About 150 million animals per year in various experiments. Testing of medicines, cosmetics, household chemicals, military and space research, medical training – this is an incomplete list of the reasons for their death. The competition “Science without Cruelty” ended in Moscow: schoolchildren in their essays, poems and drawings spoke out against conducting experiments on animals.
There have always been opponents of animal experiments, but society really took up the problem only in the last century. According to the EU, more than 150 million animals per year die in experiments: 65% in drug testing, 26% in basic scientific research (medicine, military and space research), 8% in testing cosmetics and household chemicals, 1% during the educational process . This is official data, and the real state of affairs is even difficult to imagine – 79% of countries where animal experiments are conducted do not keep any records. Vivisection has assumed a monstrous and often senseless scope. What is worth testing cosmetics. After all, it is not for the sake of saving one life that another life is sacrificed, but for the sake of the pursuit of beauty and youth. Experiments on rabbits are inhuman, when solutions used in shampoos, mascara, household chemicals are instilled into their eyes, and they observe how many hours or days the chemistry will corrode the pupils.
The same senseless experiments are carried out in medical schools. Why drip acid on a frog, if any schoolboy can predict the reaction even without experience – the frog will pull back its paw.
“In the educational process, there is an accustoming to blood, when an innocent being must be sacrificed. It affects a person’s career. Cruelty cuts off truly humane people who seek to help people and animals. They just walk away, faced with brutality already in their freshman year. According to statistics, science loses a lot of specialists precisely because of the ethical side. And those who remain are accustomed to irresponsibility and cruelty. A person can do anything to an animal without any control. I’m talking about Russia now, because there is no regulatory law here, ”says Konstantin Sabinin, project manager at the VITA Animal Rights Protection Center.
To convey to people information about humane education and alternative methods of research in science is the goal of the “Science without Cruelty” competition, which was jointly held by the Vita Animal Rights Center, the International Community for Humane Education InterNICHE, the International Association against Painful Experiments on Animals IAAPEA, British union for the abolition of vivisection BUAV and the German Society “Physicians Against Animal Experiments” DAAE.
On April 26, 2010, in Moscow, at the Biological Department of the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation, an awards ceremony was held for the winners of the school competition “Science Without Cruelty”, organized by the Vita Animal Rights Center in collaboration with a number of international organizations advocating for animal rights and the abolition of vivisection.
But the very idea of the competition came from ordinary school teachers, puzzled by the moral education of children. Special lessons were held at which children were shown the films “Human Education” and “Experimental Paradigm”. True, the last film was not shown to all children, but only in high school and fragmentarily – there were too many bloody and cruel documentaries. Then the children discussed the problem in class and with their parents. As a result, several thousand works were sent to the competition in the nominations “Composition”, “Poem”, “Drawing” and in the nomination “Poster”, formed in the process of summing up. In total, schoolchildren from 7 countries, 105 cities and 104 villages took part in the competition.
If it was a difficult task for those who came to the ceremony to read all the essays, then it was possible to consider the drawings decorating the walls of the conference hall at the Russian Academy of Sciences, where the awards ceremony was held.
Somewhat naive, colored or drawn in simple charcoal, like the work of competition winner Christina Shtulberg, children’s drawings conveyed all the pain and disagreement with senseless cruelty.
The winner in the “Composition” nomination, a student of the 7th grade of the Altai school Losenkov Dmitry told how long he had been working on the composition. Collected information, was interested in the opinion of people around him.
“Not all classmates supported me. Perhaps the reason is the lack of information or education. My goal is to convey information, to tell that animals should be treated kindly,” says Dima.
According to his grandmother, who came with him to Moscow, they have six cats and three dogs in their family, and the main motive for upbringing in the family is that man is a child of nature, not her master.
Such competitions are a good and correct initiative, but first of all, the problem itself needs to be solved. Konstantin Sabinin, project manager of the VITA Animal Rights Protection Center, began to discuss the existing alternatives to vivisection.
— In addition to supporters and defenders of vivisection, there are a huge number of people who simply do not know about the alternatives. What are the alternatives? For example, in education.
“There are many alternative ways to completely abandon vivisection. Models, three-dimensional models on which there are indicators that determine the correctness of the doctor’s actions. You can learn from all this without harming the animal and without disturbing your peace of mind. For example, there is a wonderful “dog Jerry”. It is programmed with a library of all types of dog breathing. She can “cure” a closed and open fracture, perform an operation. Indicators will show if something goes wrong.
After working on simulators, the student works with the corpses of animals that died of natural causes. Then clinical practice, where you first need to watch how doctors work, then assist.
— Are there manufacturers of alternative materials for education in Russia?
– There is interest, but there is no production yet.
— And what alternatives are there in science? After all, the main argument is that drugs can only be tested on a living organism.
– The argument smacks of cave culture, it is picked up by those people who understand little about science. It is important for them to take a seat on the pulpit and pull the old strap. The alternative is in cell culture. More and more specialists in the world come to the conclusion that animal experiments do not give an adequate picture. The data obtained is not transferable to the human body.
The most horrific consequences were after the use of thalidomide – a sedative for pregnant women. Animals perfectly tolerated all the studies, but when the drug began to be used by people, 10 thousand babies were born with malformed limbs or no limbs at all. A monument to the victims of Thalidomide was erected in London.
There is a huge list of drugs that have not been transferred to humans. There is also the opposite effect – cats, for example, do not perceive morphine as an anesthetic. And the use of cells in research gives a more accurate result. The alternatives are effective, reliable and economical. After all, the study of drugs on animals is about 20 years and millions of dollars. And what is the result? Risk to people, death of animals and money laundering.
— What are the alternatives in cosmetics?
– What are the alternatives, if since 2009 Europe has completely banned the testing of cosmetics on animals. Moreover, since 2013, a ban on the import of tested cosmetics will begin to operate. Makeup is the worst thing ever. For the sake of pampering, for the sake of fun, hundreds of thousands of animals are killed. It is not necessary. And now there is a parallel trend for natural cosmetics, and it is not necessary to test it.
15 years ago, I didn’t even think about all this. I knew, but did not regard it as a problem, until a veterinarian friend showed me what my wife’s cream consists of – it contained dead parts of animals. At the same time, Paul McCartney defiantly abandoned Gillette products. I began to learn, and I was struck by the volumes that exist, these figures: 150 million animals per year die in experiments.
– How can you find out which company tests on animals and which does not?
There are also lists of firms. Much is sold in Russia, and you can completely switch to the products of companies that do not use animals in experiments. And this will be the first step towards humanity.