While shampooing your hair have you ever stopped to think about how many rabbits were blinded to test that your product didn’t make your eyes tear? When you take that aspirin or daily vitamin do you think of how many monkeys were overdosed to find out potential side effects? When doing your laundry do you think of how many mice were doused with bleach to find how it affected your skin? Probably not, because these are not things that we as people are conscious of. To many of us it doesn’t matter who or what has suffered so we can have the luxuries that we enjoy. Just like how we don’t like to think of the children in sweat shops making our trendy clothes. In some situations it’s simply that people don’t realize the horrors that go into making the things they use every day. This is the story of the plight of defenseless creatures who are tortured to “advance” medicine, beauty and cleaning products. It is told from the point of view of an undercover reporter who gains employment in an animal testing firm to research what happens in them.


Being undercover was my favorite way to get a story. Yea, research is great, but experiencing something first hand is the way to go. No outside biases or sugar coated explanations, only hard, cold facts. When I got the assignment to do a piece on the truth about animal testing, I knew the only way I could truly know was to go in and find out myself. I did some research and found a testing company that was looking for employees to help in their lab. I knew that this was my opportunity to get in and explore the world of animal experimentation. I applied and got the job. Monday morning rolled around and I began outfitting myself with my tape recorder and a hat video recorder that I had bummed off a colleague. I had done some background research, looking at some PETA website and laughed it off; there was no way that the companies could be as bad as they made them seem, crazy PETA folks just exaggerating again.
I got to the testing lab and walked inside, “Hello I’m the new lab tech. Can you point me in the right direction?”
The security guard looked me up and down and said to his partner, “Hmm, she looks like she has a heart, she’ll last a few days.” He grinned and led me back into the building. “This is where they do the government testing…If you last here for a few months you’ll probably end up in there.” We kept walking by as I faintly heard barking and mewing. “This is the Medical testing building. Last week a monkey escaped from in there. This is where they test pet foods. Beauty, cleaning and other consumer products are tested here; this is where you will start.”

I looked at the windowless, probably soundproof door and thanked the guard. I opened the door and was instantly taken aback by what I saw. There were rows and rows of tiny cages filled with every animal you could think of. Dogs, cats, birds, mice, frogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, to name a few. For some reason it was eerily quiet, for so many animals there was barely a sound except for the quiet shifting or ruffling of feathers. As I looked around I quickly checked my hat to make sure the video was running and turned on my tape recorder. A young man in a lab coat walked up to me with a smile on his face, “Hello, you must be the new lab tech. I’m James, the head tech here.”

“Hi, I’m Rita.” I shook his hand as I kept looking around. One of the dogs near me sniffed and made a strained bark, before I could even register the sound James was right next to the cage yelling at the dog before he opened the latch and slapped the dog. I was mortified, It was a beagle puppy. All it did was greet me into its world, an action that did not warrant any sort of punishment. I looked at James again.

“See, they know to behave, that’s why it’s so nice and quiet in here. Actually we cut their vocal chords, it is really annoying to hear them making noise all the time, that puppy is going to get his done today.” He grinned at me. “Ok, so today we are going to be testing some beauty and cleaning supplies. It is called a lethal dose or LD50 test. We test to see what concentration of a solution kills 50% of the subjects we test so we can rate its toxicity. Follow me.” He led me back to a room filled with rabbits. There were rows of cages set up, then a table that had some sort of contraption on it, and a row of shampoos, detergents and cleaning liquids. “Alright I’m going to show you once how to do this, then you are going to go ahead and test the rest, ok?” I nodded and watched as he took one of the rabbits out of its cage. He put it on the table and locked its head into the contraption. He then stuck a feeding tube into the rabbit’s mouth. I had to cover my ears as the rabbit let out what I can only describe as a scream. The other rabbits turned away in their cages. I sensed that they wanted to ignore the fact that they too would soon face the same fate. I cringed as I watched him pick up a bottle of bleach, the same bleach I use to do my laundry. He poured about a cup into the feeding tube without even a moments warning. The rabbit started frantically straining against the neck restraint as the liquid was pumped into its stomach. James just stood there and clinically took notes as the rabbit squirmed on the table, in obvious pain.

I couldn’t take it; I was so stunned and disgusted. I suddenly felt horribly ill as I smelled the bleach; I looked around and found a trash can to throw up in. James, without even looking up said, “Well, you’re a tough one, most people pass out when they first see it. After today you should be used to it. Plus, it’s not like they have feelings or anything, they are just animals and this is important research.” He went back to writing his observations as I watched the rabbit on the table slowly lose its strength and stop struggling. The rabbit began convulsing and a horrible caustic smell wafted through the room. James took some final notes before he pulled the rabbit from the restraint and tossed it into a bin on the other side of the room.

“Did it die?” I asked, suddenly heartbroken.

“Well we usually check back in a few minutes but, let’s see. He went and opened the bin. He took the rabbit out by a leg and took its pulse. “Eh, it’s still alive.” He said as he tossed it back into the bin.

“So you’re not going to put it down or anything? You just toss it into the bin and let it die in there?” I was taken aback, how could this be legal?

“Yeah, the drugs to put them down are expensive so we let them die of natural causes. The worst is when they stay alive for a while in there, they make such a mess.” He put the lid down and shook his head, must have brought up some memory. “OK, your turn.” He picked up a bottle of shampoo; one of those trendy herbal ones that everyone thinks is good for you and eco friendly.

I then proceeded to do the test. It took all of my professionalism to do it, but I stuck out my post for the rest of the day. After lunch they assigned me to the medical testing lab where I watched as they tested a new hearing aid by taking a baby monkey and sewing its eyes shut, implanting the aid on its head and separating it from its mother. From across the room the mother screamed for her offspring, but apparently the aid didn’t work. The baby just desperately wandered around, now deaf and blind. I thought for sure that this test would be ended, but for some reason they decided to continue it to see if the results changed. I knew that in order to make any sort of change through my piece, I would have to keep up the act. For three months I stayed, and watched countless animals die horrifically painful deaths. At night I would go home and have nightmares of the smells, sounds and sights of that day. By my 61st day there, they assigned me to the government testing lab, where I watched as dogs were used to test the effects of new biological warfare.

By this time I had participated in horrible acts of torture. I was encouraged to torment the animals that were waiting to be tested in order to keep them quiet. I watched as obvious acts of animal abuse were carried out by the workers. And I saw countless animals left to suffer for hours and even days on end before they died. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that I would have enough information by the end to stop this practice forever. After seeing my footage there was no way that this could continue to be legal. Finally, when I knew I had enough solid footage, I quit and began working on my piece. I finished it in record time and urgently gave it to my editor. It was run on several big news stations and written up in a few newspapers. PETA bought my footage for a super bowl commercial that was later banned for being inappropriate. In the end, it disturbed a few people, but no laws were passed to change things. A few people started actually looking at their labels to see if the products they used were tested on animals, but most just shrugged it off, rationalizing that they weren’t hurting anything by buying their favorite brand of shampoo.


This story is one that has actually played out in real life. There have been many reporters and animal activists who have gone in undercover to animal testing labs and gotten similar footage, yet we still see no regulation on experimentation. The saddest part is that there are many alternatives out there, especially for beauty and cleaning supply tests. Government and medical tests that are preformed are often pointless, and kill thousands of animals for no reason. We need to look for alternatives, and as consumers demand that our companies stop testing on animals. By supporting those that do not test on animals we make a huge impact for the creatures of nature. Some of the situations described in the story may seem absurd and made up, but the topic was well researched and all of the above cases have been documented in real life. To learn more about animal testing and to see some undercover footage please visit any of the links below. Educate yourself and make a difference in the lives of millions of animals.

Animal testing costs the American public over $136 billion annually and the average American family pays more than $300 dollars a year. Alternatives cost a significantly less amount and produce far better results. Humans and animals are different in many ways. Many drugs approved for human use based on animal studies have had to be taken off the market at a later date because of side effects not revealed in animal studies. Between 25 and 50 billion animals are meaninglessly killed in laboratories each year.