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Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

5 Shocking Legal Practices of the Animal Research Industry

Legalized11Beloved animals considered pets by many are routinely exploited by the animal research industry. While harming companion animals can result in animal cruelty charges, torturing and killing the same animals in the name of science is justifiable under the law. Read on to learn five shocking facts about the abuse endured by victims of animal testing and what you can do to stand up for their rights.


In many studies, pain is unavoidable because it is a component of what is being researched. Common procedures involving severe pain include eye and skin toxicity tests, electric shocks, burning, starvation, forced exercise, inhalation, and prolonged restraint. If a researcher determines that pain relief would obscure a study’s results, it is withheld. In fact, according to the USDA, any amount of cruelty and pain infliction is legal as long as it is “justified for scientific reason.”



Most animals used in research face a lifetime of isolated confinement in barren steel cages. Social animals with remarkable intelligence and complex emotional lives are deprived of enrichment, interaction, and virtually everything that makes their lives worth living. As a result, severe psychological distress is prevalent. LCA investigations have revealed anguished lab animals continuously screaming and crying behind the bars of their cages, desperate for comfort and relief from their suffering.



Terrified animals are freed from their cages only to be forced into cruel restraints. These torture devices physically restrain animals to prevent them from moving during painful and distressing procedures. For certain studies, animals can be forced into such restraints for days at a time.



Helpless dogs and cats who have ended up in shelters can be legally sold to research facilities in many states. Many animals who were once accustomed to life with a family will live the rest of their lives enduring isolation and trauma in a laboratory. These innocent animals are forced into a life of torment and exploitation for the purpose of profit and scientific curiosity.



Despite having the ability to feel pain, many animals used in research—including mice, rats, birds, fish, and amphibians—are left completely unprotected by the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law intended to protect lab animals. While the protections provided to the few species who are included under this law are minimal, this exemption leaves unprotected animals vulnerable to the most horrific tests, cruel housing, and severe suffering.


Take a moment to imagine being held in prison and painfully restrained as someone prods, burns, cuts, shocks, and forces you to inhale and swallow poisonous substances. Imagine existing in a state of perpetual suffering, but being utterly powerless to relieve your pain. This level of torture, too horrific for most of us to fathom, is being inflicted upon millions of lab animals at this very moment. These animals are depending on advocates like you to stand up for them and take action for their rights. Those who oppose this industry of cruelty must invest every bit of anger, outrage and passion into effective efforts to create substantive change.


  • LCA's most recent investigation at ITR laboratories revealed animals being subjected to these five cruel practices, in addition to gratuitous and illegal abuse. The National Institute of Health (NIH) uses American tax dollars to fund horrific animal tests worldwide. Contact the NIH (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and urge them to remove ITR from the list of Foreign Institutions with a PHS Approved Animal Welfare Assurance.

To whom it may concern,

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recently released new footage from a 2016 investigation at ITR Laboratories Canada, Ltd., a PHS-approved animal research institution. LCA’s footage reveals systematic abuse and repeated violations of provincial animal protection laws and animal testing guidelines. You can find more info on the findings at Please look into this matter so NIH-funded experiments can no longer be conducted at a facility that has been documented abusing animals. 


(Your name)

  • Contact your representative to request that they support the PUPPERS Act, which will prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from carrying out painful research on dogs.
  • Widespread awareness is essential to create substantive change for lab animals. Please share LCA’s newly released footage to spread awareness about the plight of dogs exploited by the animal research industry.

 Photo 6: Shannon Stapleton

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