Kids Can Help Lab Animals

What do you know about mice? Did you know that mice in the wild can leap and climb trees? Or that one type of mouse called a harvest mouse builds a nest of woven grass attached to stalks or reeds above the ground? Did you know that dormice can lower their body temperature to save energy when it's cold or when there isn't much food around. It's all true! Now that's amazing!

Rats are also very intelligent animals who have very sharp hearing and a good sense of smell. They are good swimmers and climbers and like to live in groups. People who look after domestic rats say that rats are affectionate and gentle and that they are very keen explorers!

Did you know that some medicines and even some of the shampoos, soaps and other products your mom or dad might use to clean the house are tried out on mice, rats and other animals to see if the animals get hurt when eating or touching them? For example, rats might have to eat washing powder to see what happens to them, and rabbits might have to have toilet cleaner rubbed on their bare skin to see whether they get a rash.

Even cats and dogs are used to try medicines before people can buy them. Animals either die during the tests from being fed too much medicine or soap, or they are killed after the tests.

Some people think that it's a good idea to test on animals; others say that it's wrong.

Someone who thinks it is OK to test things on animals might say …

"Using animals is a good way to find out whether products like polish, shampoo and medicines are safe for people to use. At least no humans get hurt!"

Someone who thinks it is wrong to use animals like this might say …

"It is not right to use animals like this because animals hurt, just like we do."

"There are other ways to test products. We can even use computers to find out if a medicine or shampoo will hurt us."

Think About It

1. What do you think about testing things like nail polish and shampoo on animals?

2. If you found out that your favorite bubble bath or toothpaste was tested on animals, would you keep using it or would you ask your mom or dad to buy a different kind next time? Why?

3. Is it OK to use animals to test medicines? Why or why not?

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