Elizabeth Wilson: Animal protection laws must be strengthened

Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Animal protection laws must be strengthened

Animals are used in many cruel practices such as medical testing, cosmetic testing and food testing.

Animal testing has been used since 500 BC, because it protects humans from harm and helps to determine if products are safe to use. Over 100 million defenseless animals per year in the United States are forced to do this against their will and are not protected from this torture.

In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that regulates the treatment of animals in research and testing. Though this act is a huge step in the right direction, it only protects cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, nonhuman primates (monkeys, chimpanzees, etc.), guinea pigs and other warm-blooded animals. These types of animals are only 5 percent to 10 percent of those that are used for cosmetic, food and medical testing. This means that 90 percent to 95 percent of animals used for testing are not protected by the AWA.

Though some animals are partially protected, animals such as fish, reptiles, amphibians and farm animals used for food production are not protected by the standards set by the AWA. We should not choose which animals are worthy of being protected and are not. This law must change so all animals are protected from cruelty.

Animal testing seems like the only way to test products, but there are many alternative methods to determine the safety of medications and cosmetics.

Studying cell cultures in a petri dish can produce more relevant results than animal testing because real human cells can be used. This way we know the reaction to cells that are exactly the same as ours. These methods are also more cost-effective.

Ending animal testing could save money and animals, which is beneficial to everyone. Animal testing is cruel and unnecessary and animal protection laws must be enhanced to protect all animals, not just some.

Elizabeth Wilson

North Hatfield