Practical Issues > Things To Do > Activism > Groups
Where Would The World Be Without Activists?

by Evlin Lake on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 10:32am

"It's not the government of the United States who fought to free the slaves. The abolitionists did.
It's not the government of the United States who fought to give women the right to vote. The suffragists did.
It's not the government of the United States who fought for the environment. The environmentalists did.
And it's NOT the government of the United States who are fighting for the protection of animals. Animal activists are.
Considering the biggest movements in the governments history of this count, their record is a poor one." -Shaun Monson
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.
"The media is at fault for harming perceptions. Taking action is not something to be condemned, ridiculed or belittled. It is of more benefit to educate about why someone has acted to effect change rather than to side with the enemy and condemn it." -Keith Mann
"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being." -Abraham Lincoln
"Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more." -Franz Kafka

Vivisection means the 'cutting up' of living animals, but has now become more generally used as the term for all experiments on living animals as many animal experiments, such as poisoning tests, will not involve surgical procedures. It is estimated that over 100 million animals suffer every year in laboratory experiments world-wide. Animals bred for research that are subsequently killed as 'surplus' are not included in these numbers.

There has been a huge increase in the number of animals - particularly mice and rats - used in genetic engineering experiments and this is predicted to continue to increase in the future.


A wide variety of animals are used for experimentation.
Rats and mice are used in a large proportion of experiments, because they are easy to handle and cheap to keep. They occupy less space in a laboratory than larger animals and can produce 50 - 100 babies a year.

Rabbits are commonly used for eye and skin tests because they are easy to handle and they have a very limited ability to 'cry away' substances from their eyes during experiments.

Guinea pigs are also commonly used in skin testing and batch testing for substances such as vaccines. Dogs and primates are commonly used in toxicity testing, brain research, dental research and surgical experiments. The most common breed of laboratory dog is the beagle, chosen primarily because they are good-natured and a manageable size for testing procedures.

Primates such as baboons, macaques, marmosets and chimps continue to be used in their thousands.

Other animals commonly used for research include cats, birds, fish, pigs, horses, sheep and hamsters, but many other species are used as well.

Animals are used in many different types of experiments; all experiments cause pain and suffering. The animals involved will either die as a result of the experiment or be deliberately killed afterwards, often for post mortem examination.

In the laboratory an animal may be poisoned; deprived of food, water or sleep; applied with skin and eye irritants; subjected to psychological stress; deliberately infected with disease; brain damaged; paralysed; surgically mutilated; irradiated; burned; gassed; force fed and electrocuted. Researchers around the world use animals to test or develop almost anything from household products, cosmetics and food additives to pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, agrochemicals, pet foods, medical devices and tobacco and alcohol products.

Genetic engineering experiments subject animals to myriad forms of physical deformity as well as more subtle forms of suffering.

Military experiments subject animals to the effects of poisonous gas, decompression sickness, blast wounds, burns and radiation as they assess new and existing weapons and surgical techniques 'in the field'. Animals are even used in 'curiosity driven' research. In fact, almost all of the products used and consumed by humans every day around the world, will have been tested on animals at some point in time.

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