Ethics and Flawed Science

As an anti–vivisection organization, we do not support the harmful use of any animal in research, testing, or education. However, there is a particularly disturbing aspect of the use of former companion animals: the betrayal. The policy of pound seizure presents a unique ethical 'disconnect'—beyond the suffering and violation of the individual animal.


Pound seizure erodes the very core of a shelter's purpose. A shelter/pound that releases animals to dealers loses public trust, and this could decrease the number of animals brought to the shelter/pound. Public surveys indicate that if a person knows pound seizure occurs, they are less likely to utilize the shelter or report a lost animal. This would result in increased suffering of animals who should be rescued or removed from their current situation, and exacerbate an increasing overpopulation crisis.

Cats and dogs in need of temporary shelter, whether they are a 'stray' or relinquished, likely lived a varied life that was not as restricted as that in a laboratory setting. Suddenly being placed in confined, socially–isolated, and unfamiliar conditions can cause anyone to be psychologically traumatized. For instance, dogs who once lived in a human home are trained to relieve themselves outdoors, but can no longer do so within the confines of a laboratory.

Animals sold to dealers are animals who are considered 'adoptable' (i.e., healthy, non–aggressive), otherwise they would not be desired as experimental subjects.

If a shelter/pound is funded by public tax money, then the public should have a say in whether or not the shelter/pound releases animals to dealers.

If less expensive, random source animals are not available to scientists/educators, they may choose to conduct their experiment/lesson without live animals.

Placing a dollar–value on an animal for a ‘sure–sell’ can, in rare circumstances, corrupt the shelter system, bypassing its important role in providing animal adoptions.

Flawed Science

Animals obtained from pounds or shelters have unknown genetic backgrounds and medical histories and/or existing conditions. These are confounding factors that make experimental controls virtually impossible.

Animals who are stressed due to transport, new environmental conditions, and/or behavioral and care restrictions can also negatively affect experimental results.

Animals with unknown backgrounds could carry an infectious disease leading to cross–infection within a dealer's facility or laboratory.

Sample Animal Research Guidelines from the University of Michigan University Committee on Use and Care of Animals (UCUCA Office)


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