Torturing Primates Is Anything But Monkey Business

In an episode of “Space Academy” called “Monkey Business,” a solar mirror at an agricultural lab fails and only Jake, a chimpanzee, can climb the tower to make the repair. Guided by telepathic instructions from Laura (my role), Jake scales the tower and saves the day.

It broke my heart to work with Jake. When the poor chimp was not on the set, he was locked in a cage barely larger than he was. He looked so sad, and even when he was on the set, he still looked sad and confused. He wasn’t at all enthusiastic about climbing the “tower” (really a succession of props that, when the shots were edited, created the impression of a tall tower). Apes and monkeys are not stunt performers and shouldn’t be forced to be.

The plight of primates (apes and monkeys) is so much worse than simply being forced to grin and perform on Hollywood sets. At this moment, thousands of primates are languishing in cages, living in fear, and being denied everything that’s natural and important to them. These complex, intelligent, and sociable animals will be tortured and killed in crude, cruel, and useless experiments conducted in university, government, and private laboratories.

Numerous investigations have found that in order to abduct primates from their homes in the wild, trappers often shoot mothers from trees, stun the animals with dart guns, and then capture the babies, who cling, panic-stricken, to their mothers’ bodies. Some wildlife traders catch whole primate families in baited traps. The animals are packed into tiny crates with little to no food or water and are taken to filthy holding centers, where they await long and terrifying trips in the cargo holds of passenger airliners. Their destination: laboratories like Covance or Charles River Laboratories, laboratory dealers like Primate Products, Inc., or primate breeding centers.

Torn from their families and social groups, these traumatized primates are typically confined to barren steel cages—a far cry from the lush forests and savannahs of their native habitat.  At home, nonhuman primates travel for miles, foraging for a variety of foods, socializing with family and friends, climbing hills, swinging from vines, swimming in rivers, scampering across fields, and cavorting with their companions. In laboratories, these animals have barely enough room to sit, stand, lie down, or turn around. The rich days full of sensory stimulation that they should be experiencing are replaced by days that are devoid of color, scent, and almost every other type of environmental enrichment. At most, the primates in laboratories are given cheap plastic toys, scratched mirrors, and the occasional slice of apple or banana. Research shows that 90% of primates in laboratories exhibit abnormal behaviors caused by abuse, stress, and social isolation. Many go insane, rocking back and forth, pacing endlessly in the cages, and engaging in repetitive motions such as back-flipping. They even engage in acts of self-mutilation, including tearing out their own hair or biting their own flesh.

Besides having their most fundamental needs and desires disregarded, primates imprisoned in laboratories are subjected to painful and traumatic procedures, including having tubes forced up their nostrils or down their throats so that experimental drugs can be pumped into them. The National Institutes of Health, it should be added, reports that animal tests have a 95% failure rate in predicting the safety and/or effectiveness of pharmaceuticals, making them pointless as well as cruel.

Rhesus monkeys are given infectious diseases and then used as test subjects for experimental vaccines. Even though decades of these experiments on primates have failed to produce effective vaccines for humans, monkeys are still infected with HIV-like diseases that cause them to suffer acute weight loss, major organ failure, breathing problems, and neurological disorders before they die excruciatingly painful deaths or are killed.

In recent experiments conducted by the military, primates were exposed to anthrax and infected with botulism and bubonic plague. In archaic chemical casualty training exercises, squirrel monkeys were poisoned with nerve agents that caused them to convulse, even though human-patient simulators exist and provide more effective training.

Monkeys are torn from their mothers in order to cause psychological trauma and examine the harm that results. After 50 years of these studies, don’t we know enough already about the effects of maternal deprivation?

In invasive brain experiments, monkeys have holes drilled into their skulls, metal restraints screwed into their heads, and electrodes inserted into their brains. Experimenters at Columbia University caused strokes in baboons by removing their left eyeballs and using the empty eye sockets to clamp critical blood vessels leading to their brains. Some animals have portions of their brains destroyed or removed to impair their cognitive function or cripple them. These sensitive, intelligent animals then have their bodies immobilized in restraint chairs and their heads bolted into place as they are forced to perform a variety of behavioral tasks while their brain activity is recorded. In order to coerce the monkeys to cooperate, they are sometimes deprived of water for up to 24 hours at a time. When the experiments conclude, most of the animals are killed and their brains are removed and dissected.

Experiments on primates, like those performed on any animal, are cruel, painful, and ultimately deadly. Some primates differ in DNA from humans by only 3%. You could say they are our closest relatives on this planet. So why do we insist on torturing and killing them?

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!

We Can All Help Put an End to Animal Testing

“I’m not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. … The pain which it inflicts on unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.” – Samuel L. Clemens aka Mark Twain in a letter to the London Anti-Vivisection Society, May 26, 1899.

Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside cramped steel cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, suffer from extreme frustration, ache with loneliness, and long to be free. Instead, all they can do is wait in fear of the next terrifying and painful procedure that will be performed on them. Stress-induced neurosis causes many of them to spin incessantly in circles, rock back and forth, pull out their own fur, and even bite themselves. After enduring a life of pain, loneliness, and terror, they will be killed.

More than 100 million animals suffer and die in the U.S. every year in cruel chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics tests as well as in medical training exercises and curiosity-driven medical experiments at universities. Animals also suffer and die in classroom biology experiments and dissection, even though modern non-animal tests have repeatedly been shown to have more educational value, save teachers time, and save schools money. Exact numbers aren’t available because mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals, who make up more than 99% of animals used in experiments, are not covered by even the minimal protections of the Animal Welfare Act and therefore go uncounted.

Examples of animal tests, known as vivisection, include force-feeding pesticides to dogs, dripping corrosive chemicals into rabbits’ sensitive eyes, and exposing living primates’ brains for ghoulish experiments. Perversely, products that harm animals can still be marketed to consumers. On the other hand, just because a product fails to kill or maim an animal does not guarantee that it will be safe for humans to use. What’s the point, then, of such tests?

We can help put an end to animal testing and experimentation. Each of us can help prevent animal suffering and deaths by buying cruelty-free products (see my essay), donating only to charities that don’t experiment on animals, demanding alternatives to animal dissection in schools and universities, and the immediate implementation of humane, effective non-animal tests by government agencies and corporations.

Those non-animal tests already exist. Thanks to forward-thinking scientists, there are methods of studying diseases and testing products that don’t use animals and are actually relevant to human health. These practical and cost-effective alternatives include in vitro tests using human cells and tissue, advanced computer-modeling techniques known as in silico models, and studies that employ human volunteers. These and other non-animal methods are not hindered by species differences that make applying animal test results to humans difficult or impossible, and generally require less time and money to complete.

Another way medical science is moving away from experimenting on animals is through the use of Human Simulators. Not long ago, the use of live animals in Advanced Trauma Life Support courses was common. These courses train trauma surgeons and nurses how to respond with life-saving efficiency to acute injuries. Today, nearly all ATLS courses use only non-animal training methods, chiefly the TraumaMan System simulator. Medical school biology classes also use the TraumaMan System simulator to replace dead cats preserved in formaldehyde.

In too many educational and laboratory settings, however, America is still stuck in the brutal and grotesque past. Many countries have banned the testing of consumer goods on animals, including the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, and elsewhere; can’t we do the same? Why can’t the United States assume world leadership in treating its animals humanely? With the help of all of us, it can.

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share this planet!

 

2020 Is the Year of the Rat

January 25 is the Chinese New Year. Welcome to the Year of the Rat!

When I think of rats, I think of Templeton in Charlotte’s Web. Templeton was greedy and larcenous, just as rats are typically stereotyped, but he was also noble and kind and a loyal friend.

Humans stereotype animals just as they stereotype other humans. There is often a wide gap between those stereotypes and reality. Pigs are not dirty, sloths are not lazy, and gorillas are not savage beasts. Many people have an image of rats as filthy, disgusting, and villainous; they are not. Rats are intelligent and sociable animals, not that different than dogs. Yet, millions of rats are killed in U.S. laboratories every year. They are abused in everything from toxicology tests (in which they are slowly poisoned to death) to painful burn experiments to psychological experiments that induce terror, anxiety, depression, and helplessness. They are deliberately electroshocked in pain studies, mutilated in experimental surgeries, and have everything from cocaine to methamphetamine pumped into their bodies. They are given cancerous tumors and are injected with human cells in genetic-manipulation experiments. Animal activists infiltrating laboratories at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Utah revealed that mice and rats were given enormous tumors and painful, deadly illnesses. Rats had holes drilled into their skulls for invasive brain experiments.

Rats are mammals with nervous systems similar to our own. It’s no secret that they feel pain, fear, loneliness, and joy just as we do. These highly social animals communicate with each other using high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to the human ear. They become emotionally attached to each other, love their families, and easily bond with human companions. Infant rats giggle when they are tickled. Not only do rats express empathy when another rat or a human they know is in distress, they also exhibit altruism. In laboratory settings free rats can be seen liberating other rats from their cages even if there is no clear benefit in doing so.

Unprotected by the law, experimenters can torture, maim, and kill rats at will. They don’t even have to provide them with pain relief. A 2009 survey by researchers at Newcastle University found that rats who underwent painful, invasive procedures such as skull surgeries, burn experiments, and spinal surgeries, were given post-procedural pain relief only about 20 percent of the time.

Rats – and other animals – don’t have to suffer and die in experimental labs. There are many non-animal test methods that can be used in place of animal testing. Not only are these non-animal tests more humane, they also have the potential to be cheaper, faster, and more relevant to humans. Write your representatives in government to put an end to animal testing in the Unites States. Don’t buy products tested on animals and urge your supermarket or grocery not to carry them. Always look for the “Not Tested on Animals” logo when you buy products. Help make the Year of the Rat cruelty-free for all animals.

California Bans Cosmetics Tested on Animals

Thanks to SB 1249, the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, just signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, cosmetics tested on animals will no longer be allowed to be sold in California. Beginning in January 2020 (why not 2019?), to do business in the world’s fifth-largest economy, cosmetics manufacturers will have to stop subjecting animals to unspeakable cruelty and death in testing their products and their ingredients. This is not only good news for animals and those who care about animals, but for consumers as well. Using animals to conduct safety testing is flawed science, because differences between species, and even between animals in the same species, are subject to variances in absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of chemicals, and lead to flawed and generally useless results regarding humans.

Even though animal testing is NOT required by law, companies still choose to torture, maim, and kill animals by the hundreds of thousands each year in the United States, even though there are much better alternatives to animal testing.  The animals most frequently used for these horribly cruel tests are mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, monkeys and beagles. Yes, because of their docile nature, beagles, like my friend Snoopy, are also often used for testing. In tests of cosmetic products and ingredients, animals suffer through painful and often bizarre tests for skin irritation, eye irritation and any kind of toxicity. In these tests, the animals have chemicals forced down their throats, into their eyes and onto their shaved skin to document their reaction. Lethal dose tests, in which large amounts of a test chemical are forced through a tube down the throats of animals are conducted to see how much and long it takes for the animal to die. These animal tests result in immense pain, distress, blindness, swollen eyes, sore and bleeding skin, internal bleeding, organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death. In a barbaric procedure called the Draize test, a solution of products is continuously dripped into the eyes of rabbits. The rabbit’s head is held in a restraining stock and clips placed on the poor animal’s eyelids to hold them open during the test period, which can last several days. The results are typically intense burning, itching, pain, and often blindness. The animals can’t do anything to stop their suffering because they can’t free themselves from the gruesome restraining stocks. In a Draize test for skin irritancy, the test substances are applied to the animal’s skin after it has been shaved and scraped raw. The suffering these animals are put through is too ghastly to comprehend. Animals that survive such tests are killed when the tests are done, their destroyed bodies thrown in the trash. Laboratory animals are not protected under the Animal Welfare Act.

Alternatives to using animals in testing include:

  • in vitro (test tube) test methods and models based on human cell and tissue cultures
  • computer models and simulations
  • stem cell testing methods
  •  the use of cornea-like 3D structures, which are produced from human cells. These human skin cultures can be grown specifically for cosmetic testing. This is a much more accurate alternative to pouring caustic chemicals into the eyes of terrified and suffering animals.

For more alternatives to animal testing go to https://www.neavs.org/alternatives/in-testing

California is not the first to ban the use of animals in cosmetics testing – animal testing has been banned in the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. How sad that the United States has not seen fit to end the suffering and torment of testing on animals. Let’s hope California’s compassionate choice will lead the rest of the nation to put a stop to the horrific violence done in the name of human vanity. Please take a moment to let decision-makers know that no cosmetics product or ingredient is worth inflicting suffering on animals. Act now to stop cruel cosmetic tests on animals in the U.S. by going to this web site (https://support.peta.org/page/1879/action/1)  and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Presented below are two links that offer a list of companies who test on animals and those who don’t. But to ensure an absolute cruelty-free cosmetics collection, always look for the signature “cruelty-free” bunny logo.

Companies that DO:  https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/beauty-brands-that-you-thought-were-cruelty-free-but-arent/

Companies that DO NOT: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/cruelty_free_companies_search.aspx?Donottest=8

To learn more about California Bill SB1249 watch this video, produced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfAdPJMvMdk&feature=youtu.be

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

How to Buy Cruelty-Free

One episode of “Space Academy” featured a rabbit named Jumping Jupiter. Did you know there are a pair of rabbits that can help you select cruelty-free products when you’re shopping?

In the animal rights movement, cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, since these tests are horribly painful and cause the suffering and death of millions of animals every year. Every product, every action, and every lifestyle decision can be a choice to stop the immense suffering and death of animals who can’t speak up for themselves.

Animals such as rabbits, rats, mice and guinea pigs are kept in tiny cages and forced to eat or inhale toxic substances, or have cosmetic ingredients rubbed onto their shaved skin, eyes, or ears every day for 28 or 90 days to see if they have an allergic reaction. After these gruesome and archaic tests, the animals are killed and thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. These tests are also done with pregnant animals who, after much suffering, are killed along with the fetus. In more prolonged carcinogen tests, rats are force-fed a cosmetic’s ingredient over two years, and then killed.

Typically, a little rabbit, or other small animal is tightly constrained in a box so that he is completely unable to move. Clips hold his eyelids open. A disgusting “tester” puts a concentrated substance to the outer layer of the eye and observes over a span of days or weeks for responses such as blindness, bleeding, hemorrhaging and ulceration. Because the poor animals are unable to move, they can’t even scratch their eyes or skin. They are kept from moving for days and even weeks. After the test, the animals are killed.

Primates, dogs such as the beagle, and cats are used for ghastly invasive experimentation as well. Many laboratories use these species to test drugs and chemicals old and new, and to study the effects of disease.

There are several organizations working hard to get outdated animal testing replaced with quicker, cheaper, and more accurate methods. Alternatives to animal testing have shown results that are far more accurate to humans. Remember, the reactions of rabbits, mice, etc. cannot be extrapolated to a human. However, using human tissue as well as computer modeling, researchers can legitimately test how humans will respond. For example, reconstructed human epidermis—which uses human skin donated from cosmetic surgery to replace the hideous rabbit Draize skin test—is more relevant to human reactions. Other methods replace the Draize eye test by using in vitro (test-tube) human tissue. Computer-based systems allow for isolation of a select tissue or organ to conduct tests in an extremely controlled environment. These tests not only save millions of animal lives, but are more precise and accurate at protecting humans from toxic substances.

Companies now offer a wide range of cruelty-free products such as cosmetics, personal-care products, household cleaners, clothing, shoes, and candles (which usually use paraffin or beeswax). Organizations such as PETA, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and its offshoot organization Cruelty Free International, have issued lists of cruelty-free products to buy and cruel products to boycott. There is also the “Leaping Bunny” symbol or the PETA “Cruelty Free Bunny” logo that identifies products not tested on animals and manufactured without animal ingredients. More and more companies are now identifying on the packaging products that are “not tested on animals and no animal ingredients were used in the manufacturing of this product,” making it easier than ever to buy “cruelty free!”

Please visit these sites to learn about the products you can use that do NOT test on animals. The animals thank you!!

https://www.navs.org/what-we…/promote-cruelty-free-shopping/

https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/alternatives-animal-testing

https://www.mediapeta.com/peta/PDF/companiesdonttest.pdf

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

Always Look for the “Not Tested on Animals” Symbol

We filmed 14 episodes of “Blondie” but only 13 aired before the series was cancelled. In the unaired episode, Dagwood, wearing a bunny costume, is on his way to perform at an Easter charity benefit when his car breaks down, leading to chaotic encounters with startled drivers, the police, and 12 real rabbits.

I’m against vivisection, experimentation on animals. Did you know that product testing labs are STILL vivisecting thousands upon thousands of innocent animals?

Because they are mild-tempered and easy to handle, confine, and breed, rabbits are frequent victims of animal experimenters; more than 170,000 of them are abused in U.S. laboratories every year.

Despite the availability of more modern, humane, and effective alternatives, rabbits are still tormented in the notorious Draize eye irritancy test, in which cosmetics, dishwashing liquid, drain cleaner, and other substances are dripped into the animals’ eyes, often causing redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or blindness. After the experiments are over the rabbits are killed. In addition, even though internationally-accepted non-animal methods exist, rabbits’ backs are shaved and corrosive chemicals are applied to their raw skin in skin corrosion tests and left there for up to two weeks. These chemicals often burn the skin, leading to tissue damage. The victims of these tests are given no pain relief during this excruciatingly painful experience and, again, after the test is finished, they are killed.

Horrific experiments like those above are being done to cats, dogs, primates, and other animals by laboratories around the world. Please say NO to vivisection and boycott any products that have been tested on animals. Look for products packaged with the symbol that says, “NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS;” see the samples shown.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

Say NO to Animal Testing!

Here I am holding a rabbit on an episode of “Space Academy.” I remember that rabbit because I could tell he was scared, so I picked him up and held him in my arms and he relaxed.

You know, I’m against vivisection, experimentation on animals. Did you know that product testing labs are STILL vivisecting thousands upon thousands of innocent animals?

Because they are mild-tempered and easy to handle, confine, and breed, rabbits are frequent victims of animal experimenters; more than 170,000 of them are abused in U.S. laboratories every year.

Despite the availability of more modern, humane, and effective alternatives, rabbits are still tormented in the notorious Draize eye irritancy test, in which cosmetics, dishwashing liquid, drain cleaner, and other substances are dripped into the animals’ eyes, often causing redness, swelling, discharge, ulceration, hemorrhaging, cloudiness, or blindness. After the experiments are over the rabbits are killed. In addition, even though internationally-accepted non-animal methods exist, rabbits’ backs are shaved and corrosive chemicals are applied to their raw skin in skin corrosion tests and left there for up to two weeks. These chemicals often burn the skin, leading to tissue damage. The victims of these tests are given no pain relief during this excruciatingly painful experience and, again, after the test is finished, they are killed.

Horrific experiments like those above are being done to cats, dogs, primates, and other animals by laboratories around the world. Please say NO to vivisection and boycott any products that have been tested on animals. Look for products packaged with the symbol that says, “NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS.”

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!