What does the next generation think of today’s issues? The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program publishes Australian students mentored by TBS writers. Today, Bailey Mason (15) wonders why animal testing is still so common in modern times.
Student: Bailey Mason, 15
Mentor: Jordan Rivkin
It is compelling to know that in Australia each year, millions of animals are used for research and that many products which are designed for humans are first tested on defenceless animals.
Animal research is a practice that divides Australians. Animal researchers and supporters of the practice would argue that cruel experiments can lead to saving human lives and may even lead to a “cure for cancer” or some other illness. On the other hand, animal liberationists such as the group Animal Liberation would argue that this kind of research is senseless animal cruelty and that no animal deserves to be tortured even in the name of science. Even in the scientific community, it is debated whether animal research is truly necessary. Humane Research Australia is an Australian research organisation that is against animal experiments.
In Australia and New Zealand, over six million animals are used in research and teaching each year. Six million! Laboratories are filled with mice, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and even primates. The animals are often subjected to pain and stress. They are viewed as objects rather than living beings. Laboratory animals are cut into, poisoned, traumatised and restrained. Their bodies are manipulated.
Animal testing is a major issue and it’s widespread across Australia. Literally millions of products on shop shelves have been tested on innocent animals, and you might be aware of it, but you may not realise that there are animal-tested products in the majority of Australian homes, ranging from cosmetics, shampoos, to even our toothpaste.
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There is a misconception about what’s really happening to animals that are tested on for these products. The reality is that they’re not putting mascara on an animal’s eyelashes, but the harsh chemicals contained in the mascara – or whichever product is being tested – gets into the animal’s eyes and on its skin, while researchers watch to see whether a bad reaction happens.
All over social media, there are advertisements for big-name companies that do unthinkable things to animals. I think celebrity endorsements are really frustrating, because celebrities should not promote products tested on animals, but should promote cruelty-free products instead. In recent times, MAC, Victoria’s Secret and NARS have been targeted for allowing their products to be sold in China, where animal testing is mandatory.
We can all make a difference by refusing to donate to charities that fund animal experiments and we as consumers need to buy products that are cruelty-free. Choose Cruelty Free has information available to find cruelty-free products.
Animal laboratories are nothing but animal cruelty and they should no longer be supported. The first thing we need to do is at least realise that cruel animal research is happening in our country. Then we should speak up against it.
This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.
The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics and journalists with students who wish to write non-fiction articles and voice their opinions on what is shaping the nation.
For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.