vegansaurus!

05/29/2014

Animal testing doesn’t work, here’s a friendly cartoon to explain why  »

imageBesides being unconscionable, animal testing is not reliable. And now, thanks to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, we have this handy video to explain why animal testing is not the answer. The only animals you will see abused in this video are cartoon animals, so this does not get a graphic warning at all (though I was sad when they took the mousy away from his friend). 

Ok it’s your turn to help! Come on now, this will be SO easy:

1. Sign this petition!

2. SHARE THIS VIDEO WITH EVERYONE! And you can tell them it’s not graphic. People are scared of graphic stuff. 

05/13/2014

Male scientists stress out otherwise super-chill lab rats, or Why animal testing is the wackness  »

From Flickr user Feistea.

New findings show that male scientists may cause stress to rats and mice, resulting in different test results than female scientists achieve (warning: I don’t know the full extent of shiz they are doing to these poor animals but they seem to know a lot about their pain threshold): 

In research published online April 28 in Nature Methods, the scientists report that the presence of male experimenters produced a stress response in mice and rats  equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing them to swim for three minutes. This stress-induced reaction made mice and rats of both sexes less sensitive to pain. Female experimenters produced no such effects.

And it’s not just pain (shudder! Ugh, why do they know so much about what causes them pain!), “the researchers found that other behavioural assays sensitive to stress were affected by male but not female experimenters or T-shirts.”

There’s “good news” though!

The problem is easily solved by simple changes to experimental procedures. For example, since the effect of males’ presence diminishes over time, the male experimenter can stay in the room with the animals before starting testing.  At the very least, published papers should state the gender of the experimenter who performed the behavioral testing.

Hmm. I can think of a better solution. How about we not test on animals at all?! Yay!

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From flickr user Halfabear.

But seriously, animal testing is so flawed. First of all, I doubt these mice and rats aren’t generally stressed. So maybe they are going through these tests with super pain-resilience all the time. But that’s just one of a plethora of issues. Take a look at what one writer for the Guardian had to say:

I analysed in detail 27 systematic reviews examining the contributions of animal experiments to human healthcare. Their outcomes are remarkably consistent. Animal studies rarely contribute to the development of clinical interventions effective in human patients.

It’s not hard to fathom why. Animals have a plethora of genetic, biochemical and physiological differences that alter disease progression, drug uptake, distribution and effect. Stressful environments and experiments are common, and distort outcomes. Additionally, numerous studies have revealed scientific flaws in the design of many animal experiments.

The moral of the story: ANIMALS AREN’T PEOPLE. They respond to treatments and experiments differently! And while some studies may save human lives, check this out: 

Modern drugs are more carefully studied than ever before. After lengthy tests on animals, those considered safe, and potentially effective, enter very limited human trials. About 92% are then weeded out and deemed unsafe or ineffective.

The remaining 8% are some of the most closely scrutinised compounds on the planet. You might be forgiven, therefore, for assuming they are safe. But at least 39 studies over three decades have ranked adverse drug reactions as an important cause of hospital deaths. Only heart disease, cancer and stroke are more reliably lethal.

Slate chimes in too: 

just how often do animal tests predict side effects in humans? Surprisingly, although it is central to the legitimacy of animal testing, only a dozen or so scholars over the past 30 years have explored this question. The results, such as they are, have been somewhat discouraging. One of the scientists, Ralph Heywood, stated in 1989 that “there is no reliable way of predicting what type of toxicity will develop in different species to the same compound.” The concordance between man and animal toxicity tests, he said, assessing three decades of studies on the subject, was somewhere below 25 percent. “Toxicology,” concluded Heywood, “is a science without a scientific underpinning.”

Dude. If the main argument is that animal testing saves human lives, I say we have a problem. I can go on—or rather PCRM can—but the point is, animal testing is not the great life-saving necessary evil it’s painted to be.

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Fun with false dichotomies. 

But whether it saves human lives or not, the bottom line is it’s just not ethical. To be honest, I do care more about people than animals. If I could only save a human baby or a puppy—in some bizarre world where I ever actually have to make this choice—I would pick the baby. I’m not totally sure why but I think I would. BUT just because I value humans more than animals, I don’t think that means we can just do whatever we want to animals. Feel free to correct my reasoning but the way I think about it is like how I, without a doubt, care more about my sister than your sister. If one of them had to die, I would rather it was your sister. Truthbomb. But I don’t think that means we should go doing experiments on your sister because it might save my sister’s life! 

Thinking that another being is lesser and therefore you can do with them what you will is exactly why people did horrible experiments on jewish captives in nazi Germany or people of color in America. It’s just wrong. 

02/06/2014

Breaking news: animal testing may soon be required by law in the US!  »

Last night, Tashina Combs posted a devastating piece on Logical Harmony about the possible state of animal testing on beauty products in the United States. The thought of more unnecessary animal testing, of it being required by law on all personal care products, is heartbreaking. The eloquent breakdown of the difficult-to-decipher wording that Logical Harmony provides of The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act is extraordinary; again, please check out the blog post here. Tashina also provides tips for what we can do to make our voices heard on this very important issue. She points out that not only will animals be harmed, but also the small vegan businesses that strive so hard to bring us cruelty-free beauty and body products! 

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No animal testing or ingredients on this counter! Wait, is Tom’s of Maine iffy? Do we use Tom’s of Maine? 

Please, please, please check out Logical Harmony’s post on the subject. There is no way I could do her article justice by trying to summarize it, so I’m not going to. However, let’s read it, share it, and make ourselves heard! NO to increasing animal testing in the United States! No no no! 

03/08/2013

Cosmetic animal testing banned in the European Union!  »

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That’s right! As of March 11, “the marketing, import, and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients will no longer be legal in the EU.” Congratulations to PCRM, who did a lot of work lobbying for the ban, and here’s to passing a similar ban in the U.S. Cosmetics don’t need to be tested on animals any longer. Science has moved beyond it; here’s hoping we can move society beyond it, too.

[Photo by Ahmad Hashim via Flickr]

02/20/2013

Tons of mice die needlessly for health testing. Thanks, science  »

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It’s no secret that loads of mice (literally hundreds of thousands) have been sacrificed to science for “research” purposes to help cure all kinds of human ailments. This has always been a tricky subject for vegans, because, you know, it’s medical ethics, duh. But it turns out that a new study recently reported in the New York Times suggests that all those mice very likely died in vain.

The bottom line of the study is that billions of dollars have been wasted and, like, mice cancer and heart disease is different from people cancer and heart disease. I know the precautionary principle is a moot point when it comes to mice when you’re a big fancy scientist being backed by a big fancy drug company, but I strongly believe that we shouldn’t just kill mice before we’re, you know, sure about this stuff. And it turns out people weren’t. At all. And now those mice are looking down on us from mouse heaven except there is no mouse heaven and oh I’m crying now so just excuse me while I leave out some peanut butter for the neighbors’ mice.

[Photo by Andrew via Flickr]

01/10/2013

U.S. military must stop medical animal tests!  »

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In its medical training courses, the United States military uses (read: kills) over 7,500 animals every year. This is unnecessary and pretty gross. Of course, the military industrial complex is terrifying (hi, FISA extension!), the official and covert wars conducted in our name are horrific (hey Afghanistan! what’s up, CIA drones?), and the way we treat our veterans is shameful (sorry, dogs; at least there’s IAVA?). But at least we won’t be paying for people to torture pigs and goats, right? Per PCRM:

The massive National Defense Authorization Act, approved last month by the Senate and House of Representatives, contains a provision that calls on the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress by March 1, 2013, on a strategy, including a detailed timeline, for replacing the use of animals with human-based methods. Last night, the president signed the bill into law.

So they’re not going to immediately stop so much as make a plan for stopping, eventually.  Still, better than letting it go on indefinitely, funded by our tax dollars. Isn’t it nice when the government helps ease the burden of complex, tacit social hypocrisy involved in trying live a cruelty-free life?

[Photo by thechoserebel via Flickr]

12/05/2012

Good news, everyone: Urban Decay says it will remain cruelty-free  »

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Thanks, peta2, for contacting Urban Decay and demanding answers following last week’s announcement that L’Oréal had bought the beloved cruelty-free cosmetics company. Peta2 reports that Urban Decay has “assured PETA in writing that its animal testing policy will not change.”

Are you relieved? I am really relieved. Also super-happy to have an excuse to post a photo of happy bunnies. Cosmetic animal testing is for the jerkiest jerks.

[Photo by Mark Philpott via Flickr]

11/28/2012

Pro or con: L’Oréal buys Urban Decay  »


Vegansaurus loves makeup, though we of course only support vegan makeup companies, because duh. Urban Decay makes vegan makeup that is high quality and totally gorgeous;  wearing it makes you look and feel fantastic, for reasons both superficial and profound.

Today, however, devilish old L’Oréal announced that it has acquired Urban Decay. Now, Urban Decay has been owned by luxury brands LVMH and the Falic Group, before being sold to a private equity fund, so it’s not like it’s been sitting alone on a pedestal making sparkly vegan eyeshadow since 1996. And L’Oréal did partner with the U.S. EPA earlier this year to work on eliminating animal testing, however hard you have to side-eye the world’s biggest cosmetics conglomerate promising no more bunny torture to make mascara.

Companies need capital to keep going. We want Urban Decay to continue to produce its wonderful products, create new ones, and make us all pretty without harming animals. A notoriously wicked parent company doesn’t mean all the brands under its umbrella will be wicked, too. What do you think? Will you still buy Urban Decay? Could this push L’Oréal toward ending its animal-cruelty practices sooner? That’d be the best outcome, but how realistic is it?

11/01/2012

Life as a lab animal is the worst: Thousands of NYU’s test rodents drowned this week  »


Despite being “one of the largest and most valuable [collection of carefully bred rodents] of its kind in the country,” the thousands of mice and rats living in a cellar in New York University’s Smilow Research Center drowned in the Sandy-related flooding that began on Monday night. The New York Times reports that while most of the test-subject animals housed at the Smilow Center were rescued, workers could not save something like 10,000 rats and mice.

But don’t worry:

Already scientists at two research centers, the University of Pennsylvania and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, have pledged to donate animals to restart some of the Smilow center’s colonies. “That’s the one really positive thing to come out of this,” Dr. Fishell said. “Individuals in the research community, who in most businesses would be considered my competitors, have been eager to help.”

Phew! I know I’m relieved our scientists can get back to torturing those animals in the name of humanity ASAP.

[Photo by Pockafwye via Flickr]

05/04/2012

Lush’s new anti-animal-testing campaign is more powerful, less exploitative than PETA  »


Via Ecouterre, we learn of this shocking new ad campaign from Lush, meant to make explicit the horrors of animal testing by using a LIVE (simulated) NUDE GIRL in place of the non-human animal subject. This window display, featuring vegan performance artist Jacqueline Trades, debuted at Lush’s Regent Street store in London on April 25. It coincides with this Fight Animal Testing site and European Union-centered petition.

What does your Vegansaurus think about it? We’re divided!

Meave says:
It’s very PETA, no? I find it significantly less obnoxious than those “Sexxxy ladies in lettuce-leaf bikinis” or whatever outfits for PETA. This is more freak ‘em out than make ‘em want to fuck you, which is appropriate, because animal testing is horrific and should be treated as such. I take issue with the subject of the testing being a nearly naked woman. The female body is 100 percent commodified in Western society, and I don’t think that this campaign recontextualizes it enough to desexualize it, which is to say, as awful as the tests the “scientists” are simulating performing on her, I see “naked lady” before I see “human-as-animal test subject,” and that bothers me.

I wonder how much PETA has ruined the shock value of substituting a human body for an animal’s. PETA uses conventionally attractive (by Occidental standards) female bodies in varying states of undress for essentially every campaign; is it PETA’s fault now I can’t look at this girl without thinking about all the meat-eating, leather-wearing celebrities in the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” posters, or women wearing only saran wrap? I hate animal testing, but I also hate the exploitation of any body. On the other hand, how many of the products I slap on my face every day exploited animal bodies before they got to my makeup case?* Because you worked with a performance artist, I think you do win this one, Lush. Sign the petition!

Jenny says:
This is pretty horrific, but in an avant-garde kind of artsy way. I mean, just looking at these images is grossing me out, but I can’t stop. Oh those activists, always putting themselves on the line for their causes. And hey, look how much attention and signatures it garnered (nearly 200,000 as of Wednesday night)! Yep, here’s the deal — I’m into it. As long as I don’t have to be the one in the store window, yo.

Isn’t it crazy how art will bring out such intense emotion?! Isn’t it great to really FEEL something? So tell us, what do you guys think? How does this make you feel?

*Actually none, I am a careful makeup consumer.

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