Animals Deserve Better

Two things I want you to remember:

  1. Over 820,800 lives each year.
  2. All of those lives are not protected under federal law so the cruelty they endure is legal.

I graduated from OSU in 2016. During my time there, I worked closely with university staff to alleviate animal suffering on campus. As a Campus Representative for PETA, I was shocked to learn that more than 95,000 mice and rate were being held on campus in (nothing less than) cruel conditions. Did you know that laboratory animals are not protected under federal law? The cruelty that exists in animal experimentation is truly horrific.

"Each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly 820,800 guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and other animals covered by the Animal Welfare Act are used in research in the United States; of those, about 71,370 are subjected to unalleviated pain. These stats don’t track the millions of mice and rats that are used in lab experiments and excluded from the animal protection law (although the rodents are covered by other federal regulations)." (*) 

Learning that thousands of animals were living in misery and pain - on a campus I called home - was incredibly heart-wrenching. PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department data has reported that: 1) a mouse in a campus laboratory was left unmonitored in high temperatures and ultimately died, 2) twelve newborn mice were found alive in a refrigerator meant for dead animals after staff failed to confirm that they were euthanized, and 3) inspectors discovered mice and rats stashed in a laboratory cupboard with no food or water.

Animals experience pain and fear, just as humans do. Subjecting them to cruel experiments, living a life filled only with pain, is beyond disturbing. Heartless treatment existed (and still exists) on the OSU campus. The labs are concealed. Kept secret. I firmly believe that other students would be just as shocked and horrified if they uncover what I learned.

Animals are being bred for the sole purpose of being killed and cut open for a grade. How is this an acceptable standard? Don’t we have a moral and ethical obligation to stand up for the weak? We fortunately live in a time where technology is progressing rapidly. Virtual dissections – an online approach to dissection - teaches students anatomy in a more efficient and humane manner. A computerized method is just as effective (and less expensive). Students should at least have the option to opt out of the animal dissections OR be afforded an appropriate substitute. Providing alternatives would give students (like myself) a peace-of-mind when signing up for science classes. 

What can you do? When buying household products and cosmetics, make sure to only buy cruelty-free (vegan) products and to avoid supporting companies and brands that continue to subject animals to these awful experiments. Cruelty-free brands and products are on the rise and easier to find now more than ever. Check for the Leaping Bunny logo and the PETA approved logo on the back of packaging. If you’re a student at Ohio State or any university or school, ask your professor for an alternative assignment rather than dissecting an animal. Explain why it is cruel and unnecessary.

We all have the power to create change.  We have an opportunity to save the lives of millions of animals and each of us can make a noticeable difference in the world around us. Universities across the country have altered their requirements for classroom dissection because of student demand ... it’s time for every university to alter their requirements.