Forced to inhale cigarette smoke. Starved. Exposed to harsh chemicals. Frightened, isolated, and held captive. This is the life of the estimated 11 million animals used for scientific research in Australia. I recently read about an experiment at Monash University where researchers repeatedly induced stress and fear in a group of marmosets held captive in their laboratory, before killing them and studying their brains, with the apparent purpose of studying primate survival instincts.
This abject cruelty and neglect is widespread in scientific research, but there is an organisation that’s fighting to change the status quo: Humane Research Australia. Founded in 1979, the HRA has worked for over four decades to expose the cruel treatment of animals in medical experimentation, and to support scientists to find alternative research methods.
Despite the length and breadth of HRA’s work against animal experimentation, troublingly, little progress has been made towards normalising non-animal methods in most Australian scientific research. A Senate Committee recommended that the Federal Government fund research into alternatives to animal research in 1989, a recommendation which the government has never acted on.
We all remember the highly publicised baboon escape from RPA in February 2020. These baboons were bred to have their bodies used and recycled through medical experimentation. Their desperate escape attempt tells us everything we need to know about what their lives are like. Baboons share 94% of the same DNA as humans -
I don't think it is going too far to suggest that they saw an opportunity to escape and they took it. . Again, a Senate motion recommended funding be directed towards ending animal research in Australia, and again the Government has taken no action. Undaunted, HRA continues to work tirelessly to encourage greater transparency around the use of animals in experimentation.
I extend my thanks to HRA for their brave work confronting some of the country’s worst animal abuses. It is past time to stop using animals for experimental purposes, against their will.