experiments that offer the hope of
a cure for their afflictions, or for the afflictions of others. If
individual choice were allowed, there might be no need for animal
experimentation. The stumbling block is government regulations that forbid
these choices. Similarly, government regulations are the reason many
animals are sacrificed for product testing, often unnecessarily.
see also
question 77-78, 80-82, 85-86

Question 80: Aren't there instances where there are no alternatives to the use of animals?

The reply to the question here is succinct: "If so, so what?". Let us recall
that we are happy enough (today) to forego knowledge that would be acquired
at the expense of commandeering humans into service, and that we include
children, the mentally diminished and even people suffering from types of
disease for which animal models are unsatisfactory (such as AIDS). That is,
a prior ethical decision was made that rules them out from experimentation,
and that foregoes any potential knowledge so derived.

Now the Animal Rights argument is consistent: since no morally relevant
difference can be produced that separates humans spared experimentation from
test animals (those that are subjects-of-a-life), vivisection is exposed as
immoral, and the practice must be abandoned.

Just as the insights offered by the Nazis' experiments on concentration
camp prisoners were morally illicit, so are any and all benefits traceable to
vivisection. As Tom Regan put it:
"Since, whatever our gains, they are ill-gotten, we must bring an end to
[such] research, whatever our losses."

The argument above makes the search for alternatives morally imperative, and
if it is objected that this "just isn't possible", one should reply that
belittling the ingenuity of scientists will not do. There have been cases
where alternatives to vivisection had to be sought, and - of course - they were
found. For example, Sharpe writes in The Human Cost of Animal Experimentation:
"Historically, a classic example is the conquest of yellow fever. In 1900, no
animal was known to be susceptible, prompting studies with human volunteers which proved that mosquitoes did indeed transmit the disease. These observations led to improved sanitation and quarantine measures in Havana where yellow fever, once rife, was eradicated."

We now cite a few alternatives to animal models of human diseases. Two
traditional types are:
a) Clinical studies: these are essential for a thorough understanding of any disease. Anesthetics, artificial respiration, the stethoscope, electrocardiographs, blood pressure measurements, etc., resulted from careful clinical studies.
b) Epidemiology studies: i.e., the study of diseases of whole populations. They, and not animal tests, have identified most of the substances known to cause cancer in humans. Typical example: Why is cancer of the colon so frequent in Europe and North America, infrequent in Japan, but common in Japanese immigrants to North America? More recent technological advances now allow a host of other investigative methods to be applied, including:
* Tissue cultures: Human cells and tissues can be kept alive in cultures
and used for biomedical research. Since human material is used,
extrapolation problems are short-circuited. Such cultures have been
used in cancer research by FDA scientists, for example, and according
to them: "[they] offer the possibility of studying not only the biology
of cancer cell growth and invasion into normal human tissue, but also
provide a method for evaluating the effects of a variety of potentially
important antitumor agents."
* Physico-chemical methods: For example, liquid chromatographs and mass
spectrophotometers allow researchers to identify substances in
biological substances. For example, a bioassay for vitamin D used to
involve inducing rickets in rats and feeding them vitamin-D-rich
substances. Now, liquid chromatography allows such bioassays to be
conducted quicker and at reduced cost.
* Computer simulations: According to Dr. Walker at the University of
Texas: "... computer simulations offer a wide range of advantages over
live animal experiments in the physiology and pharmacology laboratory.
These include: savings in animal procurement and housing costs; nearly
unlimited availability to meet student schedules; the opportunity to
correct errors and repeat parts of the experiment performed incorrectly
or misinterpreted; speed of operation and efficient use of students'
time and consistency with knowledge learned elsewhere."
* Computer-aided drug design: Such methods have been used in cancer and
sickle-cell anemia drug research, for example. Here, 3D computer
graphics and the theoretical field of quantum pharmacology are combined
to help in designing drugs according to required specifications.
* Mechanical models: For example, an artificial neck has been developed
by General Motors for use in car-crash simulations. Indeed, the
well-known "crash dummies" are much more accurate and effective than
the primates previously employed.
This list is by no means exhaustive.

There are instances where the benefits of experimentation accrue directly
to the individual concerned; for example, the trial of a new plastic heart
may be proposed to someone suffering from heart disease, or a new surgical
technique may be attempted to save a nonhuman animal. This may qualify, in
the mind of the questioner, as an instance of use of animals. The position
here is simple: The Animal Rights position does not condemn experimentation
where it is conducted for the benefit of the individual patient. Clinical
trials of new drugs, for example, often fall in this category, and so does
some veterinary research, such as the clinical study of already sick animals.
Another example of acceptable animal research is ethology, i.e. the study
of animals in their natural habitat.

Following is a list of alternatives to much, if not all, vivisection:
* Cell, tissue, and organ cultures
* Clinical observation
* Human volunteers (sick and well)
* Autopsies
* Material from natural deaths
* Noninvasive imaging in clinical settings
* Post-market surveillance
* Statistical inference
* Computer models
* Substitution with plants

These alternatives, and others not yet conceived, will ensure that
scientific research will not come to a halt upon abolition of vivisection.

Question 81:
But what if animals also benefit, e.g., through advance of veterinary science?

The Animal Rights philosophy is species-neutral, so the arguments developed
elsewhere in this section apply with equal force. The immorality of
rights-violative practices is not attenuated by claiming that the victims
and beneficiaries are of the same species.

Question 82:
Should people refuse medical treatments obtained through vivisection?

This is a favorite question for the defenders of vivisection. The
implication is that the AR position is inconsistent or irrational because
AR people partake of some fruits of vivisection.

As a first answer, we can point out that for existing treatments derived
from vivisection, the damage has already been done. Nothing is gained by
refusing the treatment. Vivisectors counter that the situation is analogous
to our refusal to eat meat sold at the grocery; the damage has been done,
so why not eat the meat? But there is a crucial difference. Knowledge is
a permanent commodity; unlike meat, it is abstract, it doesn't rot. Consider
a piece of knowledge obtained through vivisection. If vivisection were
abolished, the knowledge could be used repeatedly without endorsing or
further supporting vivisection. With meat consumption, the practice of
slaughter must continue if the fruits are to continue to be enjoyed.

Another point is that, had the vivisection not occurred, the knowledge
might well have been obtained through alternative, moral methods. Are we
to permanently foreclose the use of an abstract piece of knowledge due to the
past folly of a vivisector? The same cannot be said of meat; it cannot be
obtained without slaughter.

If the reader finds this unpersuasive, she should consider that the AR
movement sincerely wants to abolish vivisection, eliminating ill-gotten
fruits. If this is achieved, the original question becomes moot, because
there will be no such fruits.

This is another "where should I draw the line" question, with the added
twist that one's personal health may be on the line. As such, the right
answer is likely to depend a good deal on personal circumstances and judgment.
It is certainly beyond the call of duty to make an absolute pledge, since the
principle of self-defense may ultimately apply (particularly in life-or death
cases). Still, many people will be prepared to make statements against animal
oppression, even at considerable cost to their well-being. For these, the
following issues might be worth considering.

Most treatments owe nothing to animal experimentation at
all, or were developed in spite of animal experimentation rather than thanks
to it.

Insulin is one good example. The really important discoveries did not
proceed from the celebrated experiments of Banting and Best on dogs but from
clinical discoveries: According to Dr. Sharpe:
"The link between diabetes and the pancreas was first demonstrated by Thomas Cawley in 1788 when he examined a patient who had died from the disease. Further autopsies confirmed that diabetes is indeed linked with degeneration of the pancreas but, partly because physiologists, including the notorious Claude Bernard, had failed to produce a diabetic state in animals...the idea was not accepted for many years."
One had to wait until 1889 for the link to be accepted, the date at
which two researchers, Mering and Minkowski, managed to induce a form of
diabetes in dogs by removing their entire pancreas. Autopsies further
revealed that some parts of the pancreas of diabetics were damaged, giving
birth to the idea that administering pancreatic extracts to patients might

Other examples of treatments owing nothing to vivisection include the heart
drug digitalis, quinine (used against malaria), morphine (a pain killer),
ether (an anesthetic), sulfanilimide (a diuretic), cortisone (used to relieve
arthritic pains, for example), aspirin, fluoride (in toothpastes), etc.
Incidentally, some of these indisputably useful drugs would find it hard
to pass these so-called animal safety tests. Insulin causes birth defects in
chickens, rabbits, and mice but not in man; morphine sedates man but
stimulates cats; doses of aspirin used in human therapeutics poison cats (and
do nothing for fever in horses); the widespread use of digitalis was slowed
down by confounding results from animal studies (and legitimized by clinical
studies, as ever), and so on.

The nefarious effects of many newly-developed, "safe" compounds often take some time to be acknowledged. For example, even serious side-effects can sometimes go under-reported. In the UK, only a dozen of the 3500 deaths eventually linked to the use of isoprenaline aerosol inhalers were reported by doctors. Similarly, it took 4 years for the side-effects of the heart drug Eraldine (which included eye damage) to be acknowledged. The use of these drugs were, evidently, approved following
extensive animal testing.

This question is not as incongruous as it may appear. A 1967 official enquiry suggested that one third of the most prescribed drugs in the UK were "undesirable preparations". Many new drugs provide no advantage over existing compounds: in 1977, the US FDA released a study of 1,935 drugs introduced up to April 1977 which suggested that 79.4 percent of them provided "little or no [therapeutic] gain". About 80 percent of new introductions in the UK are reformulations, or duplications of existing drugs. A 1980 survey by the Medicines Division of UK Department for Health and Social Security states : "[new drugs] have largely been introduced into therapeutic areas already heavily oversubscribed and...for conditions which are common, largely chronic and occur principally in the affluent
Western society. Innovation is therefore largely directed toward commercial
returns rather than therapeutic needs."

A better appreciation of the benefits of "alternative" practices has developed in recent years. Often, dietary or lifestyle changes can be effective treatments on their own. Adult-onset diabetes has been linked to obesity, for instance, and can often
be cured simply by weight-loss and sensible dieting. Other types of
alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, have proven useful in stress
relief, and against insomnia and back pains.

In modern society, I think it would be almost impossible NOT to use medical
information gained through animal research at some stage--drug testing being
the most obvious consideration--without opting out of health care altogether.
It is important, therefore, that we emphasize the need to stop now. The past
is irretrievable.

Question 83:
Farmers have to kill pests to protect our food supply. Given that, what's wrong with killing a few more rats for medical research?

First, we object to the casual attitude of the questioner to the killing
of rights holders. A nonspeciesist philosophy, such as that of Animal Rights,
sees that as no different from suggesting:
Humans are killed legitimately every day. Given that, what's wrong with
killing a few more humans for medical research?

Hopefully, the reply is now obvious: in the original question, the fate
of pests is an irrelevant consideration (here), and the case for the
liberation of laboratory animals must be evaluated on its own. Seeking to
dilute a number of immoral killings into a greater number of arguably
defensible ones is a creative but illogical attempt at ethical reasoning.
see also
question 59

Question 84: What about dissection; isn't it necessary for a complete education?

Dissection refers to the practice of performing exploratory surgery on
animals (both killed and live) in an educational context. The average
person's experience of this practice consists of dissecting a frog in
a high-school biology class, but fetal chipmunks, mice, rabbits, dogs,
cats, pigs, and other animals are also used.

Dissection accounts for the death of about 7 million animals per year.
Many of these animals are bred in factory-farm conditions. Others are
taken from their natural habitats. Often, strayed companion animals end
up in the hands of dissectors. These animals suffer from inhumane
confinement and transport, and are finally killed by means of gassing,
neck-snapping, and other "inexpensive" methods.

The practice of dissection is repulsive to many students and
high-schoolers have begun to speak out against it. Some have even engaged
in litigation (and won!) to assert a right to not participate in such
unnecessary cruelty. California has a law giving students (through high
school) the right to refuse dissection. The law requires an alternative to
be offered and that the student suffer no sanctions for exercising this

Having dealt with the sub-question "What is dissection?", let's
consider whether it is necessary for a complete education.

There are several very effective alternatives to dissection. In some
cases, these alternatives are more effective than dissection itself.
Larger-than-life models, films and videos, and computer simulations are
all viable methods of teaching biological principles. The latter option,
computer simulation, has the advantage of offering an additional
interactive facility that has shown great value in other educational
contexts. These alternative methods are often cheaper than the traditional
practice of dissection. A computer program can be used indefinitely for
a one-time purchase cost; the practice of dissection presents an ongoing

In view of these effective alternatives, and the economic gains associated
therewith, the practice of dissection begins to look more and more like
a rite of passage into the world of animal abuse, almost a fraternity
initiation for future vivisectors. This practice desensitizes
students to animal suffering and teaches them that animals can be
used and discarded without respect for their lives. Is this the kind of
lesson we want to teach our children?

Dissecting animals is often described as necessary for the complete
education of surgeons. This is nonsense. Numerous surgeons have stated
that practicing on animals does not provide adequate skills for human
surgery. For example, dogs are the favorite test animal of surgery
students, yet their body shape is different, the internal arrangement of
their organs is different, the elasticity of their tissues under the scalpel
is different, and postoperative effects are different (they are less prone
to infection, for one thing). Also, many surgeons have suggested that
practicing on animals may induce in the mind of the student a casual
attitude to suffering.
Following are the thoughts of several prestigious surgeons on this issue.

...wounds of animals are so different from those of [humans] that the
conclusions of vivisection are absolutely worthless. They have done far
more harm than good in surgery.

Lawson Tait

Any person who had to endure certain experiments carried out on animals
which perish slowly in the laboratories would regard death by burning at the
stake as a happy deliverance. Like every one else in my profession, I used
to be of the opinion that we owe nearly all our knowledge of medical and
surgical science to animal experiments. Today I know that precisely the
opposite is the case. In surgery especially, they are of no help to the
practitioner, indeed he is often led astray by them.
Professor Bigelow

...the aim should be to train the surgeon using human patients by moving
gradually from stage to stage of difficulty and explicitly rejecting the
acquisition of skills by practicing on animals...which is useless and
dangerous in the training of a thoracic surgeon.
Professor R. J. Belcher

Practice on dogs probably makes a good veterinarian, if that is the kind
of practitioner you want for your family.
William Held

Animal life, somber mystery. All nature protests against the
barbarity of man, who misapprehends, who humiliates, who tortures
his inferior brethren.
Jules Michelet (historian)

Mutilating animals and calling it 'science' condemns the human species
to moral and intellectual hell...this hideous Dark Age of the mindless
torture of animals must be overcome.
Grace Slick (musician)
see also
question 77-81, 92

Question 85: What is wrong with product testing on animals?

The practice of product testing on animals treats animals as discardable
and renewable resources, as replaceable clones with no individual lives,
no interests, and no aspirations of their own. It callously enlists
hapless creatures into the service of humans. It assumes that the risks
incurred by one class of individuals can be forcibly transferred onto

Product testing is also unbelievably cruel. One notorious method of
testing is the Draize irritancy test, in which potentially harmful
products are dripped into the eyes of test animals (usually rabbits). The
harmfulness of the product is then (subjectively) assessed depending on
the size of the area injured, the opacity of the cornea, and the degree
of redness, swelling and discharge of the conjunctivae, and in more
severe cases, on the blistering or gross destruction of the cornea.

The use of animals in medicine is often challenged on scientific
grounds, and product tests are no exception. For example, one widely used
test is the so-called LD50 (Lethal Dose 50 percent) test. The toxicity level
of a product is assessed by force-feeding it to a number of animals until 50
percent of them die. Death may come after a few days or weeks, and is often
preceded by convulsions, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and more. Often,
this test reveals nothing at all; animals die simply because of the volume
of product administered, through the rupture of internal organs.
How such savage practices could provide any useful data is a mystery, and
not just to AR activists. It is seen as dubious by many toxicologists, and
even by some Government advisers. Animal models often produce misleading
results, or produce no useful results at all, and product testing is no
exception. One toxicologist writes: "It is surely time, therefore, that we
ceased to use as an index of the toxic action of food additives the LD50
value, which is imprecise (varying considerably with different species, with
different strains of the same species, with sex, with nutritional status,
environmental status, and even with the concentration at which the substance
is administered) and which is valueless in the planning of further studies."

The truth is that animal lives could be spared in many ways. For example,
duplication of experiments could be avoided by setting up databases of
results. Also, a host of humane alternatives to such tests are already
available, and the considerable sums spent on breeding or keeping test
animals could be usefully redirected into researching new ones.

The animal rights view calls for the abolition of all animal toxicity
tests. Animals are not our tasters. We are not their kings.
Tom Regan (philosopher and AR activist)
see also
question 86

Question 86: How do I know if a product has been tested on animals?

There are two easy ways to determine whether a product uses animal products
or is tested on animals. First, most companies provide a toll-free telephone
number for inquiring about their products. This is the most reliable method
for obtaining up-to-date information. Second, several excellent guides are
available that provide listings of companies and products. The section
entitled "Guides, Handbooks, and Reference" in question #92 lists several
excellent guides to cruelty-free shopping. For maximum convenience, you can
obtain a wallet-sized listing from PETA. Send a stamped, self-addressed
envelope with your request for the "PETA Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide" to
PETA, P.O. Box 42516, Washington, DC 20015.

Another thing to think about is the possibility of avoiding products by
making safe, ecologically sound alternative products yourself! Several of
the guides described in question #92 explain how to do this.
see also
question 85, 92

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