One very apt example is aspirin. When tested on dogs, large doses were shown to cause teratogenic malformations (birth defects due to toxicity). Yet Americans take 29 billion aspirin every year.
In addition, approximately 106,000 people die each year due to medications that were deemed safe via animal testing.
• Industrial chemicals, pesticide and household products – The list of chemicals that humans use increase each year. Tens of thousands are currently used and over 1000 are added each year. Before these can be deemed safe for humans, they undergo rigorous testing, which unfortunately involves seeing how animals react to them.
While much of this is done on mice, dogs(mostly Beagles) are used as well for some products and chemicals. During this, the substance may be applied to a patch of shaved skin, added to the animal’s food or water or forced to be inhaled.
Humane Society International estimates that for one single pesticide to be declared safe, there are 50 experiments involving 12,000 animals. If an adverse effect occurs, this is referred to as a Clinical Endpoint. It may be something as innocuous as a skin irritation or something horrid as cancer or neurological damage.
Medical research includes but is not limited to:
• Biomedical research of heart disease – For example, at Ohio State University, dogs were forced to run on a treadmill until they collapsed from a heart attack. If they were not dead upon falling, the dogs were killed so that the damage to their heart tissue could be studied.
• Dental research. A shocking 76 day undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States in 2013 revealed just how much suffering dogs endure. They discovered that researchers at Georgia Regents University pulled out the teeth of 6 dogs and placed implants in them. After the dogs healed, they were killed and their jaw bones were sawed off for the researchers to study the healed tissue. Public records show that GRU had used 186 canines in the past for various purposes.
• In veterinary schools for student training, particularly for surgery. While many schools are now using pigs and horses, some are still using cats and dogs. Both cats and dogs are used by some schools for dissection. In addition, live dogs are used in ‘terminal surgery labs’ (most often seen in elective courses rather than required); this refers to taking a healthy dog (or cat), subjecting them to invasive surgical procedures, allowing them to recover and then euthanizing them.
• Research of eye disease – At the University of Pennsylvania, puppies were bred to have a degenerative eye disease that results in blindness. During the study, 3-week-old Beagles had their eyes removed and then were killed.
Photos and video of this and other acts of cruelty can be seen on the Occupy for Animals site, warning that the images you will see are quite graphic, shocking and should not be seen by children.
• Other – Surgical techniques for kidney transplants were perfected in dogs and pigs. Heart surgery techniques (coronary bypass surgery, artificial heart valve insertion, and pacemaker implants) were studied first in dogs before being used in people. While it is wonderful that there is now a canine parvovirus vaccine, it was developed due to testing on hundreds of dogs.