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My Life in a Laboratory

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Posted November 10, 2015 by Kim Johnson

Hi. My name is Rabbit 32*. I’m one of more than 170,000 rabbits who will be killed in U.S. laboratories this year for cruel experiments and product testing.

rabbit standing up with his front paws on the bars of the cage

 

Here in the laboratory, animals like me don’t get names, just numbers. That’s because the humans who experiment on us think of us as tools—not individuals with feelings. Experimenters like to use rabbits in their painful tests because we’re small, gentle, and easy to handle.

rabbit animal testing

Outside the laboratory, many rabbits like me get to hang out with other animals and humans, but instead of hurting them, these humans pet their fur softly and give them treats and scratches on their ears. It makes me sad to think that I’ll never get to live in a warm house or snuggle with other rabbit friends or humans—or even know any kindness or affection at all from a human.

I’ve spent my whole life alone inside a cramped, empty metal cage, often for weeks or months at a time.

Testing

Experimenters poison me in order to see what happens when a high dose of a chemical is given to an animal. Many rabbits in the cages around me have died because of these excruciatingly painful tests. I’m scared and in pain, and I wish this would stop.

During another test, they put me in a restraining device so that I can’t move, then they force chemicals into my eyes, which burns them and hurts so much. They also scrape my skin and spread harsh chemicals onto it. The experimenters watch to see how long it takes for the chemicals to burn my eyes or my skin and to see the damage that they’ve caused. 

Rabbit in Lab With Yellow Eyes

They leave the chemicals on me for up to two weeks and don’t give me any painkillers. I wish they would make it stop hurting, but instead, they just take notes as the substances burn me and I scream in pain.

During and after the tests, my skin sometimes bleeds and swells. Other times, my insides hurt, my eyes swell up, or scabs form on my back. My eyes are cloudy now, and they always hurt. Some of my friends have already gone blind because of the tests, and I’m afraid that I will, too.

animal testing rabbit

After they finish torturing me, I’ll probably be killed without ever getting to have a single moment of happiness. I’ve seen experimenters cut up the bodies of other rabbits that they’ve killed, and I’m so scared. I don’t want to suffer anymore, and I don’t want to die. The products they test on me include things like soap, shampoo, household cleaners, and makeup—all of which can be safely made WITHOUT testing chemicals on me. 

The Law

There’s no law in the U.S. that says that these products need to be tested on animals like me. In fact, in some countries it’s ILLEGAL to test products on us. But lots of companies, like Johnson & Johnson, ChapStick, Revlon, and Secret, still perform or pay for horrible tests on animals. Chemical companies test on animals like me, too, even though there are many reliable, superior, non-animal test methods available.

companies that test

Why Do These Tests?

There’s no reason to test a chemical on an animal. There are plenty of other tests out there that don’t hurt animals and are more reliable than animal tests. One test uses a model of human skin grown in test tubes, which is made from real human skin cells, so the results can better predict how a chemical will affect a human. Animal-test results usually can’t be applied to humans because we react to substances differently.

What You Can Do

Rabbits aren’t the only animals who are tested on in laboratories. Mice, rats, guinea pigs, and other animals are poisoned and killed in cruel product tests, and monkeys, cats, and dogs are also used and killed in other painful experiments in the U.S. every year. You can help end this suffering by buying cruelty-free products and avoiding any products that have been tested on animals like me. Will you help me and the millions of other animals who suffer every day in cruel and deadly tests?

companies-that-dont-test-im

Not sure how to tell if a product is cruelty-free? Look for the PETA bunny logo on the package, check PETA’s cruelty-free database, or e-mail [email protected]. You can also order a cruelty-free shopping guide.

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*This is not the story of one specific rabbit in a laboratory. The facts in this feature are based on the experiences of many different rabbits used in laboratory tests.

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