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April 10, 2012 at 11:16 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

A Day in the Life of a Laboratory Dog

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

There are many types of animal experimentation done for different types of research. This blog will focus on the "beauty" industry of cosmetics and animal testing.

In order to discuss the use of animals in laboratory and experimental facilities, I thought it was important to better understand what a typical day in the life of a cosmetic tested laboratory animal is like.

Disclaimer: The story you are about to read does not reflect any particular animal or laboratory, but rather it is a story I have crafted based on research in order to raise awareness on how animals are treated at cosmetic laboratories.

A Day in the Life of a Laboratory Dog

7:00 am - I wake up to the sound of footsteps clanking down the cold corridor. I am scared and cower in the back corner hoping they don't pick me today. There are no windows where I live, no grass to play on, and no toys to amuse myself with. I cannot smell fresh air, but only the smells of chemicals, pain and death.

7:30 am - I hear the other dogs whining and whimpering, as food is being put in the cages. Sometimes they don't feed us depending on what type of experiment is being scheduled for the day. Today, unfortunately, they do not feed me, so I begin to panic, as I know something awful is going to happen to me today.

8:00 am - The man in the dark blue lab suit is opening my cage, hooking me to a leash. I am very frightened, for every time he comes and takes me, I feel pain, unbearable and excruciating pain.

8:10 am - As we walk down the ice-cold corridor, I glance and look at the other dogs in their cages. They quickly scurry to the back corners, tails tucked in-between their legs, with their heads hanging low, their eyes shifting away from any type of contact with me and the man.

8:30 am - He brings me into a different part of the building, the door behind us shuts tight. It isn't going to be a good day for me, but again, there never really is a good day for me here in this musty lab. I am chained to a wall in a cold cellar with a cement floor. The man walks away and I pee as I can't hold it anymore, my head hanging toward the ground in shame and embarrassment.

9:30 am - A woman appears before me, with a tray full of needles in her hands. I've seen these before, and remember the pain they cause - not just the injection itself, for the after-effects are the worst part. I begin shivering as the entire lab seems to be made of cold cement walls.

9:45 am - I hear the man telling the woman that "acute toxicity poisoning" will be performed on me today. I am starting to shake as they near closer to me. They look at me with blank expressions on their face, no compassion in their eyes.

9:55 am - I am given a near-lethal dose (50%) of acute toxicity poison. It hurts as they give me the shot. I whimper in pain, but they say nothing to comfort me.

10:00 am They leave me as I stay chained to the wall in this cold cellar. I shake and cower, afraid they might come back.

10:40 am - After dozing to sleep, I wake up to my body convulsing, barely able to breathe. I blurrily see the man and woman standing in front of me with a clipboard, ferociously taking notes, as I twist and turn in utter pain.

10:45 am - My eyes start to burn and my body is in pain. Why do they do this to me? Why!? I only want to be loved, have an owner, and chase a ball and play in the grass with some kids. What did I do to deserve this?

11:00 am - I hear them discuss how this will help them learn about the toxics in cosmetics. I am in so much pain right now. I hurt everywhere as I begin to vomit.

11:15 am - A different man comes and removes me from this cellar, they hose me down, leaving me cold, stiff, sick, and wanting to go to sleep and never wake up, but the pain is so unbearable I can't even close my eyes.

11:30 am - I am walked back into the room where the other dogs and I are kept, each dog quickly runs to the back of their cages and cowers, hoping, just hoping, they are not next in line to go through the door.

11:35 am - I am put back into my cold cage that has no windows, no blanket, just a cement floor to lie down on. I continue to vomit (only bile, since I was not fed). I lay there in agony, whimpering, hoping they will give me something for this pain, anything to take it away.

12:45 pm - Every 30 minutes someone stands in front of my cage and writes something on a clipboard. They monitor my heart rate, and more needles are stuck in my weak, defeated body, taking my blood, again and again. I willing give them my paw each time, never putting up a fight. I am too sick to even try.

6:00 pm - Still no pain meds to take these convulsions away, to ease my breathing, or to eliminate the pain in my eyes. I tremble and am still laboring in each breath I take, as another person in a lab suit finishes his diagnose on me. I am finally given some water, but he says nothing to me.

6:05 pm - Lights out. Tomorrow will be another day.

Why is cosmetic testing done on animals?

According to the cosmetic industry, cosmetic testing on animals is done to ensure safety and to prevent hypoallergenic ingredients of products from being used by humans.

Where does the U.S. stand on this?

The United States and Japan still feel there is a strong need to experiment and test on animals to further their scientific data on cosmetics.

This type of animal testing is banned by majority of the European Union and is protested by animal rights activist groups and others.

What types of animals are used?

Many different animals are used, not just dogs. Cats, mice, rats, primates, pigs, and many others suffer and endure all different types of cosmetic testing to benefit the world of "beauty."

Are there alternatives to using animals for testing?

YES, there are!!!

  • In-Vitro screens provided by CeeTox
  • Cell culture and tissue engineering is being used more and more
  • Episkin®, which resembles the human skin is another alternative

Where do the research facilities get their animals from?

Many laboratory animals are born into the facility. However, dealers known as "Class B Dealers," purchase pets, steal them from yards, pick up strays, and even respond to online ads that mention "FREE TO GOOD HOME," to sell to research facilities and laboratories.

What can I do to stop the suffering?

Do you want to only purchase cosmetics that have not been tested on animals? Look for the "No Animal Testing" label (a universal symbol of a leaping rabbit with two shooting stars partially circling the rabbit.) However, some companies do not bear the logo on their products even though their products have not been tested on animals.

To find out if the cosmetic products you use are free from animal testing, click here PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals).

According to the HSUS (Human Society of the United States) here are other steps you can take to help end the suffering of animals being used for testing:

  1. Urge college campus laboratories to NOT use animals. Find out where your school stands on the use of animal experimentation.
  2. STOP buying cosmetic, hygiene and household products that companies use animals to test; to find out which companies do not participate in animal testing, click PETA.
  3. Push your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which will stop dealers/groups from going to shelters, auctions, and other places to get animals and ship them to laboratories.
  4. Urge your congressman to support the revolutionary Human Toxicology Project, which will help make animal testing obsolete.
  5. Contact research facilities that purchase dogs and cats from dealers, and ask them to stop using this outdated practice of obtaining animals.

Those are just a few ways you can help stop the suffering of animals being used in testing. Check out for more information on how you can help.

What are your thoughts about animal experimentation?

Photo Credit:

YoungJae-Park   KNOBBYKNEEz, SalmaZag, WSPA Canada, xcode


Cosmetic Animal Testing Pictures

Humane Society

FDA - Product Testing

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • I must admit - I teared up reading this and seeing the sad puppy pictures. :( If there's another way, then WHY isn't the government requiring it?!

  • This has got to stop! This is INHUMANE and definitely not needed. STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!

  • I hate how movies and TV always downplay cosmetics testing on animals as some kind of joke, showing a monkey wearing lipstick or a dog with blush and eye shadow. This is just messed up.

    @Erin: Yeah, there are alternatives, but you know how big businesses can be with lobbying power, and just think of how much money the fashion industry makes.

    This whole article also reminded me of a different kind of animal testing. It's equally inhumane (if not worse in some ways) but at the very least it's for medical training that can save lives - learning intubation for newborns to save their lives by practicing on cats.

    That's by no means a reason to justify the practice, but something as stupid as testing for cosmetics takes the wrongness to a whole new level.

  • I am against all animal testing, it is morally wrong in so many ways. The article discusses other alternatives to train these pediatricians in intubation instead of using cats, I am horrified as I read this article and it sickens me. It is wrong no matter what.

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