Posted on 03/09/2015
About two years ago I learned exactly what animal testing is. I'm not referring to medical testing (more on that in a later entry), but rather the testing of household products many of us use every day. I thought that testing shampoo on a dog meant that the dog was getting a nice bath. This is far from the truth. The animals are severely mistreated and are never given the chance to have normal pet lives. If you have never heard exactly what happens inside a testing facility, please continue reading. I will warn you that some of the things you will read and see are disturbing and extremely saddening.
You may know that I have a beagle; his name is Diego. My wife, Domenica, and I adopted him from the Arizona Humane Society on July 12th, 2011. It didn't take long for Domenica to fall in love with Diego and all beagles. While she was searching for beagle-related things on the web, she stumbled upon Beagle Freedom Project and our lives changed forever. If you have the the time and the stomach, please watch the video of their first rescue. Unfortunately, this is one of the more uplifting videos. Watching those dogs run around on that small patch of grass for the first time gets to me every time. I can't watch some of the other videos that show how the animals are treated in the labs; they make me sick to my stomach. It's not hard to find such videos on YouTube.
The dogs used in animal testing of household products are not given baths with shampoo or a weird hairdo with a hair spray. They have makeup smeared in their eyes until they go blind or forced to inhale a hairspray through a mask until they die. This stuff happens all the time, and the products that are being tested are products that have been around forever (like bleach) or products that we all know are harmful (like cigarettes).
Regardless of your feelings on the actual testing that goes on, I think we can all agree that these animals deserve a life after testing. Many, or most, of the animals used in testing are simply euthanized when they are no longer needed. I have even heard stories about animals being euthanized in the middle of a test because a big holiday is approaching and it is less expensive to dispose of the dogs than pay someone to watch them. The laboratories buy new animals after the holiday and pick up the experiments from the beginning. This is extraordinarily wasteful and disrespectful.
I am writing this to make anyone who reads this aware that these things happen. A few years ago, I was completely ignorant of this. It may seem like one person cannot make a significant dent in such a large problem, but there are tangible things one can do. You can start by supporting the Beagle Freedom Bill. You can also make a more dramatic change by going "cruelty-free" and only using products that have not been tested on animals. There is an app to help you find products that aren't tested on animals. If you would like information regarding the efforts you can make to help these animals, please do not hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter or App.net.