WARNING: This post contains very sad images. 🙁
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.
Here in the laboratory, bunnies like me don’t get real names, just numbers. That’s because the humans who experiment on us think of us as tools—not animals with feelings. Experimenters like using us in their painful experiments because we’re small, gentle, and easy to handle.
Some of the older rabbits in the cage next to me have told me that in the wild, rabbits hang out in large communities made up of their families and other rabbits, and they live in burrows, which are underground tunnels. It makes me sad to think that I’ll never get to hop around outside, eat fresh grass, or dig tunnels with my brothers and sisters—or even know my family at all.
I’ve spent my whole life in a small empty metal cage all alone for weeks or months at a time. I don’t even get to see any sunlight or breathe fresh air. People do tests on me and other rabbits in the lab. All we can do is sit in our cages, scared and lonely and worried about the next time we’ll be taken out to be tested on.
Tests that poison me are done to see what happens when a lot of one chemical is fed to an animal, like me, all at one time. Lots of my friends have even died because of these tests. I’m scared, and I wish this would stop.
During another test, they put me in a device that holds me down so I can’t move, then they drip chemicals into my eyes or spread them onto my skin. After that, the experimenters wait around and watch to see how long it will take for the chemicals to burn my eyes or my skin.
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 on what happens as the substance burns me and I scream in pain.
During and after the tests, I feel terrible. Sometimes my skin bleeds and gets puffy. 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 I will, too.
After they finish doing painful tests on me, I’ll probably be killed without ever getting to have a single moment of happiness. I don’t want to suffer anymore, and I don’t want to die—especially for something like soap, sunscreen, or shampoo.
There’s no law that says these products need to be tested on animals like me, but lots of companies, like Johnson & Johnson and Avon, still pay for painful tests on animals for their products. Chemical companies test on me, too. I wish the law would respect animals and make these painful and deadly tests illegal.
So what’s the point of these tests? There isn’t one! There are plenty of other tests out there that don’t hurt animals—there is no reason to use animals in a test. One of them is a model of human skin, which is made from real human skin cells, so the results are more trustworthy. Animal tests usually can’t be applied to humans because animals and humans react to substances differently, which means the results of most animal tests aren’t reliable.
Bunnies aren’t the only animals who are tested on in laboratories. Millions of other animals, including mice, rats, monkeys, guinea pigs, and even cats and dogs, are used in cruel and painful experiments in the U.S. every year. The best way to help end this suffering is to buy cruelty-free products and avoid any products that have been tested on animals like me.
*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.