Sentient Beings or Tools of Research?


"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is: 'Because animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."Prof. Charles R. Magel

I started this post looking at the movement that is happening to the 'Makeover the World' a campaign that is spreading worldwide to

  • not to use animals to develop new products or ingredients for cosmetics
  • to no longer market products in countries where animal testing is a requirement for cosmetics, and
  • to help further the development of humane alternative testing methods

The EU, Israel, Norway, NZ and India are all are committed to the above. Many companies have taken upon themselves to avoid animal testing but Australians are ready for our country to step up and also "makeover the world" because without a comprehensive legal ban there is nothing to prevent cosmetics animal testing taking place here in Australia, or overseas during development of products sold in our shops. A motion was moved in the House of Representatives this September.

This is great news but still thousands upon thousands of animals are subjected to pointless suffering in animal testing for cosmetics, especially with the mandatory tests if the product is sold into China. So continue to make sure you check before you buy and support any hidden cruelty.

While reading about the updates I stumbled on was the announcement of a win for testing on primates for "medical research" as National Institute of Health US announced they would retire the last chimpanzee they were still holding to sanctuaries. Really a no-brainer in my eyes, especially as since June 2015, chimpanzees, captive and wild, were listed as endangered. These animals should be protected not tortured.

However NIH are still being criticised due to it's horrific tests on monkey infants. The monkeys undergo years of terrifying and often painful experiments in order to exacerbate symptoms of mental illness and test the severity of their psychological trauma. Please watch this short clip to truly understand why this is important to know about.

In the last seven years, NIH spent $30 million conducting these experiments on hundreds of chimpanzees and monkeys, even though they haven’t found any helpful insights into the foundations of human mental illness or improved our treatment of such conditions.

Every year in the U.S, more than 105,000 primates are imprisoned in laboratories, where they are abused and killed in invasive, painful, and terrifying experiments. Most of the primates used are macaques, accounting for 79% of all primates used in research in the UK, and 63% of all federally funded research grants for projects using primates in the U.S. Baboons and marmosets are the other highly used primate species, sentient beings, for this torture.

wild vs tortured

Baboons and macaques: for experimentation or the wild?

This happens in Australia too; hundreds of primates every year are used and killed here under animal testing. Of course it isn't only primates, the latest available statistics show that approximately 6.7 million animals were used in research and teaching in Australia in 2013, however since we maintain no national collection or collation of animal use statistics, unlike many other countries, it is often hard to see what really has been going on.

“Australia has a notorious record of using large numbers of animals for research in comparison to other nations. We are the fourth-highest user behind the United States, Japan and China,” Helen Marston, Humane Research Australia 

"In one notable Melbourne experiment in 2013, macaque monkeys had their skulls drilled into, and electrodes inserted into their brains — not to discover a cure for a fatal disease, but instead to measure their attention spans. To add insult to fatal injury, the results of the test cannot be directly applied to humans because, for all our similarities to non-human primates, our brains — specifically our visual processing centres — are fundamentally different. Such is the conflict at the very heart of animal experimentation."

Many countries are introducing the 3R’ (replacement, refinement and reduction) strategy to reduce animal testing in research and develop biosciences. Using new non-animal technologies such as tissue engineering, stem cells, noninvasive imaging and mathematical modelling, the benefits will include not only improvement in animal welfare but also reduce costs for the medical industry and more accurate methodologies for human use will be discovered.

I believe strongly it is time for Australia- and the rest of the world to also instate the "3 R's" and Austria's example of banning ALL primate experiments. You only have to look into their eyes to know they are highly intelligent animals and we know they not only feel physical pain like all sentient creatures but they also comprehend and experience emotional pain.

primate testing

Photos from investigations 2015

Greens Senator Rhiannon introduced a Bill this September to ban the import of primates for experimentation, in order to protect biodiversity that is also threatened from this horrific wildlife trade. She also speaks brilliantly toward the unnecessary use of primates in experimentation.

 "There is considerable clinical evidence that much animal-based research correlates poorly with the human response. This is confirmed by scientific reviews that show correlations between the results of animal experimentation and human outcomes are negligible, expensive and unnecessary. Most animal experiments do not translate to clinical trials, are not validated, minimally cited, and use methodologies that render findings as unreliable." Rhiannon

If you are interested in exploring Steve Wise and his ongoing legal fight for having their rights counted, I highly recommend checking out his inspiring journey that has been highly supported in the media. The Age covered primate breeding facility in Australia a couple of years ago which is also worth a read.

If you feel moved about animal testing, and especially on primates, sign and share these campaign's to ban primate experiment:

I want to include this wonderful David Attenborough documentary on primates, so we can have a glimpse at how complex and wonderful they are and how it is inexcusable for us to subject intelligent creatures primates to this confinement and cruelty. In my books it is unconscionable.