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Protecting those who are weaker

April 18, 2010

By

Sandra Goge

April is the worldwide month of laboratory animal protection when campaigns against animal testing are organized.

The people who use and authorize the use of animals in laboratory experiments ere not always required to report numbers so no one knows for sure how many animals are used in laboratory experiments but informed estimates put the world-wide figure at around 250 million a year. It’s about 125,000 an hour or, approximately 2,000 animals a minute, say representatives of  “International Fund for Animal Welfare”.

Experimentation on animals is called vivisection and is defined as cutting up or operating on a living animal usually for physiological or pathological investigation. Animals are used and killed for education, breeding, defense research, for toxicological, cosmetic, drug tests etc. Vernon Coleman, director of, “Fighting for Animals,” says that vivisection is probably the best and longest established form of organized and officially acknowledged animal cruelty.

Solvita Viba, the chairwoman of the Latvian Animal Protection Ethics Council and director of, “Animal Friend Fund,” says laboratory animal protection now is an important topic because people rarely are informed about vivisection and don’t know how many products used in everyday life are actually tested on animals.

Speaking about the effectiveness and necessity of testing on animals, Viba says that less that 2 percent of human diseases are found in animals and 95 percent of treatments tested on animals are useless and dangerous for humans. Today there are so many alternatives like testing on human brain cells, using molecular methods or designing computer models but too many companies are not willing to explore these alternatives to killing animals, Viba says..

To point out the absurdity of animal testing, Viba cites Professor Charles R. Magel who says, “Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”

“The saddest thing about the situation in Latvia is that products that are easiest to access in the biggest shops are mostly tested on animals, and people aren’t informed about that, so informing people is the first thing that has to be done,” says Viba. Most frequently used cosmetic products like L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Garnier, Johnson & Johnson etc. are in the black register, but there are many accessible products like Madara, The Body Shop, Avon, Oriflame, Nivea etc. that are cruelty-free, so the main thing is to educate our nation, she says.

That’s why every year in April many informative events are organized, and this year won’t be an exception. Soon in the “Animal Friend” homepage for www.dzd.lv will list information about upcoming events. Viba invites everybody to attend Latvian IOS (Institute of Organic Synthesis) on April 23 where discussion about testing on animals in Latvia will occur.

To help stop experimentation on animals people are asked to look for additional information, to choose cruelty-free products (list of companies that do/don’t test in animals can be found at http://search.caringconsumer.com/search.aspx ), to donate money only to organizations that are against animal testing and to demonstrate against any form of cruelty to animals.

The main question for every consumer is – if the companies believe an ingredient is so harmful it must be tested on animals, do you really want to use it?

PETA Anti-Animal testing video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QRBcHIIsXc (Warning: video might contain unpleasant and violent scenes!)

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