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LIFE AS A TEST SUBJECT
Even when not being poisoned or mutilated in actual experiments, the lives of animals in laboratories are nightmarish. Many spend the entirety of their lives in small, barren metal cages. The isolation and boredom alone often cause social animals to become psychotic.
Animals in laboratories are viewed merely as objects. Their ability to suffer and feel is denied or disregarded. As mere test subjects they are handled roughly, with no thought to their distress, fear or pain. When not being experimented on, these animals still enjoy no comfort at all, sleeping on cement or metal flooring.
Those who do survive the experiments are then "sacrificed"... callously killed and tossed aside.
The Animal Welfare Act provides bare minimums of animal care, such as shelter, food, water, and basic veterinary care. The majority of animals used in laboratories, however, are not covered by this law and have no legal protection whatsoever.1 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who are responsible for the Act's enforcement, only perform inspections on an annual basis.2 On the rare occasion a research facility is fined for a violation, it never amounts to more than a mere slap on the wrist.
In May 2005, the USDA cited the University of Nevada, Reno for 46 federal violations which occurred in a ten month period. Violations included filthy facilities, lack of veterinary care, failing to take action on complaints of animal neglect, and leaving 10 pigs without adequate water or housing for months. The consequence? A paltry $11,400 fine.3
In August 2004 the USDA filed a complaint against the University of California, San Francisco. This complaint cited 60 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including operating on animals without anesthesia and failing to provide post-operative pain killers.4
The University of California, Davis received a meager $4,815 fine in August 2004. Eight monkeys kept in a temporary housing room were left unattended overnight while the heat reached 115 degrees; their water ran out and seven died of dehydration.5
Three marmoset monkeys were scalded to death at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in July 2004 when employees left them in a cage as it went through an automated cage washer.6 A beagle dog died the same way at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Kalamazoo, Michigan in August 2003.7
1. Animal Welfare Act, Title 7, Chapter 54, section 2132(g).
2. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, The Animal Welfare Act Summary (January 2002).
3. Frank X. Mullen, "Feds Cite UNR for 10 Animal-Care Violations," Reno Gazette-Journal (12 October 2005).
4. "University Denies Welfare Act Violations," Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (1 December 2004).
5. The California Aggie (8 December 2005).
6. Associated Press (26 August 2004).
7. Wall Street Journal (30 March 2004).