Animal testing and a little Monday morning crankiness

(source: Wikipedia Commons; Janet Stephens, photographer)

It’s Monday, and to be quite frank, I’m feeling a little cranky, animal-wise. It’s 10:30 AM and I’ve already been out to clean and feed the chickens, who are raising such a ruckus the neighbors must think I’ve been plucking them bald. The dogs are engaged in their daily in and out and in and out, and considering that Bailey and Bandit still can’t be in the same room, it’s a little exhausting.

So when I read this article at GlobalAnimal.com, my initial response is probably more sarcastic than it might be, had I not had a terrible night’s sleep and a morning filled with barking and bawking and several cups of tea turned cold before I had a chance to drink them.

GlobalAnimal.com author Tazi Phillips shares a post today on 8 household products most people don’t know are tested on animals. It’s enlightening in some ways - and strangely vague in others.

For example, I had no idea Windex is sprayed on animals’ skin and in their eyes to test the amount of irritation. Really? Is that necessary? I know a few humans who might actually be less irritating after being spritzed with window cleaner; maybe we can test the product on them.

But there’s no word on exactly how companies test Band Aids or Trojan condoms on animals. I’m envisioning cages full of monkeys with their fingertips wrapped in boo boo strips, all of them washing dishes and singing, “I am stuck on Band Aids, ‘cuz Band Aids stuck on me” to see if that song is really true.

 And how do you test a condom for safety? Find a monkey, give him a few drinks and turn on some mood  music, let him loose in a room full of females, then roll on the Trojan and wait to see if he gets his cage mate pregnant?

And Kleenex? Do they infect a bunch of mice with the flu virus and then see how long it takes for their little noses to get chapped from constant blowing and wiping?

I know, cranky. I’m sorry.

I realize animal testing is a serious issue – feeding animals dangerous chemicals and then cutting them open to see what’s happened. Spraying them with window cleaner. Testing the effectiveness of adhesive on their skin and fur.  Those are the mild examples; the pictures of what’s done to animals in the name of research are horrible. Are these products we so desperately need that we have to hurt animals to have them?

(Or so dangerous – shampoo? Really? If shampoo is so dangerous that we need to test it on a rabbit first, maybe we need to rethink our hair care choices.)

At the same time, we have to acknowledge that animal testing has given us beneficial medicines and medical treatments. Advances in the treatment of breast cancer, Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers, heart disease, organ transplants, mental illness and more would have been impossible without experiments and research conducted on animals. There’s no way to deny that we all – all of us, even those who oppose animal testing – have enjoyed the benefits of that testing.

Somewhere, there has to be a middle ground, a humane way to respectfully explore scientific possibilities without being gratuitously inhumane to animals in the process. But to say we should never test anything on animals? I’m not so sure I can agree with that.

But that’s too deep a subject for a Monday morning. Instead, I’ll leave you with a perspective from my favorite fictional physicist, Sheldon Cooper:

“There’s a lot of harm in trying something new! That’s why we test out drugs and cosmetics on bunny rabbits!”

Fellow “Big Bang Theory” fans will hopefully see the humor. Critics will be, well, critical. And oh, look – Bailey and Bandit have both snuggled up on their dog beds! Maybe I can get a few quiet minutes to brew a cup of tea – not tested on animals, of course.


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