Have you ever tortured an animal?

Are you sure? There are many ways in which we indirectly abuse animals.

If you’ve ever "dropped-off" an animal, been treated at the hospital, or used any of Gillette’s products to shave with, the chances are great that you have contributed to the abuse of an animal.


Animal Testing

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all new chemical products be tested. Many of these tests are performed on animals, in which the unfortunate creatures are forced to ingest or inhale such products as weed-killers, oven cleaners, cosmetics, and paint. For example, caustic chemicals may be forced into dogs’ eyes or smeared into the raw, shaved heads of rabbits.


Medical Testing

The medical field as well as corporations uses animals as test subjects. Here cats are burned to see if anti-infection vaccines will work to heal burns. Cancers are given to rats, dogs are blinded to see if their sight can be restored, and monkeys are given AIDS.


So have we prevented humans from using dangerous products? Has animal testing given us a miracle cure?

Although animal research has been instrumental in some research, it falls short in much. It has not produced a cure for the major diseases that plague our society. Furthermore, it is dangerous to generalize the experimental results from animal research to the treatment of human beings. Animals have different immense systems, heart rates, and so on. Several substances rejected by animal tests have been highly effective in the treatment of humans. Millions of dollars are spent on animal research in the cancer field; much of this money comes from taxes, yet cancer surgeons Guilford, Hastings, and Irwin admit that tests done on animals have not lead to one single advance in the treatment of cancer in humans.


Alternatives to Animal Testing

There are many alternatives to animal research. In recent years methods such as computer modeling and cell tissue culture have become popular. Some of the most effective advances in human safety and health research have been achieved through these methods


Seven to thirteen hundred animals are abandoned per county, per year in the U.S. Abandonment is a primary way in which animals are abused. Animals that have learned to rely on human care are released into a hostile environment in which they can no longer survive. Abandoned animals often starve or freeze to death.

Leading causes of abandonment


Pet owners often move to homes or apartments where animals are not allowed.

Animal pregnancy and over population

Many pet owners do not anticipate an animal pregnancy or have the resources to deal with it. Because the size of the pet population is not strongly regulated, it is often hard to find homes for a pets’ off-spring.


Many pet owners find that they are allergic to a pet only after they acquire it.

Preventive measures

1. Consider your living conditions before getting a pet. Where will you be living in two years?

2. Have your pet spayed or neutered.

3. Make sure in advance that you won’t be allergic to the pet you wish to own. What to do with a stray or unwanted animal


Call your local animal shelter. Animal shelters provide homes for animals until people who want them can be found. If you are looking for a pet, consider your local animal shelter. They are often over-filled with animals that need homes. If you like animals but are unable to have them, you might want to volunteer at your local shelter. As a volunteer you will be able to work closely and care for needy animals. Animal shelters rely on volunteer assistance and donations to continue to provide these essential services.

To find out what you can do to prevent animals from being abused, contact one of the following organizations:

The Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)
350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 01230

Write or boycott companies that use animal testing, such as Proctor and Gamble. For a list of these companies call

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
(301) 770-7444

Individual perspectives on animal cruelty

Written and produced by undergraduates of

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Psychology 217       Cruelty and Kindness: The Psychology of Good and Evil

Brian Berthiaume * Chris Corneille * Kathleen Forrest * Dave Funai * Melissa Nachmann * Tara Shugrue * Chris Tisdale

Faculty advisor: Ervin Staub, PhD              
Created 11/29/96

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