Green Ribbon Week aims to raise awareness about how replacing animal models with modern technologies increases the quality of medical research and spares animal lives.
The latest available Australian statistics reveal around 5 million animals are used in research and teaching each year. Animal research causes pain, suffering and death to animals, yielding results of minimal if any relevance to humans. The biological differences between humans and animals often lead to potentially helpful medicines being overlooked, and moreover, often indicate harmful substances as being safe and effective for human use, as in the case of Thalidomide.
Given the opportunity, a majority of us would not support a charity that had a policy of animal testing (PCRM, 2007). However, most charities are less than forthcoming when it comes to broadcasting their involvement with animal experimentation, making their identification difficult. As a result, many well-intended people would be horrified to learn they may actually be funding animal experiments.
World Laboratory Animal Week (April 20-26) earmarks the Green Ribbon campaign. A symbol of support for non-animal research, the Green Ribbon is a catalyst for conversation to help focus the nation’s attention on the plight of animals in laboratories, and is an important reminder to the community about the health dangers of relying on animal experimentation.
Humane Charities co-ordinator Emma Burgess says “It is ludicrous that live animals are still being burned, poisoned and mutilated in research and teaching when elite technological methods can provide safer medicines, with less time and money, benefiting both humans and animals. If we want answers to human health problems, we need to study humans, not animals. Animal testing is highly unethical, a gross waste of resources and plain dangerous.”
www.humanecharities.org.au provides a list of ‘Humane Charities’ that do not engage in animal research. It is a resource for donors who wish to avoid inadvertently funding animal experimentation.